'Doomed to fail': Former Penticton mayor loses court case against family | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'Doomed to fail': Former Penticton mayor loses court case against family

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki poses for this undated photo submitted by the City.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / City of Penticton

The former mayor of Penticton has lost a legal challenge against his brother and nephews over the directorship of a family firm after a judge ruled his case was "doomed to fail."

According to a June 6 BC Supreme Court decision, John Vassilakakis' case against his brother Nicholas focused on shareholder voting rights but contained such little evidence the Justice said she didn't even know what the companies actually did.

BC Supreme Court Justice Briana Hardwick said while most court cases are "drowning in a sea of binders," Vassilakakis' evidence was so limited it left an "informational vacuum" where "fulsome consideration... is frankly impossible."

The former mayor, along with his son William, launched the case against John's brother Nicholas and his nephews George and Michael early this year, but he's been involved in a long-running legal dispute with members of his family over certain family businesses.

John served one term as mayor of Penticton before losing to Julius Bloomfield in the 2022 municipal election. He'd spent a dozen years on council before that.

In this case, John submitted to the court that he and his son had been left out as directors of JPN Holdings Ltd. and Vassilaki & Sons Investments, and his brother and his nephews Michael and George had been voted in.

As a minority shareholder, John and his son argued this breached the BC Business Corporations Act.

However, the Justice said the former mayor hadn't even provided basic information about the company or how it was structured.

"John’s Affidavit does not contain any information as to the historical directorship of the Corporations. How long had John, William, Nicholas, Michael and George all been directors? Had there been a time previously when neither George nor William were directors? These are questions upon which the Court has simply no evidence," the Justice said.

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The Justice said he'd failed to provide necessary information.

"It is virtually impossible to assess what a shareholder’s reasonable expectations are without even basic facts as to the operations of the Corporations," Justice Hardwick said.

The former mayor argued that his brother and nephews had threatened to remove money from the bank accounts of the two family companies.

"There are absolutely no particulars of these alleged threats provided or any supporting evidence," the justice ruled.

The former politician's brother, Nicholas, argued that the allegation was tantamount to accusing him of fraud and that the court should award special costs – money issued as a punishment – because of this.

And the Justice agreed.

"It ought to have been clear to the (former mayor) that the petition had no chance of success unless further evidence was tendered," the Justice said.

The Justice went on to say the case was "doomed to fail" and that should have been apparent to John and William.

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Ultimately, the Justice ruled John and William pay the other family members an undisclosed amount of special costs.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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