A Vancouver realtor has lost his licence at a brokerage firm and resigned from a local business board after being criticized for allegedly taking to his upscale neighbourhood to take down information posters on utility poles for Indigenous woman Chelsea Poorman, whose 2020 death continues to raise questions for police investigators.
On May 28, dozens of people marched from the Shaughnessy neighbourhood, where Poorman's remains were discovered April 22 in an empty multimillion-dollar home on Granville Street, to downtown Vancouver, where the then-24-year-old was last seen on Sept. 8, 2020.
Randy Vogel, a realtor now formerly with Macdonald Realty, is allegedly seen in a video posted to social media removing the posters from an area that appears to be near his Granville Street home.
In a statement referencing Vogel, Macdonald Real Estate Group president Dan Scarrow said: "As an organization, we are in full support of Chelsea Poorman's family and friends as they search for answers and justice.
"We do not condone any inappropriate actions taken by any member of our community, and, in this instance, we took immediate action, and they are no longer with Macdonald Realty."
Scarrow told Glacier Media the company had informed Vogel it was handing in his licence, and Vogel "understood the decision."
The company said it is also aware of complaints lodged with the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), which oversees standards of conduct for realtors.
"We are aware of the post circulating on social media and are currently looking into it further," said Shaheed Devji, spokesperson for the BCREA.
Vogel may still be licensed elsewhere should he choose.
Vogel has also resigned as a director of Cloverdale Paints, which the Vogel family of Surrey co-founded.
"Cloverdale Paint's Board of Directors was made aware that Mr.Vogel demonstrated actions, as seen in a recent social media post, that were not consistent with the core values of the organization.
"Cloverdale Paint promotes an inclusive and respectful workplace, and we do not tolerate actions that seek to exclude anyone from the rights, freedoms and equality that they deserve and are entitled to," the company stated June 1.
Meanwhile, the Royal Yacht Club of Vancouver says it has suspended Vogel as a fleet captain.
Glacier Media could not reach Vogel for comment by phone or at home.
Actions angered vigil holders
Lavita Trimble was taking part in the event to support the family and witnessed the man ripping down the posters.
"I decided to run back half a block to catch him on video, take a few pictures and ask him, 'Why is this bothering you? Why does this anger you? Why are you reacting to this?'" says Trimble during an interview with Glacier Media. "And his response was 'it's vandalism.'"
Trimble challenged the man and said, "it's not vandalism."
A video of the encounter shows the man continuing to walk along the sidewalk, ripping down posters.
"The way he ripped it down is just the way the world is treating Indigenous people — like they're disposable. Really, it triggered me. It angered me," says Trimble.
Trimble calls the way the man acted in the video appalling.
"I would like society to take this seriously because this actually happened. This is happening in your neighbourhood, and if this is happening in your neighbourhood, we need to be aware and actually have that open heart for others that are going through this because you never know if it will happen to yours," says Trimble.
Vigil holders and marchers view the posters as critical in seeking more information on the circumstances of Poorman's death.
The Vancouver Police Department issued a statement May 6 claiming Poorman's death was not considered suspicious.
"Investigators believe Chelsea likely died on the property the night she disappeared or shortly thereafter, but went undiscovered because the house has been vacant for years."
But the vigil holders are at odds with the police department's conclusions on the file. So during the 40-block march, they affixed posters on utility poles seeking information about Poorman's disappearance and subsequent death.
Father speaks out against police investigation
Poorman's father, Mike Kiernan, saw the video and says he watched it multiple times. After reflecting on it, he has a message for the man in the video.
"If you do have a chance to look at this and watch this, I can tell you the kind of person Chelsea was," he says. "She was all about change and compassion. She would take the shirt off her back."
Kiernan questioned what his daughter would say to the man.
"She would say, 'Dad, maybe we could connect with him and show him that he made a mistake, a really bad mistake, and maybe they can start to help out with missing people,'" he said through tears.
"That was the kind of person Chelsea was. She would say, 'Let's give him a chance to see if they can turn this around.'"
Kiernan says he's given everything he has to find out what happened to his daughter.
"I don't think for one second that she lay behind that house," he says. "They didn't look for her; they didn't find her. It was a contractor who found her."
Kiernan believes his daughter was murdered and did not get a "proper investigation" because she is Indigenous.
"The things that are coming out of this are just horrific. As time goes on ... it blows my mind. Am I satisfied with the investigation? No. Absolutely disappointed," he says.
Going forward, he hopes people will take missing person cases very seriously.
Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director of the Battered Women's Support Services, said she has never seen anyone rip down information posters of dead women.
It's a situation, she says, where there are serious questions about how Poorman died. Putting up posters in the very neighbourhood where she was found deceased is a "legit" thing to do, she adds.
"Here we have a man of great wealth and privilege. He ticks all the boxes of having the greatest power positionally in Canada," said MacDougall. "He is literally disappearing her from the pole, rendering her invisible."