A detached garage built too close to a Red Deer house was wrecked by the city and the $16,000 demolition bill was added to the owner’s property taxes.
The funny thing is the provincial government is the new home owner.
The house at 37 Wells St. once belonged to convicted drug trafficker Allie Gader and was seized by the courts last week as proceeds of crime.
Gader’s brother Sobhie Gader, a Calgary trucking company owner, said he took ownership of the rented house after his brother went to jail. Sobhie said he got the property in exchange for forgiving about $50,000 he’d loaned his brother over the years.
Sobhie admitted not knowing much about the Red Deer house. He said he didn’t realize it had been purchased with proceeds of crime, although his brother is in prison after pleading guilty in October 2017 to four counts of drug trafficking.
Sobhie said he also didn’t know the property contained a detached garage that wasn’t built according to City of Red Deer building codes. Allie Gader had built it too tall, too close to the house and the alley.
When Sobhie learned about this from the city, which had been trying to get the problems rectified for more than two years, he consulted with a lawyer who advised him to do nothing.He was told fighting the municipality would cost him money he wouldn’t get back.
The garage was wrecked by city-hired contractors on April 25, and the $16,283 cost of demolition and clean up was added to the property tax bill by city council on Monday night.
Last week, provincial court granted a forfeiture on the $300,000 property as proceeds of crime. Sobhie will only get about $7,500 from the house sale as compensation for renovations he did to the property.
Sobhie doesn’t think this is fair, but was told that purchasers should know what they are buying. Repayment of the $50,000 loan will now be between him and his brother, he added.
The only good news for Sobhie is that he won’t be on the hook for the demolition bill. He considers the $16,283 “ludicrous for a one-day job.”
Erin Stuart, inspections and licensing manager for the city, said it’s rare for the municipality to have to hire a contractor to deal with this kind of problem. “We typically do not have to take enforcement measures to that extent.”
Once the West Park house is sold by the courts — and the City of Red Deer presumably reimbursed — the rest of the proceeds will go to victims of crime through the Civil Asset Forfeiture Fund.