Angry owners take control of a condo board plagued by controversy

A small group of people accused of aggressively taking control of GTA condo boards - and their multi-million-dollar budgets was replaced at the upscale Five Condos Wednesday night.

Former board members no-shows at annual general meeting of Five Condos

Residents and owners at the condo at 5 St. Joseph St. applaud the news, delivered at their annual general meeting last night, that three former members of their building's board have resigned. (Mike Smee CBC News)

A small group of people accused of aggressively taking control of GTA condo boards — and their multi-million-dollar budgets — was replaced at the upscale Five Condos Wednesday night.

It's the second time in less than a week that the three men — Darryl McGregor, George Laczko and Ray Blanchard —have been replaced on a downtown condo board.

An investigation by CBC Toronto beginning in May showed the three men, along with several associates, sit on the boards of about a dozen condos in Toronto and Mississauga, even though they don't always own property in the buildings.

Of the three, only Darryl McGregor owned a unit at Five Condos, in the Yonge and Wellesley neighbourhood at  5 St. Joseph St.

The owners held their annual general meeting Wednesday night, at which they'd planned to oust the sitting board members and elect a new board made up of residents in the building. 

Brian Horlick, the lawyer who represented the board at 5 St. Joseph St. when it was controlled by George Laczko, Ray Blanchard and Darryl McGregor, chaired Wednesday night's annual general meeting at the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville hotel. (Mike Smee/CBC News)

Instead, it was announced that McGregor and Blanchard had resigned, along with another controversial board member, Sam Cheng.

Laczko resigned some time ago from the board at Five Condos.

None of the former board members showed up at the meeting.

"I am so excited that this community has pulled together," owner Christine Dingemans said shortly after she was elected to the new board last night. "We've managed to take back our building."

Five Condos has 539 units and a $2.6 million annual budget.

Brian Antman, an auditor with the accounting firm Adams and Miles, at Wednesday night's meeting of owners from the condo at 5 St. Joseph St. His firm completed the audit of the building's finances.

Last Thursday, owners at one of the city's best known new highrises, the L-Tower on The Esplanade, called a meeting at which they planned to eject McGregor, his girlfriend Anastasia Mustafina, Laczko, Blanchard and an associate, real estate broker Kaive Wong, according to condo lawyer Denise Lash.

But when the meeting convened, none of those directors showed up, said Lash, who was hired by the building's owners. All five were replaced in a unanimous vote.

Lash confirmed with CBC Toronto that Wong and Laczko had resigned before the meeting.
Condo board directors are not salaried employees, but they control budgets worth millions of dollars.

At Five Condos, where the three have been in charge since last summer, owners are now facing a lawsuit that claims $650,000 in damages. It was brought by the property management company that was fired by the board, including  McGregor, Laczko and Blanchard, shortly after it took control.

Audited financial statements, which were also presented at Wednesday's meeting, showed the condo corporation has accrued about $440,000 in unpaid bills since last summer, when the board took over from the developer, and a deficit of about $278,000, according to Dingemans.

Provincial regulations say board members need not own property in a building they represent or even live there.