Immigration middle man loses fight for his cut
By DAVID JACKSON
The Chronicle Herald
Tue. Oct 7 – 7:30 PM
A Dartmouth businessman who says he got an immigrant an internship at a Pictou County company under a controversial provincial immigration program recently lost his court case demanding a finders fee.
The claim by Alex Tang of Tang Dynasty Investments Inc. provides a glimpse into the workings of the economic stream of the provincial nominee program, something critics have said was rife with people looking to make a quick buck and the subject of a scathing review by the provinces auditor general.
Mr. Tangs small claims court action was against Stark Oil Inc., of New Glasgow. He claimed the company owed him $10,000 for his work in finding an immigrant to work there for at least six months.
Under the economic stream, immigrants paid $130,500 each in fees to get fast-tracked into Canada. The biggest chunk of the fee $100,000 was earmarked for a Nova Scotia business to mentor the immigrant in the ways of business in the province. The immigrant was to work for at least six months in a middle management position and earn at least $20,000. The court ruling, made Sept. 15, said Mr. Tang had been contacted by the agent for Riad Mustafa, an immigrant whod had trouble finding a business mentor by November 2006.
Mr. Tang contacted Stark Oil, saying he knew an immigrant who wanted a placement there. Mr. Tang told Stark Oil president Scott MacEachern that the fee for placing the immigrant there would be $10,000, which Mr. Tang said Mr. MacEachern agreed to pay “if it worked out.”
Mr. Tang said he was the “go-between” for Mr. Mustafa and Mr. MacEachern, but Mr. MacEachern said he got Mr. Mustafas contact information from either Mr. Mustafa or the government.
The decision said Mr. MacEachern was “suspicious” of the hard sell Mr. Tang was making on the phone. Mr. MacEachern called the provincial Office of Immigration after speaking with Mr. Tang and was told that he was only to deal with the immigrant nominee and provincial government.
Mr. Mustafa ended up signing a contract with Stark Oil in December 2006. Mr. Tang sent Mr. MacEachern an invoice for $10,000. Mr. MacEachern thought he didnt have to pay anything but ended up paying Mr. Tang $2,000 in the “apparent hope . . . the claimant would simply go away,” the decision said.
Adjudicator J. Scott Barnett said in his decision that he believed Mr. MacEacherns version of events rather than Mr. Tangs.
Mr. Barnett noted that during the court hearing July 14, Mr. Tangs demeanour was “reminiscent of what one would expect from a fast-talking salesperson attempting to close a deal.”
Mr. Barnett said Mr. MacEachern seemed to be a cautious businessman, and it would be “astonishing” to think hed agree to pay a $10,000 fee without meeting Mr. Tang in person.
Mr. Barnett also dismissed Mr. MacEacherns counterclaim, in which he tried to get the $2,000 back. Mr. Barnett said Mr. MacEachern probably paid it for two reasons as a favour to Mr. Mustafa and because he was tired of Mr. Tangs repeated phone calls.
Mr. Tang could not be reached for comment.
The type of brokering Mr. Tang did was not unusual in the nominee program, Auditor General Jacques Lapointe said in a report released last week.
Although it wasnt sanctioned by the province, and the Office of Immigration tried to put a stop to it after it took over the program in July 2006, Mr. Lapointe found one-third of the 21 mentor company officials interviewed said a broker had approached them.
Six said they used a broker to find a nominee and paid fees ranging from $3,000 to $20,000.
Provincial records show Stark Oil received $100,000 through the nominee program.
Tang Dynasty Investments was also a mentor company and received $100,000 through the program, the records show.
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To your subject line – Yeaaaaaaaaah, justice served. So some wealthy immigrants can just buy their way into the country, bypass all the rules, disgusting. I suppose this happens more than we know.