Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Facts and Determination

CHARLES LOUIS ALBAS

Penticton, BC

Called to the bar: May 14, 1976

Ceased membership for non-payment of fees: January 1, 2016

Hearing on facts and determination: February 17, 2016 (2016 LSBC 18)

Panel: Martin Finch, QC, chair, Dan Goodleaf and Bruce LeRose, QC

Decision issued: May 30, 2016

Counsel: Kieron Grady for the Law Society; no one for Charles Louis Albas

 

FACTS

In October 2005 Charles Louis Albas arranged with T Ltd. to borrow $485,000 through a numbered company owned by Albas, to finance the subdivision of a property in Langley. At the time, the principal of T Ltd. believed Albas had already bought the property through his numbered company and needed the money to finance the subdivision.

In 2006 Albas needed more money to complete the subdivision, and he obtained a loan, through his numbered company, in the amount of $300,000 from AV and JV.

In 2008 T Ltd. filed a petition in foreclosure against Albas, his numbered company, AV and JV and two other respondents. An order of foreclosure was granted, including a judgment in favour of T Ltd. against Albas and his numbered company for $506,373.93.

In March 2009 AV and JV were granted conduct of sale as second mortgagee and, through their counsel, JJ, they filed an application for an order approving a sale of the property at a price of $495,000.

Albas contacted NA, who had been involved in earlier attempts to sell the property, saying unless NA brought forward a buyer at a better price, the property was likely to be sold at a loss.

NA faxed Albas an offer from RS dated August 20, 2009, at a price of $950,000. Albas noted that the offer was not in a form that could be approved by the court, so he made some notations and faxed it back to NA.

On August 21, 2009, Albas filed a response opposing AV and JV’s application for an order approving the sale. Early in the morning of August 27, the date set for the hearing of the application, Albas received an offer for the sale of the property for $950,000 to RS, through RS’s nominee corporation, a division of M Ltd. Albas filed an application for an order approving the RS offer, and the court approved the offer.

That same day, Albas ordered a company search on M Ltd. because he had been unable to reach RS and he wanted to make sure the offer was real. He found that M Ltd. had been dissolved on April 9, 2007 for failure to make required filings. Albas did not disclose the result of the M Ltd. corporate search to any other parties in the T Ltd. foreclosure and took no steps to return the matter to court or to advise the court of the result of the company search.

The RS offer that had been approved by the court required a deposit of $20,000 within 72 hours of acceptance and, although that deposit was never paid, Albas continued to maintain that the sale to RS would close.

On December 18, 2009, AV and JV initiated foreclosure proceedings against Albas and his numbered company, and on January 28, 2010 an order was pronounced, including judgment against Albas and his numbered company in the amount of $402,698.92.

On January 28, 2010, conduct of sale was granted to T Ltd. in the T Ltd. foreclosure, and on April 19, 2012, on the application of T Ltd., the court approved the sale of the property at a price of $585,000. The sale completed, leaving a shortfall of over $100,000 on the T Ltd. debt.

On November 15, 2012, a certificate of costs was entered in the T Ltd. foreclosure against Albas and his numbered company for $16,739.15.

Albas failed to satisfy the judgments ordered against him pursuant to the August 28, 2008 and January 28, 2010 foreclosure orders and failed to tell the Law Society how he proposed to satisfy such judgments.

Albas further failed to satisfy the Certificate of Costs and failed to notify the Law Society of the circumstances of the unsatisfied monetary judgments against him and his proposal for satisfying them.

DETERMINATION

The panel found Albas guilty of professional misconduct with respect to all eight allegations in the citation, including:

  • two counts of borrowing money from clients;
  • two counts of providing legal services to clients when he had a direct or indirect financial interest in the subject matter of the legal services;
  • failing to disclose material facts in a notice of motion and supporting affidavit;
  • failing to disclose material facts and correct the record concerning an application in foreclosure proceedings;
  • misleading opposing counsel; and
  • failing to notify the Law Society of three unsatisfied judgements.

2016 LSBC 18 Decision on Facts and Determination