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THREE Boards & chaos at Ottawa CO-OP; JUDGE orders disgorgement of records & computers 2023/07/29 19:21  
Not legal advice.

Imagine an alternative universe in which some sorta White Knight could intervene in condo or Building Scheme governance. ( instead of civil justice system or tribunal ) This ain't it.

An inner city OTTAWA, 76 unit non-condo, residential co-operative community had been - according to a front page Ottawa Citizen article - " . . . a model of affordable, community-based housing".

But in November 2022 it wound up with two rival Boards of Directors disputing each other's legality. And rival property managers and rival lawyers.

And paralysis because neither side would compromise nor seek a judicial resolution. Income supplemented housing can be catastrophically compromised in such a scenario, as can be readily grasped by anyone who has ever managed such communities.

At this co-op, given the amount of ongoing income supplement funding and past capital contributions from Ottawa taxpayers, one would have thought that as overseer "Housing Manager" the City of Ottawa could have lots of "gravitas".

That the rival Boards would be amenable to various compromises to avoid operational collapse. Lots of taxpayer bucks at stake. For the disputants to make their own compromise rather than "triggering" an intervention by the taxpayers . . .

The City appointed an interim Board to try to avert disaster and set up remedial resolution with residents.

Instead the remnants of one Board - the pre-November 2022 one - disputed being unseated.

A real biggy : Those remnant Directors - attempting to cling to power on alleged procedural grounds - also refused to surrender to a successor Board nor the City's interim remedial Board, the financial records and computers.

Police were called amidst reported physical confrontations.

In April 2023 the City was forced - "triggered" - to apply to Ontario Superior Court for an Order validating its remedy and ordering four "clinger" Directors to disgorge the computers and records !

Regional Senior ( Superior Court ) Justice Calum MacLeod was thus faced in Superior Court with three competing Boards !

He underlined that the unseating ( membership vote procedurals ) dispute between the first two rivals was NOT being adjudicated.

1 - He ordered that the City's remedies were declared to be valid and supportable in the serious circumstances.

That's despite "short-notice" to "remedy or else".

2 - Also that the "clinger" Directors MUST disgorge the co-op's financial records and computers to the City's remedial Board.

But at least one of the "clingers" is appealing that Order ! One wonders if the "clingers" have grasped that if their Board was validly unseated in November 2022, then they may have to pick up their own legal bills . . . .

How easy is it then where - as to the integrity of income-supplemented housing - there really is a policing power unlike the universe of condos ?

Ottawa (City) v Fobert et al ( 2023 ) ONSC 3811 issued June 26/23

top FRONT PAGE print edition Citizen July 27/23 “Three Boards of Directors fought for control of Ottawa Housing Co-op” by Andrew Duffy

Housing Services Act, 2011, SO 2011

Notice, opportunity to rectify and make submission
90 (1) Notice, opportunity to rectify and make submission

Content of notice of triggering event

(2) The notice referred to in clause (1) (a) must,

. . . . (c) specify the period within which the housing provider must comply with the notice, which may not be less than 60 days from the date the notice is given ; . . .
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UNSEATING-CHALLENGING co-operative Directors face COSTS & BITTER AFTERMATH ( Ottawa ) 2023/11/11 11:36  
Not legal advice as usual

The four remnants of a (then -) incumbent co-operative Board of Directors have now found themselves facing at least $ 55,000 in legal bills, lotsa bitterness from angry critics and threats after the events described above.

This procedural dispute has cost to co-op owners & the ( social housing manager ) City some bucks. Someone will have to pay and / or be blamed.

Without directly addressing the ( disputed ) legal issues about a co-op Board unseating dispute 12 months ago, an Ottawa civil judge had earlier ordered the four remnants of that co-op Board - shown in their personal capacity - to surrender to the applicant City of Ottawa the co-operative's computers & records.

Without those items the co-op's administration had ground to a halt ! ( It is somewhat surprising that this outcome could have been the subject of professional legal advice to them. But whatever . . . )

The judge more importantly also granted a City of Ottawa application ( as social housing manager ) against them to install its interim appointees as a new Board.

Now new co-op Board elections are imminent to install what some may argue will be the fourth Board within a 12 month period.

A media update recounts the anguish of the remnant Board as they apparently are faced with at least $ 55,000 in legal costs, lotsa personal antagonism and even threats still requiring ongoing police involvement.

It also updates that the "decision is not being appealed".

Their rationales or self-justifications do not refer to any legal advice sought nor received for beginning to withhold the tools of administration.

AND apparently without their "unseating" beefs having been directly addressed in the June 26/23 decision, they now find themselves in a dark place. It's as many as two intervening Boards away from where they had been 13 months earlier . . . .

And the membership & current Board are reported to have rejected the four "remnants" pleas to exemption or underwriting or whatever ( from the $55 K or more in legal costs ) on grounds of honest good faith etc . . .

( postscript : against some then - current condo Directors, corporate veil pierced but for different reasons 2013-14 /contempt of judicial. See cafcor “BOILY v Carleton CC145: SHOCKER as Directors are now held personally in contempt of court !” )

NOV 3/23 Ottawa Citizen “ Hard feelings, bitterness remain at Sandy Hill co-op leading up to board elections Subtitle :Resident describes mood as ‘awful’ after months of chaos in the building ” by Andrew Duffy leading-up-to-board-elections
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