Thursday, March 26, 2015

A midnight move ..... busted and now garnished!

Good Day Readers:

Did "Tricky Vic" try to stiff a former landlord for Mickey Mouse money but got caught?

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Toews' salary to be docked
Garnishee order issued against Manitoba judge

By Mia Rabson
Friday, March 27, 2015

Vic Toews a current judge and former justice minister has been ordered to pay $3,900 to a former Quebec landlord. An order has been issued to garnishee his salary. (Mia Rabson/Winnipeg Free Press)

OTTAWA -- An order has been issued to garnishee the salary of Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice Vic Toews to cover rent he didn't pay for a Quebec apartment he once lived in.

The order for $3,900 came from a Quebec residential rentals tribunal judge on March 18. That judge dismissed Toews' request for the judgment to be dismissed, saying the appeal was filed too late.

Vic Toews (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The tribunal judge chastised Toews for claiming he didn't read the judgment when he got it in December because it was written in French.

The decision stems from a dispute between Toews and his former landlord in Gatineau, Quebec, over whether the lease was monthly or yearly.

On Thursday, Toews' office said he had no comment.

"More than anyone, he is able to comprehend the respect and attention that should be assigned to a document titled 'Decision.' " ..... Administrative Judge Pierre Gagnon against Vic Toews, above), in a dispute over rent for a Gatneau, Quebec apartment (above).

'More than anyone, he is able to comprehend the respect and the attention that should be assigned to a document titled 'Decision' "

-- Administrative Judge Pierre Gagnon in his ruling against Vic Toews (left), in a dispute over rent for a Gatineau, Que., apartment (above)

In legal documents filed in February with the Regie du Logement and obtained by the Free Press, Toews' Montreal legal team argued he signed the original lease in 2010 as an annual lease, but the building's manager agreed that after the first year, the lease would convert to a month-to-month deal.

He notified the landlord of his intention to end the lease in July 2013 when he announced he was leaving politics. At that time, the landlord said the lease was not monthly and said Toews would need to pay the remainder of the lease.

Toews' lawyers said he believed the dispute was settled when he agreed to pay the full rent for August even though he believed he wasn't legally required to do so.

In addition to the agreement to shift to a monthly lease, Toews told the landlord in a letter in July 2013 he could terminate the lease because the landlord hadn't made requested repairs to a leaky toilet and a broken window, and the building was unsafe for him because of surrounding gang activity and the fact he would no longer have RCMP protection after he left cabinet.

"For that reason alone, even if there was a yearly lease, I would be entitled to end the tenancy because you are not providing me with the appropriate security that I should expect in a building of this nature," Toews wrote.

On August 1, 2013, a cheque for $1,300 was sent from the numbered Manitoba company owned by Toews' wife, Stacy Meek, and that cheque was cashed.

A month later, landlord Raymond Desmarais filed a complaint with the Regie du Logement asking for it to order Toews to pay the additional three months' rent owing from an annual lease, totalling $3,900.

Administrative Judge Pierre Gagnon ruled in Desmarais' favour and in November 2013, ordered Toews to pay the landlord $3,900 in back rent, as well as interest and $78 in legal fees.

Gagnon's responses, both written and spoken, were translated from French.

Toews' lawyers told the tribunal he knew nothing of the complaint, the hearing nor the judgment against him. He filed proof, showing a copy of the decision sent to a Winnipeg address at which Toews hasn't lived for more than a decade. Had Toews known about the hearing, he would have contested it, the document says.

In December 2014, Toews received a letter from a collection agency, naming Desmarais as the creditor. Toews didn't recognize the name and thought it was a mistake or fraud. Documents with the letter were in French, and since Toews doesn't speak French, he didn't read them.

About a month later, he was told "to his great surprise" by his payroll department that it had been ordered to garnishee his wages due to the November 2013 rental board decision.

On February 2, Toews filed a request to have the judgment dismissed. On March 18, Gagnon refused.

Gagnon said Toews' claim he didn't know about the ruling until the garnishee notice was not acceptable because he had received a copy of the judgment and the letter from the collections agency. The fact the judgment was in French and Toews doesn't speak French is not an acceptable argument for not figuring out a letter marked "Decision" was important, Gagnon wrote.

As a lawyer, a judge and a former cabinet minister, "more than anyone, he is able to comprehend the respect and the attention that should be assigned to a document titled 'Decision,' " Gagnon wrote.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2015 A3

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