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Wednesday Jan 19, 2011

Missing Hout Bay estate agent has franchise cancelled

The franchise of a missing Hout Bay estate agent has been terminated, allegedly for not meeting its financial obligations.

Wesley Carlson is the owner of Remax Prestige in Hout Bay, and the only one with access to the office's trust account.

Carlson owed Remax less than R30 000 and similar small amounts to other creditors, said Adrian Goslett, chief executive of Remax Southern Africa.

"We terminated the Remax Prestige franchise mid-last week," said Goslett.

"The reason for our termination was they did not meet their obligations to us."

Subsequent to terminating the franchise, Goslett discovered Carlson had other debts, including to the Victoria Road office's landlord, and advertisers.

It was yet to be determined exactly what had happened at the Remax Prestige franchise, said Goslett, adding that Carlson was also missing. "We don't know where he is. We have been trying to contact him. We suspect he is in Mauritius, but that is hearsay."

"The concerning part here is the bank account. No one has access to that trust account. We don't know what is in there."

Remax Prestige specialised in properties for sale in the Hout Bay, Llandudno, Noordhoek and Constantia areas.

Carlson's cellphone was on voicemail yesterday.

Goslett said he would lodge a complaint with the Estate Agents Affairs Board. "They are probably the only people who will be able to open a forensic audit and get access. We don't know what the extent of the problem is."

Estate Agents Affairs Board lawyer Jimmy Baloyi said yesterday the statutory body had not yet heard of any irregularities with the Remax franchise. "It can only come to our attention if an aggrieved member of the public comes to us. Then we will investigate."

Goslett said he had tried for some days to lodge a complaint, but had been unable to do so by yesterday afternoon.

He said there appeared to be about six or seven rentals and it was not believed there would be "a huge amount" of money owed.

The Carlson termination comes just days after allegations that Johannesburg property mogul Wendy Machanik misappropriated more than R25 million of clients' money and had continued to operate illegally.

Cape Times

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