Did the Trudeau Liberal candidate who is notorious for flipping real estate tell his superiors at the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee about his buying, selling and renting near Olympics venues?
The NDP revealed that tech entrepreneur Taleeb Noormohamed had a secret occupation in which he grossed $4.9 million as a real estate speculator.
The Vancouver-Granville candidate has not responded to repeated requests from theBreaker.news about his time as an executive for the 2010 Games organizer, which was commonly known as VANOC.
The International Olympic Committee’s Code of Ethics for 2007, the year VANOC hired Noormohamed, required organizing committee decision makers to avoid conflicts of interest.
The official archive and library at International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, said it could not share information from the 2010 Games files due to a 20-year, post-Games embargo. Similarly, the Vancouver City Archives is not able to open its files about board and financial matters until 2025.
Conservative candidate Kailin Che said it is wrong for Noormohamed to keep voters in the dark on the way to the Sept. 20 election day.
“The public deserves to know whether the candidate has breached any of his ethical duties while he was flipping these houses in and around the time he was part of the Vancouver Olympic Committee,” Che said in an interview.
In his role as a VANOC vice-president, Noormohamed was privy to inside information from officials with governments and corporate sponsors at a time when Downtown Vancouver accommodation scarcity worried Games organizers and city hall.
Land titles records show Noormohamed bought five Vancouver properties from the end of June 2007 to late November 2009. Four were condominiums within a short walk of B.C. Place Stadium and Rogers Arena, the two biggest indoor venues of the Games.
Noormohamed’s gross profit for sales between August 2009 and March 2011 was $105,000. One of the condos he sold just over two months before the Games was in a new tower developed by VANOC sponsor Concord Pacific.
It is not known if and how much he grossed in rental revenue while he worked at VANOC.
The IOC’s 2007 Code of Ethics included a chapter on conflicts of interest. It warned organizing committee personnel to avoid personal and/or material involvement (salary, shareholding, various benefits) with suppliers, sponsors, broadcasters, various contracting parties.
The code said it was the responsibility of each person to take steps to take to avoid a conflict of interest and to seek guidance if they were ever unsure. To that end, VANOC required senior managers, including people in Noormohamed’s position, to file personal disclosures beginning in 2008 and update them if their circumstances changed.
Noormohamed is keeping a lower profile after the flipping scandal became a national story. He did not participate in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign stops Sept. 13 in Vancouver or Sept. 14 in Steveston.
The Vancouver event was on the roof of Parq Casino, coincidentally across the street from one of the properties that Noormohamed currently owns. He does not hold property in the Vancouver-Granville riding.
Noormohamed was also a no-show for a Sept. 14 all-candidates meeting at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.
Said Conservative Che: “The public deserves to know the truth, and to know and understand whether or not their candidate, the Liberal candidate for Vancouver Granville, is a professional speculator and house flipper in B.C. and whose actions may have contributed directly to Canada’s housing crisis.
“And the public also deserves to know the truth whether or not he was forthcoming in these sales and whether or not he claimed principal residence [tax] exemption on these sales.”
The Liberal, Conservative and NDP platforms promise a variety of measures to curtail or stop foreign buying and speculation. In a Sept. 2 CTV News clip that went viral on social media, Noormohamed was asked how much he profited on sales over the past decade.
He awkwardly started and stopped twice before saying: “While I can’t give you an exact number, what I can tell you it is by no means the number that has been put forward. What I can also tell you is I am absolutely committed to any and all measures that we have put forward that would, that would apply.”
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