A 70-year-old Russian Jewish immigrant with medical problems might have to move into a Downtown Eastside rooming house after a judge upheld her eviction. On May 31, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kathryn E. Neilsen dismissed arguments from lawyer Adam Brosgall that Marina Kogan's eviction from her home of the past 15 years was patently unreasonable, procedurally unfair, and violated the principles of natural justice.
Last week, the Straight reported that the B'nai B'rith Lions Gate Building Society had evicted Kogan from her suite in the B'nai B'rith Manor at 1260 Howe Street. Residential Tenancy Branch arbitrator Hugh McCall issued the order last April after accepting claims from the building administrator, Zmirah Rosenthal, and the society's chair, David Herman, that Kogan had engaged in "threatening behaviour" during an annual visit to her suite.
Kogan told the Straight last week that she raised objections to mice in her suite and claimed that Herman was the one who shouted. After Kogan's doctor reported that she has diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and osteoarthritis, a different arbitrator allowed Kogan to remain in her suite until May 31. Neilsen ruled that Kogan could stay an extra two weeks.
In a judicial-review hearing on May 30, Brosgall claimed that Kogan was losing her home of 15 years because she was outspoken. "She treasures the rights and freedoms she has in Canada," Brosgall said. "To a large extent, this is why she is being evicted."
Lawyer Ori Kowarsky, who represented the society, told Neilsen that the Lucky Lodge was willing to take Kogan as a tenant. Kowarsky added that BC Housing would expedite her move to a new project if Kogan wasn't happy, and the society would contribute $300 to her moving expenses.
Kowarsky described the Lucky Lodge, a Downtown Eastside rooming house near the corner of Powell and Main streets, as "perfectly suitable". He emphasized that it would cost Kogan $10 less per month than her subsidized suite at the B'nai B'rith Manor. "We are not talking about throwing Ms. Kogan on the street," Kowarsky said.
Kogan told the Straight that after visiting the Lucky Lodge, she is now afraid to move into the building. She described the rooms as "tiny" and claimed that the neighbourhood is too dangerous for her.