Failed Sage Hill project results in hefty fines

Record Staff

Two Vancouver Island men and two companies involved in the failed Sage Hills development in Royston are facing fines exceeding $12 million, imposed by a B.C. Securities Commission panel.

The commission has permanently banned Theodore Ralph Everett, Robert H. Duke, Micron Systems and Independent Academies Canada (IAC) for fraud, illegal distribution of securities, and for breaching terms of a cease trade order, a BCSC news release states.

In March, a panel found that Everett, Duke and the two companies distributed securities to 126 investors for $5.1 million without filing a prospectus, and perpetrated a fraud by distributing securities to 55 investors for $1.45 million.

The panel said Everett and Duke sold securities when they knew the property was in foreclosure. It said their “deceitful conduct was directly responsible for the harm done to the IAC and Micron investors,” and that they “enriched themselves at investors’ expense.”

Leonard George Ralph was also accused of defrauding investors in the original notice of hearing in January, 2013. He settled with the executive director in October, 2013.

In 2006, IAC purchased the 2,083-acre Sage Hills property. Everett, Ralph and Duke all served as directors and officers of IAC. The Victoria-based company had planned to build a private sports academy and a K to 12 school that included specialized university programs. It also planned to construct an ice sheet and create a regional park.

In 2009, foreclosure proceedings were commenced against the property, which the provincial government later purchased. The Supreme Court of B.C. approved the deal last year.

The land will be included in the final settlement package in K’ómoks First Nation treaty negotiations, according to the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.


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