Penticton News

Penticton mayor sues family over property dispute

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Penticton

Penticton’s mayor is suing some of his relatives alleging they owe him rent money collected from their family-owned property and have failed to pay their fare share of water and sewage utilities.

Mayor John Vassilaki filed the lawsuit Aug. 26 against his brother Nicholas Vassilakakis, who owns the Cellar Restaurant and his two nephews George Vassilakakis and Florio Vassilakakis.

The property located at 412 and 414 Main Street, in Penticton called the Greer Block is owned by John, Florio and George. The main level of the property is leased by the Cellar Restaurant and the second level has five suites that are leased to residential tenants, according to the court documents.

The lawsuit claims Florio and George have “essentially usurped control” over their father Nicholas and have hindered him from managing the Greer Block account and have “acted to ensure that John is kept out of the operations or any knowledge of the financial status of Greer Block,” according to the suit.

John has 50% ownership of the Greer Block, while his nephews have 25% each after ownership was transferred from their father Nicholas in 2019.

In 2013, John and Nicholas agreed Nicholas would open a bank account for the sole purpose of depositing rental monies from the Greer Block tenants, and paying expenses associated with the ownership, operation and maintenance of Greer Block as a rental investment property, according to court documents.

The following year, John and Nicholas also entered an trust agreement where the Cellar Restaurant would pay fair market monthly rent and its share of sewage and water utilities to both men.

However, John alleges the restaurant has failed to pay its rent at a fair market value. In January 2021, the restaurant increased its rent by $500 a month, but John alleges the increase should be $750 monthly. Prior to 2021, the restaurant has been paying $3,000 a month plus GST, according to court documents.

“Furthermore, the Cellar Restaurant has failed to pay its proportionate share of the sewage and water utilities of Greer Block, and is therefore in breach of the lease agreement,” John alleges in the suit.

John also alleges his brother broke the trust agreement by failing to make prompt payments of the Greer Blocks mortgage and also failed to properly distribute the rental income collected at the property.

Between 2013 to 2020, rental income of $60,626 was attributed to John but he never received that money, despite paying income taxes on it, according to the lawsuit.

He also claims Greer Block makes roughly $90,000 in rental proceeds a year but he has only received $23,980 since 2013.

John is seeking general damages against Nicholas, Florio and George for “conspiracy” and for breaching trust and lease agreements and the Cellar Restaurant.

He also wants what he claims is the fair market rent currently unpaid, the unpaid share of sewage and water from the Greer Block owners and his share of the rental proceeds since 2013.

None of these allegations have been proven in court.

John declined a request for comment.

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