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Lawsuit of the Week: Former real estate CEO claims company still owes him millions

Jacky Yau Yu Chan also says Park Georgia Realty denied him his commission unless he resigned as CEO
The B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver | Rob Kruyt, BIV

The ex-CEO of a Vancouver real estate company claims he was shorted just shy of $1.55 million in commissions from his former firm and told he would only be paid out if he resigned from his position.

Jacky Yau Yu Chan, through his company, Jacky Yau Yu Chan Personal Real Estate Corp., is suing Park Georgia Realty Ltd. and its owner Ernest Hui after he and his wife, Ching Man Tin, also known as Irene Tin, were allegedly pushed out of the company.

Tin has also filed a separate lawsuit against Hui and Park Georgia through her own company, Irene Tin Personal Real Estate Corporation, claiming she was also shorted $425,095 in commissions from Park Georgia.

Chan filed a personal lawsuit in March 2022 featuring similar allegations against the defendants, separate from the one filed on behalf of his company in May 2023.

The latest lawsuit claims Park Georgia will soon owe him another estimated $1.57 million in commissions on sales that are expected to be completed soon, bringing their combined claims to more than $3.5 million.

The allegations have not been proven in court and the defendants have not delivered a response to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Jacky Yau Yu Chan Personal Real Estate Corp. as of press time.

But the defendants did file a counterclaim in April 2022 in the wake of Chan’s personal lawsuit.

The defendants sought, among other things, a declaration that Park Georgia is entitled to 30 per cent of the former CEO’s commissions related to specific listings and clients, and that it’s entitled to a $1,000 admin fee on certain transactions.

In response to Chan’s personal lawsuit from 2022, the defendants claim Chan did not live up to his end of the working arrangement, such as paying 30 per cent of so-called “house-deal” commissions to Park Georgia.

Park Realty claimed to have discovered sometime around February 2021 that Chan had been failing to pay the 30 per cent “house-deal” commission, which the defendants said was always part of the shareholders agreement.

In his response to the counterclaim, Chan denied there was any mismanagement on his part. And instead of paying 30 per cent of “house-deals” commissions to his former company, Chan claimed only 10 per cent was meant to go to Park Georgia for specific listings.

Meanwhile, according to the May 2023 lawsuit, the Chan and Tin began working in real estate in 2016 and in that same year began working with Park Georgia.

Chan claims his remuneration agreement included him retaining 100 per cent of his commission, with a flat deal fee of $275 for each completed transaction. The money, according to the lawsuit, was to go through the brokerage, and Chan’s personal business would be paid his commission and the GST on the commission, which he would pay to the government, minus the deal fee.

The parties operated according to their agreement until April 2021, according to the lawsuit.

Hui reportedly asked Chan to become a shareholder and director of the brokerage in May 2018, with Chan agreeing to buy 15.3 per cent of shares in the company and Park Georgia Realty (2011) Ltd. owning the remaining shares.

Chan would be one of three directors, according to the lawsuit, and Hui would act as president, while Chan would take on the role of CEO. Chan also lent $180,000 to the company as a shareholder loan, according to the lawsuit, which claimed the shareholders agreement didn’t impact the remuneration agreement and that Chan made no extra money from taking on the role of CEO.

Chan claims he was a “top producer” for the company, “generating hundreds of successful sales.” And he claims Hui “sought to personally profit from Jacky’s success.”

In April 2021, Chan claims Hui “unilaterally and arbitrarily decided to run the business and make decision (sic) for the defendant brokerage, ignoring the position and authority of Jacky as CEO.”

That included allegedly adding a new $1,000 administrative fee on every transaction. And in April 2021, Hui allegedly refused to pay Chan for 10 completed transactions and another 130 pending transactions unless Chan resigned as CEO and agreed to Park Georgia buying his shares back at no cost.

Chan claims he reluctantly agreed under “wrongful and significant pressure, intimidation and threat” by Hui “with no realistic alternative to getting paid his owed commissions.”

But when Park Georgia did send him cheques for the sales, Chan claims they came with a new pay structure, including an arbitrary 30 per cent cut of the commission going to Park Georgia and another unspecified “arbitrary deal fee.”

Chan claims he stopped working at Park Georgia in May 2021, after which point the company allegedly refused to pay Chan his full commissions as agreed upon.

Updated June 1, 2023, to include information related to the separate, personal lawsuit Chan filed last year.