Former beach developer charged 0
WASAGA BEACH — One of the two brothers who planned a grand vision for the main beach area has been charged.
On Tuesday, the OPP charged 42-year-old Dov Levy of Thornhill with theft and fraud over $5,000. Police say the charges stem from a year-long investigation into accusations of misappropriation of the insurance money paid out to Levy following the arson that destroyed part of the mall area near Beach Area 1 in late 2007.
Levy is scheduled to appear in Collingwood court on Oct. 2.
Police say more than $1.2 million was paid out in an insurance settlement for the blaze.
None of the allegations have been proven in court. OPP spokesperson Martin Hachey indicated he was unable to provide more information, as the matter is now before the courts.
Levy, along with his brother, Armand, had amassed a significant piece of the commercial area that fronts the main beach area, owning numerous properties including the mall, and the Dardenella nightclub. They had plans to build a multi-million-dollar including hotels, restaurants, commercial businesses and condominiums that were to be christened Blue Beach Avenue.
There was even talk of a year-round indoor ski slope.
The fire in the mall area started early in the morning of Nov. 30, 2007. In 2009, a 21-year-old Barrie man was found guilty of setting the blaze that caused approximately $5 million in damages.
Andrew Paulino admitted he and a friend poured gasoline in one of the buildings, set a match to it, then went across the street to watch the fire. Nearly 100 firefighters from eight area fire departments were called out to quench the fire, which destroyed 22 buildings.
In a victim impact statement submitted to the court during Paulino's trial, Dov Levy said he was held under great suspicion after the fire.
"Our credibility was compromised by the constant questioning behind the reasons for the arson," Levy told the court. "It saddened us, angered us and made us fearful of further retaliation."
In an interview with QMI the day after the fire, Armand Levy said it was an emotional moment, as he and his brother had started out with an ice cream parlour in the mall in the mid-1990s.
Eight months after Paulino's conviction, a major financial backer pulled its support of the project, and by spring, Blue Beach Avenue was forced into bankruptcy.
Earlier this year, the 16 properties that had been held in receivership for two years were picked up by Wasaga Beach Waterfront Developments for $11.5 million.
According to a news release from the Town of Wasaga Beach earlier this year, of the eight properties still held by the Levys, four were proceeding through tax sale, and four had been repossessed by other mortgagees and were for sale.