Vancouver Island man allegedly sold fake $1 million share in legendary hotel

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B.C. Securities Commission says claims against Timothy Craig Durkin subject to hearing in November, 2021.

The B.C. Securities Commission claims a Vancouver Island man defrauded an investor of $1 million through the sale of a fake ownership interest in a legendary hotel.

The BCSC’s allegation against Timothy Craig Durkin is the latest twist in a years-long battle of ownership of the internationally renowned Sooke Harbour House resort hotel. The hotel has hosted Hollywood royalty and real life dignitaries. 

The BCSC claims Durkin raised a million dollars from an investor between December 2015 and March 2016 by promising them a 40 per cent share in the hotel by purchasing 40 per cent of the shares of a company named SHH Holdings Inc.

Durkin was director of SHH Holdings, but the Sooke Harbour House was owned by a different entity.

The BCSC said in a statement “in reality, SHH did not have any ownership interest in the corporation that owned the hotel. The investor did not recover any of the $1 million paid for the shares.”

‘A garden-variety bully’

The BCSC alleges that by deceiving the investor, Durkin and SHH committed fraud under the Securities Act.

The BCSC’s claim comes more than four years after Canada Border Services Agency officers showed up at Durkin’s Sooke home to question him about a 2013 indictment accusing him and three other individuals of defrauding investors of more than $4 million. This was allegedly done through a scheme involving a complex financial trading instrument.

The financier has spent years battling Sinclair and Frederique Philip for control of Sooke Harbour House, the legendary tourist destination the pair established in 1979.

In 2019, Justice Jasvinder Basran awarded the Philips $4 million for a deal they struck with Durkin and a partner in a failed 2014 share purchase agreement for the hotel.

The Philips concluded a share purchase agreement in 2014 in which Durkin and a partner purchase their interest in the hotel for $6 million. 

The Philips believed they would get $2 million, and according to the judgment, Durkin assured them that his company — SHH Holdings — would cover the existing mortgage and interest owed to the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Basran discovered that despite promises of a “syndicate” or “posse” of investors from Tehran to Zurich — SHH Holdings never raised more than $54,000.

Basran wrote “[Durkin’s] view of the truth is whatever will serve his interests in the moment. He is entirely unencumbered by ordinary norms of morality, integrity and decency,” and “he is a garden-variety bully who preys upon those whom he perceives to be weaker than himself and vulnerable to his mistruths and manipulation.”

Immigration proceedings in limbo

Durkin has denied any wrongdoing in the U.S. case and has appealed the B.C. Supreme Court judgment.

Immigration proceedings against Durkin are currently in limbo. He was born in the United Kingdom but came to Canada as an infant.

Even though Durkin is a permanent resident, he could be stripped of his status because of the criminal charges in the United States. Durkin believes he has a right to Canadian citizenship because his parents worked and lived in Canada in the years immediately before and after his birth.

The Department of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship is currently handling Durkin’s claim which would render the deportation process moot if accepted.

In 2019, North Vancouver-based IAG Enterprises bought the land, the Sooke Harbour House building and its associated assets in a court-ordered foreclosure sale for $5.62 million.

Neither Durkin, his companies, nor the Philips are involved with the property anymore. This article was originally sourced by CBC News.