WESTBANK FIRST NATION - The legal quagmire is deepening around the Westbank First Nation's failed private hospital with the former partners behind the project now suing the band for breaking the lease they held on the site.
It follows a $1.4 claim for compensation filed against the band by an architect and it helps reveal the complicated machinations behind the project that at one point was promised to be Canada’s first private hospital.
Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre Limited Partnership and Toltech Healthcare Medical Services Corp. filed a civil claim Jan. 22 against Westbank First Nation and 1046356 B.C. Ltd. for unspecified damages.
1046356 B.C. Ltd is a numbered company incorporated in August, 2015 and held privately, listing Brian Conner as director. Conner is director of finance for the Westbank First Nation administration.
Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre is a limited partnership, originally composed of three companies — Pro Re Nata Healthcare, controlled by Lyle Oberg and Mark McLoughin and Coyote Health Ventures, a company owned by Westbank First Nation.
A third company, Ad Vitam Healthcare Ltd., also controlled by Oberg and McLoughlin, served as a partner under a service contract.
At some point in 2013, Ad Vitam Healthcare was replaced with Toltech Healthcare Medical Services Corp. again controlled by Oberg and McLoughlin, two Alberta men whose task was to raise $150 million venture capital funding for the project.
Westbank First Nation director of communications said the band would respond to a request for an interview Wednesday morning, Feb. 3.
In the 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.
The plaintiff is seeking the 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 the claim and the statement of facts have not been proven in court.
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