BCSC lifts gel after sponsor withdraws from procedure
Former West Vancouver board candidate and stock promoter Tara Haddad removed from notice of hearing for market misconduct
A British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) hearing panel revoked a freezing order and liens on a condo in Whistler and on a West Vancouver waterfront property owned by stock promoter and former city council candidate Tara Haddad.
Commissioners Audrey Ho and Judith Downes ruled on May 17 that it would not be prejudicial to the public interest to lift the freeze after Haddad was withdrawn from a November 2018 notice of hearing that once included dozens of so-called consultants – including Haddad, her husband Abeir Haddad and their companies – known as the Bridgemark Group.
Haddad already applied to redevelopment the empty West Vancouver lot on Erwin Drive, which she bought for $ 9.2 million in 2016. Meanwhile, her $ 880,000 condo in Whistler is now free of orders. The Haddads previously froze two other properties, which no longer appear in land title searches under their names.
April 28 BCSC General Manager Peter Brady issued the Notice of Abandonment and fired most of the Respondents, leaving only four people – including Haddad’s brother and younger Anthony Jackson stock promoter – face civil charges of insider trading and / or conduct contrary to the public interest.
In an unusual move, Brady said he reserved the right to reissue notices of hearing to those he abandoned from proceedings before May 28. However, on May 6, he consented to the Haddads’ request to lift the freezes and privileges, while noting to the panel of commissioners the couple remain subject to civil proceedings (a class action lawsuit by investors against the Bridgemark group) which alleges a conspiracy between the Bridgemark group and controlled or closely associated member companies.
However, “none of the Board’s previous decisions involved the continuation of common law claims freezing orders in the absence of allegations or claims. [B.C. Securities Act]The panel noted in its three-page decision.
Haddad is a chartered real estate agent and chartered professional accountant which also operates a math academy in West Vancouver. She unsuccessfully ran for the West Vancouver board in 2016. Thereafter, she followed in her brother’s footsteps, running two shell companies he had previously promoted.
Haddad’s most active promotion is Modern Meat, a line of pea and protein meat alternatives. Haddad took the company public in a reverse takeover of Navis Resources, a company run by Jackson.
Company records show Modern Meat has been heavily promoted online. Since its launch in June 2020, the company issued 49 press releases. One of his first steps was to hire two promotional companies for $ 650,000 – Awareness Consulting Network LLC for US $ 100,000 and Green Times Consulting Ltd. for 325,000 euros.
Modern Meat, which operates a small kitchen, reported gross sales profits of $ 66,849 in the six months ending February 28 of this year and racked up nearly $ 2.1 million in operating losses.
The stock is trading at $ 1.74, giving it a market cap of $ 48.7 million, including its 28.3 million shares.
Eleven and a half million of those shares came from a division of Navis shares, at $ 0.15 per share, and most were owned by several members of the Bridgemark group. Since its launch, the stock has reached as high as $ 4.31 and millions of shares have traded in the retail market.
Last year, Haddad earned $ 125,000 for his efforts and currently holds 667,500 options at $ 0.05.
Haddad also headed three other companies: Kootenay Zinc Corp. (replacing Jackson in June 2019), Sennen Potash Corp. and Remington Resources. None have an income stream.
In Modern Meat’s public repositories, she boasts “over 20 years of experience building successful businesses with operational financial growth by providing financial expertise and knowledge.”
In January, Haddad left her position at Remington Resources, a shell company, where she earned $ 125,000 in 2020. She joined the company in June 2017 and raised $ 862,000 in a private placement in January 2018 At the end of last year, the company had assets of $ 13,032. Audited financial statements show the company spent $ 283,000 in 2018 and $ 583,000 in 2017 on consulting fees. Jackson of BridgeMark Financial Corp. was paid $ 239,000 for accounting services. The highest consulting fees paid in a year ($ 187,000 in 2017) went to former director Brent Hahn, director of Sennen Potash, who was registered at BridgeMark’s address. The respondent’s company at the BCSC hearing, Cam Paddock, received $ 90,300. Under Haddad, Remington’s deficit increased by $ 1.2 million in just over a year. A company with no income or assets, it is now trading at $ 0.025 per share.
Haddad left Sennen Potash in May 2020 with an annual salary of $ 80,000. Sennen had total assets of $ 61,857 in January 2020, up from $ 458,784 in January 2019, when the company spent $ 608,100 on consulting fees.
The commission had investigated Haddad and other alleged consultants for abusive conduct in the financial markets. The original notice of hearing alleged an illegal stock distribution and “cash swap” scheme involving 11 CSE-listed companies that had issued extraordinarily large six-figure advisory contracts to stock purchase consultants and to their associates. Some companies have already admitted that the consultants did not do meaningful work, if applicable, after buying cheap stocks and then selling them to retail investors. A hearing for Jackson and other alleged architects of the alleged scheme has not been scheduled.
According to BCSC spokesperson Brian Kladko, any former respondent called back to the hearing will be notified privately and a new notice will be posted.