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HomeBusinessRichmond lawyer Guo registers for mayoralty race, despite misconduct allegations

Richmond lawyer Guo registers for mayoralty race, despite misconduct allegations

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Bob Mackin

The real estate and immigration lawyer facing a professional misconduct hearing registered her name Sept. 13 for the Richmond mayoral election.

Hong Guo is one of four challengers aiming to upset incumbent Malcolm Brodie, the mayor since 2001, in the Oct. 20 vote. theBreaker was first to report on Sept. 8 that Guo was having second thoughts about running after the Law Society of B.C. accused her of breach of accounting rules, failure to supervise/improper delegation, misappropriation/improper withdrawal, breach of undertaking to the Law Society, and breach of a Law Society order.

The allegations are unproven. A hearing is to be scheduled. They are related to the $7.5 million that went missing from trust accounts for around 100 clients at Guo’s law firm in 2016 after two ex-employees allegedly laundered the money and departed for China with the loot. The law firm was placed under a Law Society custodian. Guo has since repaid the trust account after selling a Surrey property and drawing on an insurance policy. She has also sued former bookkeeper Zixin “Jeff” Li , ex-receptionist Qian “Danica” Pan and CIBC.

Mayoral candidate Hong Guo

“I paid every penny of the shortage, that I am a victim of this theft matter,” she told theBreaker on Sept. 8.

Guo was not available for an interview on Sept. 13 and has not yet responded for comment on her decision to continue her campaign.

If the Law Society finds against her, Guo could be reprimanded, fined up to $50,000, have conditions or restrictions placed on her practice, suspended, or expelled from the legal profession.

Guo’s nominators are real estate agent Peter Schellenberg and motivational speaker Dr. Greg Gerrie. Gerrie heads KidTalks Canada, which is also located at Guo’s law firm. The campaign financial agent is Cui Hong (Cheryl) Li.

Guo’s statement of disclosure lists ownership of two houses in Richmond. Land title records for the one near Donald McKay elementary describe Guo as a “homemaker” who has half-interest in the $2.38 million-assessed property with businessperson Yunyan Luan. The other, near No. 2 Road and Francis, is worth $1.74 million.

Guo also listed commercial property at 143-5951 Minoru Blvd. ($426,100), her No. 3 Road law office ($4.315 million), a house in Regina ($139,600) and the legal description for farmland in the Rural Municipality of Key West #70 in south central Saskatchewan.

Her assets include Guo Law Corporation and seven other entities, five of which were incorporated in 2017 and 2018:

  • Canpur Products, with co-director Ding Wenge;
  • Canada Energine International Holdings Ltd., by Guo herself;
  • Cinewest International Productions Ltd., with directors Franco Amurri of Delta and Wolfgang Richter of Vancouver;
  • State Renewable Energy Association with Richter;
  • Guo Jia Jing Wang Elite Club Association, with Kwok Kuen Yu.

The latter is a society whose stated purpose is to promote the Guo family name “by establishing a platform to network and connect with Chinese communities.”

The 2008-incorporated Citic Investments Corp., whose directors are Guo and Chen Xu. Citic is also the name of the state-owned China International Trust Investment Corporation, but it is not known whether Guo’s company is affiliated in any way.  She is a director, with four others, of the 2011-incorporated Canada Home Buyers Protection Association.

Hong Guo aims to upset Malcolm Brodie

That association’s stated purpose is “To provide information to homebuyers and homeowners in Canada’s housing industry and in the life and development of our communities; To support the business success of our members; and to help members become more informed and confident when they buy a new home, or hire a renovator to improve their existing one.”

Guo is a 14-year resident of Richmond with a law degree from Ontario’s University of Windsor. She was called to the B.C. bar in 2009. She said she is concerned about traffic congestion, public safety, affordable housing and job and education opportunities for youth. Her campaign logo is a stylized bridge, which symbolizes her advocacy for a bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel and for strengthening cultural ties between Richmond and China.

Other Brodie challengers are Wei Ping Lawrence Chen of Surrey, retired consultant Don Flintoff and Li Feng Cliff Wei. In 2017, Brodie was paid $132,426 base salary and $18,786 in taxable benefits to be mayor.

Nominations close at 4 p.m. Sept. 14. The period to challenge a candidate’s nomination and endorsements runs through Sept. 18 at 4 p.m. The deadline for a decision to challenge a candidate’s nomination, and for a candidate to withdraw, is 4 p.m. Sept. 21. The campaign period officially begins Sept. 22.

Candidates for mayor in Richmond can spend up to $130,813.80 each on their campaign.

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