High profile Montreal real estate agent to be fined $20,000 for breaching real estate code

MONTREAL — One of Montreal’s top real-estate agents — one who just handled the sale of the premier’s mansion — is expected to pay a $20,000 fine after pleading guilty to breaching his industry’s ethics code.

Joseph Montanaro entered the guilty plea Tuesday during a disciplinary hearing for the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ), the body that governs real-estate brokers in Quebec.

The complaint, filed by OACIQ official Alexandra Tonghioiu, stated that between 2018 and 2019 Montanaro “allowed, permitted or requested a third party to take training courses in his place in order to complete his OACIQ continuing education program training program.”

The offence is in violation of several sections of the Real Estate Brokerage Act. Brokers are required to accumulate “a certain number of continuing education credits” to complete the Mandatory Continuing Education Program (MCEP) every two years in order to maintain their licence and to keep their knowledge of the industry up to date, according to the OACIQ website.

Lawyers for Montanaro and the OACIQ agreed on the $20,000 penalty, which the discipline committee accepted after receiving a joint summary of facts in the case.

It’s believed to be one of the highest fines ever issued for realtors in Quebec.

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Montanaro, who counts celebrities like Céline Dion and hockey player PK Subban among his previous clients, is one of Montreal’s highest-profile brokers, specializing in the sale of multi-million dollar homes in the city’s wealthiest neighbourgoods. 

Two weeks ago, he sold the 18,000-square-foot mansion of Premier Legault. The Victorian-style home in Outremont was listed for $4,995,000 and has eight bedrooms.

The home sold for less than the listing price, a source confirmed to CTV News.

The complaint against him appears to have been brought on by some bad blood within the real-estate market in Montreal. OACIQ was notified of the violation from Montanaro’s competition, according to his lawyer Alain Mongeau, who attended the hearing on Tuesday.

“It came in from the competition — people that are competing with Mr. Montanaro in the real-estate market,” Mongeau told CTV.

In explaining the nature of the offence, he said an ex-employee of Montanaro did the training on his behalf and claimed that he authorized it, but Montanaro doesn’t recall approving it, Mongeau explained.

“It’s a mistake and he’s sorry for it,” Mongeau said, adding that the whole process was allegedly fueled by Montanaro’s rivals.

“He’s angry that his competition would try to compete in this fashion rather than by providing good services,” he said.

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“It’s an actual complaint by competition — why would they do that? It’s to harm his reputation for their own benefit.”

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