NBA star wins lawsuit over $8M Burlington mansion once occupied by ‘crypto king’
Canada's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was named to Canada’s 12-man roster for the team’s World Cup qualifying game Thursday night against Argentina. The Oklahoma City Thunder guard is shown at the FIBA international men's World Cup basketball qualifying action against Dominican Republic, in Hamilton, Ont., Friday, July 1, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Published Thursday, December 7, 2023 2:08PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 7, 2023 3:11PM EST
A judge has ruled in favour of NBA star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in his lawsuit against a company that sold him a Burlington mansion previously occupied by self-proclaimed ‘crypto king’ Aiden Pleterski.
In his decision, Justice Robert J. Centa said the corporate owner of the luxury Burlington home made a “fraudulent misrepresentation” of the $8 million property when they marketed it as “private and secure.”
When the property was sold to Canadian basketball star Gilgeous-Alexander and his partner Hailey Summers, the judge said the owner neglected to disclose that random people were showing up at the house demanding information about the former tenant, Pleterski, the man accused of scamming hundreds of investors out of millions of dollars.
According to the lawsuit, the couple closed on the home on May 10, 2023 and four days later, a stranger knocked on their door, demanding to know the whereabouts of Pleterski. The Oklahoma City Thunder player told them he had no idea who that person was and confirmed that Pleterski did not live there.
The couple said the stranger returned to their car but remained on the property. Eventually Gilgeous-Alexander went out to the car to tell the person to leave and the stranger drove off.
The incident prompted Summers to do an internet search for information about Pleterski, who she quickly learned had been sued for fraud and was involved in “hotly contested bankruptcy proceedings,” the judge wrote.
According to information in the decision, an “unnerved” Summers contacted police to report the incident and an officer informed her that police had previously received reports of people trying to break into the Burlington property.
A contact in the private security business later told Summers that someone who was allegedly defrauded by Pleterski had threatened to burn down their new house.
The couple were “sufficiently alarmed by this news,” deciding to move out of their dream home and never return, the judge said.
The lawsuit stated that Gilgeous-Alexander and Summers purchased the property from an Ontario numbered company whose owner and sole director is Ray Gupta. Gupta’s son, Sandeep, was “was intimately involved in the events surrounding the house and had a curious and complex relationship with Mr. Pleterski,” the judge said.
The judge noted that in March 2021, Ray Gupta agreed to sell the Burlington home to Pleterski as part of a “rent-to-own agreement,” which did not close. When the property was re-sold to Gilgeous-Alexander, the Guptas were aware of the fraud allegations surrounding Pleterski and that investors were looking for the 25-year-old, Centa said.
“In June 2022, Sandeep was very concerned for Mr. Pleterski’s safety. Sandeep knew that ‘randoms’ were showing up at the Burlington property ‘every day.’ Sandeep was so worried that the defrauded investors would physically harm Mr. Pleterski that Sandeep moved him into another property owned by the Guptas where Mr. Pleterski could live rent-free,” the decision read.
When the owner moved an employee into the home to “keep watch over it,” the judge said, that employee was “harassed” by people who came to the house “every single day.” The employee eventually asked that security be present and his wife refused to stay there.
The Guptas, Centa said, also knew that Pleterski had been kidnapped for ransom by people he allegedly defrauded and Sandeep Gupta ultimately cut off communication with him after his association with Pleterski became dangerous for his family.
“Sandeep and Ray knew all of this when they listed the Burlington property for sale,” the judge wrote.
“I find that the corporate owner of the Burlington property made a fraudulent misrepresentation to the plaintiff and failed to disclose a latent defect in the Burlington property.”
The judge agreed to cancel the real estate deal and awarded Gilgeous-Alexander “equitable damages” as the couple was not able to live at the house but still made mortgage and insurance payments.
“In my view, (the owner) should make the plaintiff whole for all such payments after the plaintiff first sought recission on June 6, 2023,” the judge ruled.
Centa noted that awarding “punitive damages” would not be appropriate in this case.
Sumeet (Sonu) Dhanju Dhillon, the lawyer representing Ray and Sandeep Gupta, declined to provide a comment for the story. CP24 also reached out to the lawyer for Pleterski but has not received a response.
Pleterski allegedly owes at least $35 million to cryptocurrency and foreign exchange investors, according to court documents. Last year, a court declared his company bankrupt but only $2.2 million worth of assets were seized.
It should be noted that no criminal charges have been filed against Pleterski.
Last December, Pleterski was kidnapped, beaten, and held for ransom and five people were subsequently arrested and charged in connection with the incident.
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