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Former Penticton mayor’s lawsuit against his family deemed ‘manifestly deficient’

John Vassilaki sued his family for freezing him out of their businesses but had lack of evidence
Former mayor John Vassilaki has lost one of two lawsuits against his brother Nicholas. (City of Penticton file photo)

The second oftwo family lawsuits filed by former Penticton mayor John Vassilaki have come to an end on June 6, and it was not in his favour.

Vassilaki had filed the suit while he was sitting as mayor in 2021 with his son Floria William against his brother Nicholas, and nephews George and Florio Michael.

The lawsuit had claimed that his brother’s family had moved to freeze out John and his son as directors of the family business at a shareholder meeting in January, 2023.

READ MORE: Penticton’s former mayor files new lawsuit against family

The case moved quickly through the system after it was filed in February, and after a trial on May 10. The lack of evidence provided by John to back up his claims sunk his case, said the judge.

The presiding justice noted that all the information she was provided basically told her simply that there had been five directors up to the January meeting.

“I do not know what their operations are so as to assess ‘general commercial practice’,” read Justice Hardwick’s reasons. “I do not have the articles of the Corporations. I have no evidence as to the historical directorship of the Corporations to assess past practice. I have no minutes of the Meeting to confirm what John says was discussed. I do not even know the authority upon which the Meeting was being held.”

With a lack of evidence to support John’s claims, the justice then turned to Nicholas’ request for special costs against John, in particular their claim that the lawsuit was doomed to fail.

The justice found that back in March, Nicholas’ family would not be tendering any evidence, and based on that John should have dropped the suit.

“At this point, or fairly shortly thereafter, it ought to have been clear to the petitioners that the petition had no chance of success unless further evidence was tendered. They continued to pursue the relief sought nonetheless. I find … this is to be a situation where a party has displayed ‘reckless indifference’ by not seeing early on that its claim was manifestly deficient,” read Justice Hardwick’s reasons.

As a result, Nicholas’ family was awarded special costs from John.

A separate lawsuit filed by John over alleged unpaid rent and dealings around the restaurant that Nicholas formerly owned in Penticton is still ongoing and making its way through the courts.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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