Fundraiser started by Vancouver man arrested in 'makeshift nightclub'
VANCOUVER -- An impassioned plea for financial support and denouncing lockdown measures has appeared on the online fundraising site GoFundMe, purportedly in support of the man arrested just days earlier in a case that’s drawn national headlines.
Mo Movassaghi is credited as organizing the fundraiser, which has the title “Reclaim your rights!” and is written in the first person. GoFundMe confirmed to CTV News Friday that he did make the page.
The fundraiser, which has been deactivated, references the recent incident in which Vancouver police ticketed dozens of guests and arrested the host of a large penthouse party in downtown Vancouver. The page aimed to raise $100,000.
“To date, there has been no reported COVID case associated with the party,” it read. “Approximately $10,000 in cash was taken from me, about $5,000 in liquor, and a series of personal items. There is also property damage I cannot fix given my bail conditions … I have staff to pay.”
In a search warrant application filed by Vancouver police and obtained by CTV News, officers describe a series of suspected parties on the weekend before Jan. 31 that prompted calls to police. One guest described bouncers, a stripper pole, several bartenders, a DJ and mood lighting, as well as instructions to remove shoes so that guests wouldn’t make enough noise to arouse suspicion. Shortly before they entered the multi-million-dollar penthouse suite, officers in the lobby also observed a delivery driver attempting to take 100 McDonald’s cheeseburgers to the suite.
Vancouver police described the setup as a “makeshift nightclub” when they announced that Mohamad Movassaghi had been arrested and charged, and officers fined 77 people $230 each for violating provincial COVID-19 rules banning private gatherings.
The GoFundMe page complained about fines of up to $25,000 for Movassaghi and that he could face a jail sentence, while pointing out his legal fees will likely be considerable.
“The powers that be have also engaged in a smear campaign, which has affected my ability to work and earn a living,” the page continues. “I ask for your help to defend our right to enjoy our private property rights in the hopes of setting a precedent for my fellow Canadians. I believe what happens in the privacy of our own homes should remain as such.”
CTV News reached out to Movassaghi’s lawyer, who is also his brother, and received a response two hours later.
“I wasn't aware of this page, but when I clicked on the link you sent, it appears the fundraiser is inactive,” wrote Bobby Movassaghi, without denying that his client was the author or beneficiary of the fundraiser.
The fundraiser’s total sits at the $260 mark, with a message from GoFundMe reading, “This fundraiser is no longer accepting donations.”
But the page is still hosted and the fundraiser can easily be reactivated.
GoFundMe told CTV that Movassaghi was the one to deactivate the page.