Failed Penticton hockey dorm proponents face criminal charges

Two men are being charged with three criminal offences in relation to the now defunct Okanagan Elite Hockey Association.

Owner Wade Wagstaff of Grizzly Excavating Ltd. surveys the idle construction site where a proposed dormitory was to be built. He and other contractors who have already done substantial work there are currently waiting to see when or if they will get paid. Wagstaff is glad the municipality protected taxpayers from having to pay the fees but feels he

Two men are being charged with three criminal offences in relation to the now defunct Okanagan Elite Hockey Association.

Loren Reagan and Michael Gordon Elphicke are both charged with fraud and theft over $5,000  related to the Okanagan Elite Hockey Association. They also are facing a charge related to operating an unauthorized lottery scheme in 2011 and 2012. Information from the Penticton court states the charges were sworn on Jan. 29, 2015.

The association was involved in a civil suit in 2012 with parents who had raised over $100,000 through fundraising efforts to send minor hockey players to Europe, when the trip was abruptly cancelled.

The lawyer representing the parents, Nathan Wahoski, told the Western News in 2012 that nobody knew where the money went.

“The bottom line is that someone took the money and used it for other things, maybe used it for personal reasons,” Wahoski said.

Reagan was also tied into a failed project to build a hockey dormitory next to the South Okanagan Events Centre, which came to a crashing end in March 2012, after news about the OEHA fraud suit came to light and his backers, Citation Ventures, pulled out, also accusing him of fraudulent business practices.

Some of the parents’ money may have been used to help secure the deal Reagan was making with the city.

Wahoski told the Western News that he had cheques showing that the City of Penticton unknowingly received some money from the fund as well as substantial amounts paid to Reagan personally.

Citation Ventures also provided the Western News with a copy of a wire transfer showing that $20,000 was transferred on Nov. 21, 2011 to them from one of the accounts named in the application requesting the court freeze the assets of the OEHA.

Though Reagan’s $925,000 deal to buy the Eckhardt properties never went through, he nevertheless began construction until the city issued a stop work order.

When the hockey dorm deal crashed, the contractors hired by Reagan went unpaid, and Penticton, along with Elphicke, Reagan and the OEHA were named in $1.6 million worth of civil suits from the contractors. Two of the companies have since discontinued their claims against Elphicke.

In March 2013, Elphicke created a Facebook group “Bring Loren Peter Reagan (Mason) To Justice,” where he claims he was defrauded by his former business partner as well.

Elphicke and Reagan will appear in court on separate dates in April.

 

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