The hearing into our matter started on April 7, 2014 – on March 24, 2014 (only 2 weeks earlier), Staff sent correspondence to numerous investors in FCC and DCF asking for them to fill out an Investor Impact Statement (“IIS”). Along with this request, in many instances investors were sent links to the very slanderous press release where the Respondents were WRONGLY accused of not advancing the majority of the funds to the Developer – some $5.45 million dollars.
The problem with sending the IIS in March was the Respondents had not even stepped foot in the hearing room – and we would like to have thought we were innocent until proven guilty – not the other way around! But it does not appear this is the case when one goes up against the BCSC.
And the problems with the IIS statements as a document are MANY – first of all there is NO disclaimer indicating the allegations have yet to be proven. The document literally using wording such as “the offence” and “the securities violation” in their questions. This is PRE-LOADING an investors response – putting it in their minds that the Respondents committed the allegations. Take a look:
Imagine your being an investor who had just been told that someone you placed money with had committed a $5.45 million fraud, bought his wife a grocery store, and had personal vehicles restored – and then being asked to fill out a document asking you how you felt? Many of the IIS we received were very one-sided with angry language. We must admit, we would feel the same way if we only knew half of the story or were told untruths by the government regulator.
There is NO reason to do this before the hearing – there are many days/weeks/months to obtain them after the Findings document was made public by the Panel. Speaking of the Panel, we argued in our written submissions that there should be little to no weight put on the IIS for the very reasons outlined in this blog. What did they think?
We were pleased they agreed with us! But we think that the Panel missed the point raised in our submissions. The investors that appeared at the hearing appeared to be bitter and were angry at the one-sided story they had been told. This affects the way the hearing was “heard” by the Panel and created a bias in the hearing room that was very difficult for the Respondent to overcome. There is NO doubt that the press release and inciting the investor to immediately put their thoughts down on paper influenced our hearing. How could it not?
But it just shows again how strong Staff at the BCSC thought their case was against the Respondents when it was not. It’s items like this that really show the pathetic methods ensuring they gain the victory in a hearing room – not appearing to care about ethics.
Inciting the investors to turn against the Respondent BEFORE the hearing is as low as it can get and truly shows this agency feels they are above the law when preparing for a hearing.