Mansion's bloody history not a valid reason for backing out of real estate deal, B.C. court rules
B.C. Court of Appeal says Feng Yun Shao was not deceived when she put down a $300K deposit on home
A woman who backed out of a $6.1-million deal to buy a Vancouver mansion when she learned an alleged gangster was gunned down at the front gate will not be getting her deposit back.
The B.C. Court of Appeal has overturned lower court decisions that said Feng Yun Shao deserved the return of her $300,000 down payment for 3883 Cartier St. — plus interest and costs.
Shao had argued that she was deceived during negotiations to buy the 9,018-square-foot mansion in 2009, when owner Mei Zhen Wang told her the family was moving to West Vancouver, because her granddaughter was switching schools.
The girl had been kicked out of West Point Grey Academy in response to media reports about the fatal 2007 shooting of her father, alleged gang leader Raymond Huang, but Wang did not mention that during her discussions with Shao, according to court documents.
Last year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge said Wang relied on "fraudulent representation" to sell the house and awarded Shao damages, but that was reversed Tuesday on appeal.
"As [Wang's daughter Winnie Yuan] testified, if her daughter's private school had not made the unfortunate decision it did, the family likely would not have moved at all. Thus, there was no misrepresentation by omission," Justice Mary Newbury wrote on behalf of the panel of three appeal court judges.
"There was no evidence she knew or should have expected that Ms. Shao would have a particular sensitivity to an event that had occurred two years earlier and that did not affect the quality of the house or its usefulness."
The shooting of Raymond Huang
Raymond Huang was shot to death on the sidewalk outside the mansion's front gate on Nov. 3, 2007. He was alleged to be a leader of the Big Circle Boys, a Chinese gang, and his homicide has never been solved.
Shao, the prospective buyer, only learned of the shooting five days after she had paid the deposit in full and the conditions were removed from the contract. She told her lawyer she was backing out, and her lawyer wrote a letter that accused Wang of hiding a defect in the house.
"The fact that the deceased was allegedly a leader of one of Vancouver's notorious gangs and the murderer had not been apprehended clearly puts any occupant of the property at risk," the letter read.
Another buyer who was fully informed of the home's history purchased the six-bedroom, 10-bathroom home for $5.5 million in late 2009 — paying about 10 per cent less than what Shao had agreed to.
Wang is seeking $638,000 in damages from Shao for the botched sale or a judgment in her favour for the $300,000 deposit. The appeal court ordered that the question be decided in B.C. Supreme Court.
The address of the home has been changed to 3899 Cartier St. in the years since the shooting.