Several families in debt from broken rent-to-own housing deals are devastated after learning Golden Oaks Enterprises, a company that now faces more than $2 million in lawsuits, owes many more people than first thought.
On Tuesday, Doyle & Salewski took control of Golden Oaks after the court ordered the company into receivership. One day later, it met with more than 100 people in Ottawa who said the company owes them money.
Jean-Claude Lacasse, also known as J.C. Lacasse, owned Golden Oaks until the receiver took control. He has since been evicted from his office and few people have been able to reach him.
CBC News first broke the story earlier this month with a family that had lost their life savings in a failed rent-to-own transaction. Lacasse had then presented them with a $10,000 cheque to offset costs, but the cheque was refused by the bank.
CBC then spoke to home sellers whose deals fell through, forcing them to pay for two homes at once. Investors and contractors also reached out to share how much they believed Golden Oaks owes them.
Debts worse than receiver first thought
On Wednesday, most of those people were in attendance at a meeting with Doyle & Salewski but they did not hear good news.
Brian Doyle said he continues to delve through all of Lacasse's files, but he admits the more files he sees, the more money is owed.
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- IN DEPTH | Golden Oaks finances taken away from J.C. Lacasse
It was a harsh statement he had to make to the crowd on Wednesday, adding many families would be a low priority when paying back funds.
"I'm sick to my stomach. I want to cry," said Catherine Sherping as she left the meeting.
Her family of five is owed $30,000 from a failed rent-to-own deal. They continue to wonder if they will retain the right to buy the home or get their money back.
CBC News has also learned investors in Toronto and Hamilton have also come forward with claims related to Golden Oaks.
The total reach of Golden Oaks is not officially known. That will be released on July 25 when Doyle & Salewski shares its findings with an Ontario court judge.