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Former West Vancouver council candidate defends work while under securities probe

Tara Haddad open about realty and accounting work; less so on penny stock promotion
Tara Haddad | Submitted

Tara Haddad, former West Vancouver council candidate, says she did “a lot of work” for junior mining exploration company Montego Resources, whose CEO is conducting an internal review of past consulting contracts, as they may relate to a BC Securities Commission (BCSC) investigation.


Haddad, who is a respondent to the BCSC investigation, sought a seat on council during the 2016 by-election, advocating for managed growth and Ambleside park revitalization. In January 2018 she sought redevelopment of her heritage home at Erwin Drive, which she purchased for $9.2 million on Jan.8, 2016.

Around this time Haddad also entered into penny stock promotion.

Haddad, a certified public accountant, is also a realtor with Royal Lepage Sussex in West Vancouver and director of Aspire Math Academy, according to LinkedIn.

On LinkedIn she does not list her role as CFO for publicly traded junior mining exploration company Remington Resources Inc. Nor does she mention her sole directorship of consulting firm Saiya Capital Corporation, which is also a respondent to the BCSC, pending the completion of a large investigation of an alleged widespread illegal share distribution scheme involving companies (11 named to date) listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

The 11 companies issued tens of millions of dollars worth of shares to about two-dozen consultants, who simultaneously received contracts only to not perform any work, allegedly. The consultants then quickly sold their shares at a discounted price to retail investors, investigators claim. Ultimately the investors were left with devalued and diluted (or generally worthless) stock.

What BCSC executive director Peter Brady describes as a “cash swap” scheme, believed to be “abusive to the capital markets,” could involve many more companies on the CSE and TSX Venture Exchange.

Haddad is believed to be the sister of prolific penny stock promoter Anthony Jackson — a central figure of the BCSC investigation — according to several tips received by Glacier Media. She declined to address questions from Glacier Media.

If she were Jackson’s sister, it would add to the list of Jackson’s family members involved in the securities investigations. Among them are Jackson’s wife, father-in-law and brother-in-law.

Jackson is the principal of financial services firm BridgeMark Financial Corp., which has close business connections to many respondents, according to BCSC investigators, who dubbed the group of consultants, including Jackson and his companies, as the “Bridgemark Group.”

CSE-listed Montego is not a respondent to the BCSC hearing but CEO Adam Cegielski has stated “the company has very little to show for the issuance of tens of millions of shares,” worth $6.2 million — much of them to Bridgemark Group members.

The capital raising, Cegielski noted, took place after Jackson became Montego’s CFO on Aug. 24, 2016. Jackson’s father-in-law Kenneth Tollstam, former North Vancouver CAO, became a director and CEO of Montego on Oct. 4, 2016, according to corporate records. Cegielski was appointed CEO last September, after Tollstam’s resignation.

Cegielski noted in recent court filings Montego paid at least about $2.6 million to a number of Bridgemark Group members, including: BridgeMark Financial ($100,050); Jackson ($65,307); Tollstam and Company ($157,500); and Jackson’s son-in-law and dentist Ryan Venier, via his company Altitude Marketing ($341,250). The man described by BCSC as Jackson’s business partner, Justin Liu, a cannabis dispensary operator, was paid $773,535.

Haddad was also named in Cegielski’s affidavit as one who provided services for Montego.

While Haddad may have done lots of work, her purported payment from Montego was a relatively paltry $6,500.

Haddad was paid much more money promoting another junior mining exploration company, Remington Resources, last year.

Corporate filings show Haddad was paid $140,000 in 2018 after taking on the role from past CFO Barry Hartley, in June 2017.

The TSXV-traded company — headquartered in the same office space of BridgeMark Financial Corp., at 800-1199 West Hastings Street — had $47 cash around the time Haddad took over, however that October it raised $862,000 from a non-brokered private placement (sale of 34 cent shares) for “general working capital.”

Haddad used an apparent BridgeMark email on the exempt distribution report. The corporate secretary for the sale was BridgeMark’s Danilen Villanueva, who is also a BCSC hearing respondent.

Audited financial statements to Dec. 31, 2018 show the company had spent $283,000 in 2018 and $583,000 in 2017 in consulting fees. BridgeMark Financial Corp. (Jackson) was paid $239,000 for accounting services.

The most consulting fees paid out in one year ($187,000 in 2017) went to former director Brent Hahn, a director for Sennen Potash Corp., also headquartered at 800-1199 West Hastings. BCSC hearing respondent Cam Paddock Enterprises was paid $90,300.

Under Haddad, Remington’s deficit rose $1.2 million in just over a year. A company with no revenue or property, it now trades at 18 cents per share.

Montego directors reach agreement: Lawyer

Cegielski and Jackson have disputed in court and in press releases over who are the rightful directors of Montego. And Cegielski has sought to have Jackson, the former CFO, hand over some of Montego’s online banking passwords (Jackson remains a director of Montego). Amidst the chaos the CSE halted trading of the company’s nearly worthless shares in April.

Jackson’s lawyer Patrick Sullivan told Glacier Media the parties have reached an agreement to jointly approve payments from Montego.

Meanwhile, another civil proceeding was commenced May 6 against Montego by a number of former investors, claiming Montego owes them a combined $1 million.

Among the claimants is Lisa Jackson’s numbered company 1084768 B.C. Ltd. (108).

Lisa Jackson, Anthony Jackson’s wife, and a realtor with Macdonald Realty, is under investigation by the Alberta Securities Commission for a similar alleged illegal share distribution scheme involving TSXV-traded Prize Mining Corp.

108, Northwest Marketing Management Ltd. (BCSC respondent), Caprock Ventures Corp. and Yoon Kyung Kim (another ASC respondent) are all seeking between $240,000 and $260,000 each, plus interest, from Montego for repayment of a loan (secured against Montego property) made on Nov. 14, 2017, according to the claim.

Montego’s lawyer Andrew McCoomb was unavailable for comment.