Penticton Indian Band Chief Chad Eneas (centre) serves up some salmon at the Okanagan Nation Alliance Salmon Feast in sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ Provincial Park in Okanagan Falls.                                (Dustin Godfrey/Western News)

Penticton Indian Band Chief Chad Eneas (centre) serves up some salmon at the Okanagan Nation Alliance Salmon Feast in sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ Provincial Park in Okanagan Falls. (Dustin Godfrey/Western News)

Penticton Indian Band sues former chief, councillors

Lawsuit alleges Jonathan Kruger and five others are refusing to pass on their shares in the PIBDC

The Penticton Indian Band is allegedly at risk of breaching its agreement to lease lands to an upcoming Nissan car dealership, as turmoil within PIB ranks turns to litigation.

A lawsuit filed by the PIB alleges six former councillors, including former chief Jonathan Kruger, are blocking the band’s ability to appoint new directors of its corporations and its ability to run day-to-day operations.

Historically, the eight band council members and the chief would each hold two shares in the Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation and its six subsidiary companies, and upon the election of a new council, a resolution is passed to direct the nine former councillors to pass their shares onto the incoming council.

Related: Chief responds to council resignations

But on June 23 this year, councillors voted in favour of a resolution that directed the shareholders — made up of the former council — to Chief Chad Eneas, according to a lawsuit filed by the band on Thursday.

“The idea was that this would provide the current council with proper time to consult with the band membership to determine whether a new shareholder structure could be established that would better protect the true shareholders of the PIB,” the lawsuit reads.

Of the former councillors, Timmothy Lezard, Inez Pierre and Clinton John George reportedly transferred their shares to Eneas. However, Kruger, Kevin Gabriel, Clint Gabriel, Travis James Kruger, Dolly Catharine Kruger and Joseph Pierre have not transferred their shares, according to the lawsuit.

Related: PIB chief and council down to four

Of the six that did not transfer their shares, just Jonathan Kruger and Joseph Pierre were re-elected.

Since the June resolution passed, Jonathan Kruger and Timmothy Lezard resigned from council, while Joseph Pierre, Denise Lecoy and Naomi Gabriel resigned prior to the resolution passing.

“Because the defendants had each neglected or refused to execute and deliver their instrument of transfer, on Aug. 25, 2017, a formal demand was sent by PIB’s general counsel to the defendants,” the lawsuit said.

“The demand required that each of the defendants forthwith execute their instrument of transfer to resign as bare trustee shareholder of the PIBDC.”

Related: Non-confidence issue freezes PIB meeting

Among the issues that arise from the failure of former councillors to transfer their shares, the PIB cited the inability to appoint a new director of the PIBDC and its subsidiaries.

“Chief Chad Eneas cannot appoint a new director and as a result, the ability of the PIBDC and PIB companies to operate has been placed at a standstill,” the lawsuit said, adding a lack of a director means no new signing authorities can be appointed.

“Without signing authorities, it is impossible to operate the daily business of the PIBDC and the PIB companies.”

In particular, the band points to a joint project with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to do roadwork at Highway 97 and Skaha Hills Road, set to start on Oct. 5.

“(The work) cannot move ahead because PIBDC does not have the ability to appoint an administrator to execute and deliver tender documents.”

Related: PIB vote recount doesn’t affect results

The PIB also says lacking appointees in PIB Holdings Ltd. complicates the company’s dealings with the Government of Canada and the Canadian Pacific Railway over the transfer of traditional lands.

The band also claims that could mean the PIB would soon been in breach of its agreement to lease lands for an upcoming Nissan dealership.

“One of the PIB companies (Westhills Aggregates GP Inc.) is required to provide a water connection to the leased company,” the lawsuit says. “As a result of having no director or proper signing authority, Westhills Aggregates GP Inc.’s operations are at a standstill and it may not complete the work that the lessee requires.”

The PIB also claims being unable to operate the affairs of the corporation and its companies “will only serve to erode public confidence in the PIB, and has the potential to set the PIB back on its path to autonomy.”

No response has yet been filed on behalf of the defendants.

Related: Penticton Indian Band chief runs on community platform


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

(Drive BC photo)
Vehicle incident closes Highway 3 east of Osoyoos

Drive BC says to avoid the area until the road is clear

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

Chef Murray McDonald was at home and ready to doze off to sleep when he got a text from his wife

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Most Read