WCSH: Saddleback buyer accused of deceit

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The Australian developer said to be in the process of buying Saddleback Mountain is being sued for millions of dollars by a Chinese investor, according to a WCSH news report.

According to the report, Sebastian Monsour is accused of deceit and taking advantage of an Australian visa program in a lawsuit filed in December in Queensland Superior Court in Australia.

In June, Monsour announced that he was buying Saddleback to make it the premier ski resort in North America. The resort had sat idle for three straight seasons as the owners searched for a buyer.

However, Monsour was also quoted as saying that the reason he was buying the ski resort was for the U.S. EB-5 visa program, in which entrepreneurs, their spouses and unmarried children under 21 are eligible to apply for green cards if they meet certain criteria.

According to WCSH, Monsour is being sued by Chinese businessman Fushen Li, who claims he is owed $5 million.

The suit claims Monsour pitched a Majella investment to Li in January 2017, touting various accomplishments in property development, including:

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• The Williston-West Church in Portland;

• Saddleback Mountain;

• A massive Portland waterfront project of 300 condos, retail space and a veterans’ hospital, according to WCSH.

According to the report, the waterfront project doesn’t exist, the Saddleback sale isn’t closed and the church is up for sale.

“These overstated accomplishments by Sebastian Monsour are just minor details in the grand scheme of this lawsuit,” according to the report at newscentermaine.com. “Accusations of lying, stealing money, and abusing a foreign visa program are at the heart of this suit — which is still ongoing in Australia.”

Sebastian Monsour, left, chief executive officer of the Majella Group based in Australia, talks with people at a June 2017 news conference about the group buying Saddleback Mountain Resort in Sandy River Plantation. (Sun Journal file photo)

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