Vancouver real estate board threatens ThinkPol with lawsuit to protect foreign buyer privacy

By ThinkPol Staff

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is threatening ThinkPol with legal action after we broke the story[1] about how developer Westbank pre-sold nearly one in four Kensington Garden condos, which were heavily marketed overseas, to flippers.

Chris Bennett at the law firm DLA Piper sent ThinkPol a letter[2] on REBGV’s behalf asking us to take down all MLS information that we received from a realtor and used in that article, claiming that our data could be a threat to foreign buyers.

The REBGV’s lawyers allege that ThinkPol’s actions are “unauthorized and illegal.”

“Furthermore, your disclosure of personal information has violated the privacy of several individuals, and has identified them as potential targets for third parties who have concerns about foreign ownership of Vancouver real estate,” Bennett wrote.

REBGV’s counsel is demanding that ThinkPol “immediately and permanently: (a) cease accessing, using, copying and disclosing the Board’s data and database, and (b) destroy all access codes in your possession or control regarding the Board’s database, and (c) remove all of the Board’s data from your website, and (d) destroy all data and other content in your possession or control which you obtained directly or indirectly from the Board’s database.”

Prominent Vancouver litigator Paul Doroshenko responded[3] to REBGV’s lawyers on ThinkPol’s behalf asking them to show exactly why our actions are “unauthorized and illegal” as they claim.

“You state in your letter that the cited journalistic reporting of ThinkPol Media Inc. is ‘unauthorized and illegal.’” Doroshenko wrote. “Based on your letter I cannot determine how the cited article is unauthorized and illegal. Simply put, you have made a bare accusation without referring to any law which has been violated or case law to Support your allegation.”

“Without further detail concerning how, in your client’s view, the article is unauthorized and illegal, I cannot properly advise my client,” Doroshenko added. “If you wish to provide details concerning the legal bases for the accusation it may assist me to advise my client.”

While removing MLS data from the article may be the path of least resistance, the founders of ThinkPol firmly believe that freedom of journalistic expression is crucial to a fair and just society. The press plays the role of ‘watchdog’ of the public interest.

We owe it to our half-a-million strong readership to stand up to any bullying attempts by predators of press freedom to deprive citizens of vital information by means of copyright chill.

We wish to remind those who seek to use such tactics that neither the courts nor the Internet are kind to bullies who attempt to use vexatious and frivolous litigation to silence the press.

ThinkPol needs your help. While other media outlets are content reproducing real estate industry press releases, we carry out painstaking analysis of real estate data, spending hours combing through the data. We are constantly threatened with lawsuits and other forms of intimidation by those who wish to prevent our readers from learning the truth.

Please consider chipping in to help ThinkPol.

References   [ + ]

18 Responses to Vancouver real estate board threatens ThinkPol with lawsuit to protect foreign buyer privacy

  1. Dan says:

    Dear REBGV- if you continue to threaten I will be dropping even more information. Suggest you shut up. Your threats are meaningless

  2. Anne McMullin says:

    Ian Gillespie is mad people knows hes a crook. Now he wants payback.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you ThinkPol. The people are with you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Who cares?!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The people do!

  6. Natalie says:

    We need to start protesting in front of the crook’s office like Ian Gillespie; otherwise nothing will stop him. He pursues ONLY his interests and doesn’t care about Canadians.
    Thank you ThinkPol for revealing this and we are with you.

  7. Natalie says:

    The RE Board of Vancouver need to learn how to protect Canadians from flippers and dishonest developers instead of punishing people who are revealing it.

    Speculations and money laundering are in full in Vancouver.

  8. Peter Guo says:

    Thank you very much for your stand up.
    Keep going!

  9. Andre says:

    Please continue this fight to inform the general public on this topic and others, which the real estate/development industry, municipal and provincial establishment may not what the public to know and the main stream media may be reluctant to cover. The other topic that the General public needs more detailed information on is the roll of money laundering in the real estate industry and the general BC economy.

  10. Vote Green/OneCity/Cope says:

    Great job! I believe in your cause.

  11. Joshua Wong says:

    The fact that the developer is hiding behind REBGV, and REBGV sending out a threatening letter in an attempt to control the media and journalism basically shows that the the REBGV has something to hide in manipulating Vancouver Realty market.

    Keep up the fight Thinkpol! Expose the truth. Let everyone know that the Realtors, the developers, the REBGV and the Realty Marketers are rigging and manipulating the market.

  12. nonconfidencevote says:

    gee whiz

    The Real estate board doesnt want verifiable sales stats out in public.
    Commission based sales people that want to control ALL the info….. especially if its bad info.

    Marie Antoinette couldnt have had her cake and eaten it as well as these real estate scum who say they work in the “clients best interest” while collecting fat commisions on ALL sales, whether they are flips or not.

    Time for that self regulating farce of a Real Estate regulatory “Authority” to have its pants pulled down and spanked.

    Or we’ll just wait for this grotesquely over priced house of cards to fall down.

    I , for one, will enjoy either outcome

  13. Robert Waldner says:

    Westbank wanted to fire me for speaking up about deficencies in a Victoria project that they had built back in 2006. I owned a suite in their first build ,and was working on their second.I laughed in their face and told them I’d sue them so fast it would make their head spin.Seems like little has changed.

  14. Joe says:

    Freedom of the press must not be silence by special interest organization. Shame on you REBGV for selling out our country.

  15. Stephen says:

    All the support I can give you ThinkPol.

  16. dave says:

    Perfect example of bullying. Facts are facts and what can they do to threaten facts? Gotta love lawyers

  17. dave says:

    this shows us that the “Board” is not independent…

  18. dave says:

    what is the latest on the lawsuit?

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