The 10,000-square-foot, six-bedroom house on Lake Ontario that Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander bought for just over 8.4 million Canadian dollars, or $6.1 million, was supposed to be a dream home.
But in May, two days after Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander, 25, moved into the house, near Toronto, with his partner, it became a nightmare, according to a lawsuit seeking to quash the sale. An ominous visitor appeared, looking for a previous occupant. The couple left the next day and never returned.
The home of the young NBA player, described in the real estate listing as a “posh resort-like estate” had been the home of Aiden Pleterski, a self-styled “cryptocurrency king” who declared bankruptcy in 2022, despite owing just under C$13 million to more than 150 investment clients.
Court documents show the house received a constant stream of angry visitors trying to talk to Mr. Pleterski while he lived there and after he moved out.
Last December, court documents show, Mr. Pleterski was kidnapped by one of his aggrieved investors and four other men, then beaten and tortured for three days.
Testimony in the bankruptcy case reveals that Mr. Pleterski had a security guard to keep angry investors away and was eventually moved out of the house for his own safety. Another resident also fled, fearing for his safety after angry visitors continued to arrive every day.
A holding company owned by Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander is now asking a court to void the purchase of the Burlington, Ont., home because the seller failed to disclose his connection to Mr. Pleterski and the potential threat to the home’s security.
Citing the kidnapping, the holding company said in its filing that the people who showed up at the luxury home were “not making unnecessary threats.”
The property’s former owner, the head of a Toronto real estate company with holdings that include apartments, retirement homes and hotels, withheld alarming visitor information from potential buyers because “any buyer who could afford to spend more than $8 million of dollars for a luxury item” The house would value privacy and in any case would not want to be part of a property that has had a history of threatening visits to the last two occupants.
Through his lawyer, Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander declined to comment.
Halton Regional Police, which has authority over Burlington, declined to provide further information, and a spokeswoman declined to say whether Mr. Pleterski was the target of a criminal investigation.
A banking analysis by an insolvency practitioner shows that Mr. Pleterski was not the investment wunderkind that many of his investors believed him to be.
It turned out that of the 41.6 million Canadian dollars collected, only 1.6% was actually invested. He used about 38% of the money to repay redemptions – purported investment gains – to some clients and spent about the same percentage on private jet travel, a fleet of luxury cars, watches, including one that cost more than $ 300,000, and a lease on the Burlington House.
The trustee concluded that Pleterski’s “extravagant lifestyle, financed by his investors,” had “ultimately led to his bankruptcy.”
During a 2022 sworn interview with the trustee’s lawyers, Mr. Pleterski said he first became interested in cryptocurrency after using it to make purchases for video games and began trading it while still in high school.
He started with his family’s money and his earnings as a part-time baseball umpire. His knowledge of trading and financial markets, he said, came from “YouTube videos, Google, quick Google searches.”
The company, Pleterski said, operated through his personal bank accounts until December 2021, when he founded his company at the suggestion of a former owner.
His only documentation, he said, consisted of his text messages and WhatsApp messages with clients. Although Mr. Pleterski created spreadsheets for a handful of clients who requested them, he acknowledged that the investment return shown was only “a ballpark figure” that he came up with after reviewing his bank accounts.
The house Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander purchased was located between Toronto, where he was born, and Hamilton, Ontario, where he grew up. It was fully furnished and included a gym, three car garage and a home theater. The bedrooms, reached by elevator, offered expansive views of the lake, including the property’s private dock.
In his lawsuit, Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander said that two days after he moved in a man appeared asking to see someone he had never heard of: Mr. Pleterski. Instead of leaving when he was told no one by that name was there, the uninvited visitor looked around the property and then sat in his car in the driveway.
Mr. Gilgeous-Alexander’s partner, Hailey Summers, he called the police’s non-emergency number and was told that the agency “had received several reports of threats to the property, including threats to burn the house down,” the lawsuit states.
In spring 2021, Mr. Pleterski agreed to rent the Burlington home from a company controlled by Ray Gupta, who also controls the Sunray Group real estate holding company in Toronto.
But when Mr. Pleterski’s business began to collapse, he stopped paying his C$45,000 monthly rent and moved to a hotel owned by Sunray, where he was not charged rent.
In response to Mr Gilgeous-Alexander’s complaint, Mr Gupta’s company downplayed the frequency and potential danger brought by uninvited visitors and argued it had no obligation to disclose the whereabouts of unwanted guests.
“Despite the fact that Aiden has been kidnapped, any visit to the property by an individual inquiring about its former occupant would be considered a completely normal occurrence,” he said.
But during a sworn interview for Mr. Pleterski’s bankruptcy case, Sandeep Gupta, Ray’s son, who handled all dealings with Mr. Pleterski, painted a different picture.
“People came to the house every single day, looking for Aiden,” Mr. Gupta said.
He said the unwanted visits continued when a Sunray employee moved in to keep the furnished home occupied and the employee asked for a security guard. “His wife refused to stay there,” Mr. Gupta said. “It was a very bad situation.”