Okanagan property dispute lands B.C. man on receiving end of judge's ire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan property dispute lands B.C. man on receiving end of judge's ire

January 03, 2021 - 8:00 AM

A B.C. man who boasted he's been involved in more than 50 court cases took his latest legal challenge too far annoying the judge enough to say he would have to pay for his "warrantless allegations of fraud and dishonesty."

In a Kelowna courtroom Dec. 18, Justice Gary Weatherill said Tyrone Harold Daum's legal action was "misguided" and his use of the court was a "vexatious abuse of process" which "should attract special costs."

Special costs are usually only awarded when the losing party has behaved badly or made serious unproven allegations.

In this case, Daum attempted to sue the buyers, several realtors, a notary and the Real Estate Council of British Columbia over the sale of a property he did not own.

Daum accused one-time friend and business partner Ivano DeCotiis, along with realtors Glenna Borsuk, Sandra Lopez-Savard and the West Kelowna Notary Group, of fraudulently selling a 27-acre property near Beaverdell. He also added the Real Estate Council of B.C. to the suit arguing they failed to protect him from the alleged fraud.

According to a recently published B.C. Supreme Court decision, Daum appeared in court via Skype representing himself as he now lives in the Philippines.

The case centres around a 26.5-acre property outside Beaverdell that was sold by DeCotiis in 2016.

Daum and DeCotiis had once been friends and were both minority shareholders of a company called Petromin Resources. For reasons not given they jointly sued Petromin Resources several times, but lost each time leaving them with significant costs being awarded against them.

In this case, Daum claims the Beaverdell property was his and DeCotiis was holding the property in trust for him and he had no authority to sell it.

Daum took his former friend to court over the sale in 2017.

Justice Weatherill describes the 2017 case as a "hard-fought battle" but one that ultimately came to a settlement in 2018 and the two agreed not to sue each other anymore.

However, Daum argued the prior litigation had nothing to do with the realtors and notaries or the Real Estate Council and he was entitled to sue them.

Daum claimed the defendants were attempting to “sandbag” him, were “playing games” and were engaged in a "brainwashing program."

However, the justice did not agree.

"(Daum) is attempting to abuse the Court’s process by suing the realtors, notaries, purchasers, and (the Real Estate Council) on an issue between himself and Mr. DeCotiis that has been settled and in circumstances where he agreed he would not do so," Justice Weatherill said in the decision.

Daum is no stranger to the courts and in a personal blog boasts that he's been involved in more than 50 court cases in B.C. alone.

According to an article in the Kelowna Capital News, Daum was involved in a lengthy court battle a decade ago over the ownership of the historic Beaverdell Hotel. The article says Daum owned the hotel shortly before it was destroyed by fire in 2011. The article also points out that Daum's house in Beaverdell had reportedly burned down a month earlier.

Justice Weatherill described Daum's recent conduct as "reprehensible" and decided he was on the hook for special costs.

"Unproven allegations of dishonesty or fraud which go to the core of a professional’s identity and reputation also amounts to reprehensible conduct," Justice Weatherill said. "(This) is a vexatious abuse of process and was made in circumstances that should attract special costs. The plaintiff makes serious and, I conclude, warrantless allegations of fraud and dishonesty that are deserving of rebuke."

How much the various parties are due will be decided at a later date.

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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