Town denies Hogeys lawsuit claims, holds Mayor Williams responsible

August 25, 2016   ·   0 Comments

At the start of Monday night’s meeting, Orangeville Council broke their silence over the Hogeys lawsuit, passing two consecutive motions: one to file a defence denying the allegations of Hogeys Sports Bar Limited, and another to file a third-party claim against Mayor Jeremy Williams, citing him as the party responsible if the case is not dismissed.

Before the regular meeting began, members of Council met in a closed session, where the agenda indicated a large portion of it would be spent discussing the litigation between the Town and the former sports bar.

Prior to Monday evening, members of Council could not provide any comment on the allegations made by Hogeys owner Gerry Hogenhout, due to all previous discussions being held in-camera, as well as the case now being before the courts.

The motion was passed without the presence of Mayor Williams, who left the council chambers moments before Council was called into session by Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock.

The chambers were incredibly quiet as the Deputy Mayor read the motion, then immediately called for a vote.

The motion states: “That counsel be directed to file a defence on behalf of the Town, denying the allegations of Hogey’s Sports Bar limited and denying that Hogey’s Sports Bar Limited incurred damages as alleged; And that a third party claim be advanced against Mayor Williams claiming over against him for any damages incurred by the Town based on unauthorized representations made to Mr. Hogenhout by Mayor Williams, such third party claim to be dismissed in the event that the claim of Hogeys Sports Bar Limited is dismissed; And that the Deputy Mayor be authorized to be the spokesperson for the Town on the matter.”

The motion passed unanimously amidst the five members of council who were present. Councillor Nick Garisto was not at the meeting, and Mayor Williams was not in the chambers for the vote.

Court documents for both defences were filed late Tuesday afternoon, with the defence citing 33 points under schedule A of the documents. Included in the documents, which the Citizen obtained from the Town, was the list of allegations by Hogeys that they were denying.

Included in the list were several items regarding the rent arrears, attempts at collection, and that there were no official lease renegotiations.

“The Town states that from time-to-time throughout January and February 2016, it demanded payment of the outstanding rent in the sum of $5,607.45 from Hogeys. Despite demands made by the Town for the payment of rent, no payment was made, as acknowledged by Hogeys in its claim.”

Later in the documents, the Town “denies that the head of Council, Jeremy Williams, made representations that the outstanding rent for 2015 need not be paid, and puts Hogeys to the strict proof thereof.”

While Hogeys was unable to provide documentation of the conversation in which he says Mayor Williams told Hogeys not to worry about paying the rent, as it could be worked into the renegotiated lease, in an email to Mr. Hogenhout on March 1, the Mayor did indicate that the Town was not to continue asking him for the arrears.

The email, which is included in Hogeys court documents, reads:

“I’ve just asked Ed [Brennan] to stop bugging you. Should have a clearer idea March 8th. Then likely can start renegotiating things.”

That email was in response to Mr. Hogenhout asking the Mayor if they could have some discussions about the lack of payment, as he did not “feel right continually pushing Ed off.”

Following the Town’s demands for proof, their documents add “in the event that the head of Council stated to Hogeys that the outstanding rent for 2015 need not be paid, Hogeys knew or ought to have known that such a statement was only part of exploratory talks made between the head of Council, Jeremy Williams and Gerry Hogenhout, and did not amount to a representation being made by the Town.”

The defence also indicates that throughout the process, Hogeys was aware that Council was the decision-making body, and any negotiations, including deferral of rental arrears, could only be made between Hogeys and Council, not an individual member of Council.

The document also indicated the Town denies claims Hogeys suffered any losses or damages, outside of the exit costs of the termination of the bar’s lease, which they say was within their legal right due to the arrears.

The final point on the document was the Town’s request for the Court to dismiss the claim by Hogeys, with costs awarded to the Town.

In the second set of documents, the Town outlined their third-party claim against the Mayor, which they have indicated they will abandon should the claims by Hogeys be dismissed in court.

The claim against the Mayor includes the following statements:

• Tthe Town further states that if representations were found to have been made by Jeremy Williams to Hogey’s, then such representations were not authorized by the Town and made outside of the scope of authority of Jeremy Williams as Mayor of the Town.

• The Town states that at no time whatsoever did it provide authority to Jeremy Williams as Mayor of the Town to enter into lease renegotiations with Hogey’s.

• The Town states that at no time whatsoever did it provide authority to Jeremy Williams as Mayor of the Town to represent to Hogey’s that rental arrears need not be paid to the Town.

• The Town states, in the event that Hogey’s is awarded damages in claim 167/16 as against the Town, then such damages are the sole responsibility of Jeremy Williams, the Mayor of the Town, and the Town claims over against Jeremy Williams as the Mayor of the Town for such damages, including costs which may be awarded against the Town in favour of Hogey’s.

At press time, the Citizen had not been able to pursue any further comment from the Mayor or Deputy Mayor Maycock on the subject matter of the defence and third-party claim.  Ongoing coverage of this matter is promised as information becomes available.

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