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Westbank First Nation counter-sues former private hospital partners

An artist's rendering of the Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre.
Image Credit: Contributed
March 01, 2016 - 8:00 PM

WESTBANK FIRST NATION - The numbers just keep getting bigger in the lawsuit between the Westbank First Nation and its former partner Ad Vitam Health Care over a failed private hospital project on band land.

In a counter claim filed Feb. 16, band is now seeking just over $24 million from the two men who signed on as partners to develop the project, including $8.2 million it had to spend to buy back the land it pledged for the project.

In the suit, which also names Ad Vitam partners Lyle Oberg and Mark McLoughlin, the band also wants $900,000 in unpaid property taxes accrued against the land overlooking Okanagan Lake where the hospital was supposed to be located.

Citing a violation of their personal guarantees, the band is also seeking $7.5 million each from Oberg and McLoughlin, plus court and other costs.

The counterclaim goes against a lawsuit filed against Westbank First Nation in January by Oberg and McLoughlin, seeking reinstatement of their partnership agreement.

In the initial claim’s statement of facts, the plaintiffs allege Westbank First Nation wrongly terminated the 99-year-lease on the 15-acre hospital site it had pledged to the partnership as its share of the project. The plaintiff says the band was paid in advance for the lease with $2.5 million cash and $20 million worth of partnership units.

The partners also allege the band interfered in their efforts to revive the project by contacting potential investors and lenders and warning them off.

They want reinstatement of the land lease, damages for the wrongful termination of the lease and and a declaration it is not obligated to repay the $8 million debt accrued to the project’s startup.

Band members voted in August to buy back the hospital site from the Canadian Western Bank by paying off the $8.05 million owed against it.

No judgement has been reached in either claim and the statement of facts have not been proven in court.

For more Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre stories, click here.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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