Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

House-flipping a financial flop

Couple's cash lost in 'spiderweb'

  • Print

When Angie Zubrin and her husband wanted to invest for their future a couple of years ago, they thought they couldn't go wrong with real estate.

And when good friends of theirs had done well flipping properties through David Douglas, they thought they had hit upon the perfect situation.

Douglas advertised seminars that promised building wealth through real estate and asked, "Want to quit your day job?"

Ultimately, things could not have gone worse.

They signed on with him and agreed to fund some renovations on a River Heights house near the corner of Ash Street and Academy Road. The renovations were to be done by a Douglas-affiliated company.

But as soon as they refinanced their mortgage (through another one of Douglas's, companies, Abacus), things started to go south. First, they discovered the house was in the name of one of Douglas's former employees. Then they got an invoice for an extra $150,000 they hadn't expected.

"It was all supposed to be so very easy. David explained it to us. He already had the house, we just had to front the cost for the renovations," she said.

"It's a spiderweb of mystery like you would not believe."

The renovations started in the spring of 2012 but came to a halt a few months later without any explanation. Zubrin was making payments to Manitoba Hydro and couldn't understand why she was receiving credits. She was soon told unless the house mortgage was in her name or her husband's name, Hydro wouldn't accept payments.

She said Douglas pointed to the contract they had with him, which stipulated that if they didn't make such payments, they would be defaulted. The house has now been foreclosed.

Douglas is at the centre of an investigation by the Manitoba Securities Commission. Doug Brown, director of legal and enforcement at the MSC, said the number of consumer complaints regarding Douglas has increased "significantly" of late but he couldn't confirm how many people may be out money or how much may have been lost.

"Some of the people coming forward today have lost their homes," he said.

Douglas is registered as a real estate broker but his registration as a mortgage broker lapsed earlier this year, Brown said.

Efforts to reach Douglas on Tuesday were not successful.

Zubrin said once things went off the rails, phone calls and emails to Douglas went unreturned.

Zubrin said she and her husband are living a different kind of life than they were a couple of years ago.

"Disney World is out, so is any kind of extra fun and entertainment," she said.

"I just can't believe with all the legitimate companies out there that I ended up with the rotten egg," she said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 16, 2013 B2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Reimagining Winnipeg as the big city of the future

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A black swallowtail butterfly land on Lantana flowers Sunday morning at the Assiniboine Park English Gardens- standup photo – August 14, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • June 25, 2013 - 130625  -  A storm lit up Winnipeg Tuesday, June 25, 2013. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press - lightning

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support Canada's involvement in the fight against Islamic State?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google