Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thurs Post #1: 2290 Saxony Court: the latest fake mansion picture poster child

Yesterday we highlighted the barrage of news stories promoting the upcoming auction of 2290 Saxony Court in Mississauga, Ontario.

Languishing on the market since it was constructed, the builder has turned to an auction to hawk the home that originally carried an $11 million price tag.

As part of the hype, in which Richie Brothers outwardly admit they hope a lower price will trigger a bidding war, the $5.5 million opening bid is promoted as half price.

Our interest in the property was piqued when a reader in this online Windsor newspaper story noted something was amiss. 

The comment says, "the front of the property has been Photoshoped; the sidewalk and curb are where the pillars and fence are. There is no more setback to this monstrosity than there is to a bungalow on Bloor. I hope no one is bidding online based on those pictures. Unless there is a disclaimer along with the description and photos of this place it constitutes fraud."


The main nighttime entrance photo above is featured prominently in photo gallery for the house. As is this daytime photo:

There's also this 3D rendering of the overall property:

Look at the wide, sweeping driveway.  Look at that lush, huge front yard.


The builder, Ambassador Fine Custom Homes, has a masthead on their website that proudly proclaims: "Building Trust."

When you see the interior pictures, images of caviar wishes and champagne dreams abound.

All of which is surely designed to catch the eye of intending international buyer (a Ritchie Bros spokesman outwardly admit their market here is beyond the Mississauga area - probably overseas).

But take a closer look at this 'house' via google street view. Because when you do, Ambassador's slogan of 'building trust' suddenly takes a vicious beating:

As you can see 2290 Saxony Court isn't some wide open country estate, it's a large house squeezed into an end-of-cul-de-sac residential property (click on all images to enlarge).

Umm… what the hell happened to the sprawling front yard? Back to the 3D rendering, check out the sweeping driveway and the way it wraps around the side of the house.  Look at all the space…

Err…. what space?

(Isn't the google image of the garbage bag plunked next the encroaching neighbour's driveway priceless?)

Now let's take a look a real aerial view and compare it to the 3d rendering:


Do you get a sense of how compact the property is from any of the pictures in these photos?

What about in the pictures from the Toronto Star spread?

Not only do the news stories fail to give us any perspective on the real layout of the actual property, none make note that in May 2012 this house was listed at $8,900,000. Nor do they tell us that in June of 2013 the house was pimped for only $7,500,000.

So why is the inflated $11 million figure prominently bantered about?

To say these photos bear a passing resemblance to the reality of the property is beyond generous. And if the builder is wiling to mislead buyers with photoshopped promotional exterior pictures, you have to wonder what other surprises await on the inside.

Yet our gullible media, rather than expose the false pictures for what they are, simply regurgitate the press release and provide free advertising for a builder who seems to do everything but 'build trust'.


Of course why would we expect mainstream newspapers like the Vancouver Sun or the Toronto Star to ferret out truth and protect the public interest?

It's not like they have had to rationalize publishing fake mansion pictures before, right?


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  1. A simple web search will reveal that this builder went bankrupt owing millions a few years ago, just before this house was built. The news stories imply that he is fabulously wealthy but the reality is something else

  2. Is this handled as a special case for Richie Bros? Because it's not listed on their website of upcoming RE auctions nor can you find it via keyword search

  3. Our interest in the property was *piqued* when...

  4. Great stuff, Whisperer. Amazing how media doesn't make a big deal of this kind of thing. Keep up the good work!

  5. D'oh! Ambassador Fine Custom Homes is so busted...

  6. Crackerjack reporting, Susan Pigg..... just crackerjack.

    How much did they pay you and the Star for the extended R/E advertisement...??


  7. I am so surprised nobody has commented
    on how Angelia Jolie was photoshopped in their earlier
    pictures standing by the fireplace taken from Thr Tourist movie.

  8. Angelina Jolie was also photoshopped in the earlier
    listings standing by the fireplace straight out of the Tourist.

  9. The owner of this house, Mr. Cerny, hade a devastating
    fire which gutted the original house on this property, went bankrupt, and somehow miraculously with no money went on to build this monstrosity.
    Makes you wonder how legitimate Mr. Cerny is.

  10. And what do you bet that there will be actors in the audience posing as purchasers to drive the bidding up?