Centrium condo: $9M in deposits returned to residential buyers

A group of would-be buyers in the failed Centrium condo project will get their deposits back after a judge approves the release of $9 million held in trust for residential purchases.

Would-be buyers of commercial properties still waiting to get their deposits back

Three would-be buyers in the Centrium Condo project were relieved Tuesday after learning a judge had approved the release of their deposit money. From left to right are Ada Huang who had deposited $60,000; Linda Jin ($59,000) and Sue Lin ($80,000). (CBC)

A law firm will return $9 million in deposit money to 180 would-be buyers of residential units in the cancelled Centrium condo development, following a judge's order signed Tuesday.

The money had been held in trust by Brattys LLP for residential condo purchasers at the tower project proposed for 5220 Yonge St.

The money is separate from $15 million in commercial purchasers' deposits police allege was mishandled by lawyer Meerai Cho.

Cho was recently charged with 25 counts of fraud over $5,000, along with 25 counts of possession of property obtained by crime and 25 counts of breach of trust. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

CBC News spoke to three would-be buyers of residential units in the failed project who each had between $60,000 and $80,000 held in trust by the firm. They were extremely happy with Tuesday's decision.

The process to release their deposits will begin in about two weeks for investors who have a lawyer to process the paperwork.

Commercial investors say they still don't know when their deposits will be returned.

Would-be tenant Linda Jin had deposits for both residential and commercial units. She is set to get back the $59,000 she put down for a residential unit, but it is unclear what will happen to the $80,000 deposit for a commercial unit.

"I lost my sleep, I feel sick, sad, heartbroken," Jin told CBC News in an interview.

Jin said it's hard to accept that her commercial investment may be gone.

With files from the CBC's Jasmin Seputis