What is Flato?
Flato is a development company that builds housing developments and commercial spaces across Ontario.
Flato spends tens of thousands of dollars on advertising in communities where it hopes to build, in addition to making donations to various organizations in those communities.
Flato's president, Mr. Shakir Rehmatullah, frequently talks about wanting to be "friends" with the community where he builds. However, the actions of Flato in those communities are characterized less by friendship and more by coercion and deception. For instance:
Flato does not respect the wishes of local citizens.
The way in which Flato forces its plans on unwilling communities is evident most clearly in its use of Ministerial Zoning Orders to over-ride the wishes of local communities. You can find out more about Flato's use of Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) here.
It would appear that Flato engages in deception to procure land.
In Cameron, irregularities occurred in at least two of the land deals that led to Flato's purchase of the land slated for the Cameron Development. In addition, when first attempting to buy farmland in the area, Flato's representatives repeatedly said to landowners "I would like to build my dream home on this property," when in actual fact they wanted the land for development. You can find out more about the irregularities in these land purchases here.
Land owned by Flato in Cameron was illegally cleared.
In addition, shortly after Flato took possession of the farms on Rancher's Road, machinery appeared and started illegally clearing environmentally sensitive areas. You can find out more about this destruction here.
Flato also engaged in work on neighbouring properties that they did not own, creating thousands of dollars of damage.
Flato is part of the Greenbelt land swap scandal.
Flato has been named in the General Auditor's Report as one of the developers who lobbied the provincial government to remove land they owned from Greenbelt protections. You can download a copy of the Auditor General's report here.
Their actions are now under investigation by the RCMP.
You can read more about this scandal in the following news outlets:
Globe and Mail here (detailing the close friendship between the CEO of Flato and the Premier);
The Narwhal here;