Wed | Nov 21, 2018

Scotiabank denies it acted in bad faith, in response to being sued by Portland couple

Published:Wednesday | February 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Lionel Rookwood/Photographer Diana Passley Logan explains her sorrow, after she and her husband spent their life's savings and a National Housing Trust loan to purchase a dream house, that is no more than a fantastic nightmare scenario.
Lionel Rookwood/Photographer Wilburn Cruickshank points to the two-story house (in the background), which is supposed to be a part of the land agreement.
Lionel Rookwood/Photographer Entrance to the Windsor Forest house in Portland.
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Scotiabank Jamaica has denied allegations it acted in bad faith when it sold a Portland couple a house in the hope of recouping unpaid monies owed to it by the previous owners and that it willingly pursued the sale knowing that the house in question was not part of lands the bank initially identified in its sales pitch.

In response to a story published in The Gleaner on Tuesday, under the headline: 'Portland couple sue Scotiabank for fraud and negligence' - the bank said in a statement the information received by the newspaper was riddled with inaccuracies and sought to set the record straight.

"We want resolution; we want to work it out with the Logans. Legally, we do not feel the bank is at fault in this matter, having sold the property in good faith," said Scotiabank's Director, Legal Counsel Maia Wilson.

"The allegation in the article that the bank knew that the house was not on the property is inaccurate. The fact is that prior to the sale to the Logans, numerous professional advisers on whom the parties relied (six valuators and the surveyor hired by the Logans) all provided inaccurate information indicating that a house was on the property. This all arose from the fraud committed by the customer (previous owners of the house)," read a statement from Scotiabank.

"There are many other inaccuracies; however, we will deal with them in the courts," it continued.

"The big question is, how all the evaluators could come back with inaccurate information on the same property," Wilson noted.

The property in contention, a two-storey house located in Windsor Forest, Portland, and valued at $10.5 million, was to be sold on lands spanning seven acres, however it was subsequently noted that the house is not on mentioned land.

The Logans are suing Scotiabank for fraud and negligence in misrepresentation in the matter. The Logans are hoping to recover damages to the amount of $34.25 million to include legal fees, and loss of National Housing Trust benefits, among other claims.

"We loaned money to a customer in good faith and obtained several mortgages over the subject property. The information concerning the identity and value of the property was corroborated by numerous valuations, including valuators hired by the customer from 2004 to 2011, and valuators hired by the Bank in 2014 and 2016," the bank said.

"This is a fraud matter that the bank takes very seriously. After the sale to the Logans, Scotiabank reported the fraud to the police and there is an active fraud investigation," further read the bank's statement.

Scotiabank's Director, Legal Counsel Maia Wilson told The Gleaner that six professional evaluations situate the Windsor Forest house, that is the subject of a law suit, on the property. She said that the bank had a mortgage on the property and that having sold the said property under the power of sale.

It was after that, it was brought to the bank's attention that something was amiss with the evaluation and surveyor's reports.

"There are many other inaccuracies; however, we will deal with them in the courts," Wilson said.

Scotiabank said that it takes the situation very seriously and its external counsel has issued numerous invitations to meet with the purchasers (Logans), but their attorney has refused to facilitate a meeting.

"While the bank sympathises with the Logans, we think the approach taken by their attorney is unfortunate. The bank is not prepared to say more at this time due to the constraints of litigation," Scotiabank said.

Scotiabank said that the matter is before the courts, and that is where the bank will defend the matter and that while they have not got an opportunity to meet the Logans, they are still willing to meet in order to discuss the matter

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com