Senior manager leaves MAC Marketing following media manipulation scandal

A senior manager at MAC Marketing Solutions has left the company in the wake of a scandal that involved the company's employees pretending to be ...

A senior manager at MAC Marketing Solutions has left the company in the wake of a scandal that involved the company's employees pretending to be daughters of wealthy Chinese parents who wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year by buying a condominium.

The company's owner, Cameron McNeill, apologized earlier this week for his employees misleading media in February 8 interviews with both CBC News and CTV News.

And the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) told Business in Vancouver today that it has launched an investigation into MAC's dishonest tactics.

McNeill would not name the senior manager nor say whether he fired the employee or the person quit.

"Some poor judgments were made and those poor judgments led to unfortunate circumstances," McNeill told BIV earlier today.

"I'm not going to say that my investigation is finished entirely but I have a much clearer picture. There's going to be more things that may come to light but I've spoken with everyone on the site that day and I have a much clearer picture of what transpired."

MAC Marketing's manipulation of the media involved employee Amanda Lee, who pretended to have a sister and wealthy parents eager to celebrate Chinese New Year by making a big condo purchase.

Real-estate pundits questioned whether a senior manager asked Lee to pose as a buyer as a way to stimulate demand at Cressey Developments' 215-unit, 32-storey Maddox tower under construction at the corner of Howe and Drake streets.

RECBC spokesman Tyler Davies confirmed to BIV on February 20 that his organization has launched an investigation into MAC's tactics.

The RECBC is the regulatory agency that has a mandate to protect the public by enforcing licensing and licensee conduct.

"The council can suspend licences, cancel licences, reprimand and impose fines up to $20,000," Davies said.

Evidence that the RECBC takes discipline seriously is clear from a list of actions on its website. For example, the RECBC announced yesterday that Re/Max Select Properties representative Christina Croner was reprimanded and fined $1,000 and that Homeland Realty representative Edward Wallace Walker was suspended for one week and fined $1,500 in incidents not related to the MAC scandal.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

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