A B.C. Supreme Court ruling suggests that in the case of a Quesnel family, blood isn't always thicker than water.
After what can only be described as a monumental family feud, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Marion Allan ruled that Gurdial Singh Sangha was "oppressed as a shareholder and director of both Reliance and Alberta Co." by his father, Kharak Singh Sangha, brothers Dalbir Singh Sangha and Kewal Singh Sangha, and brother-in-law Baldev Johal.
"Their conduct has included holding shareholders’ and directors’ meetings with no notice to him or inadequate notice, failing to pay management bonuses to him, wrongfully forging his name on management bonus cheques and appropriating the proceeds, and wrongfully taking money from Reliance and Alberta Co. and various bank accounts to purchase the Yakima Hotel," Allan wrote.
She ruled that Gurdial Singh Sangha owns 25 percent of Reliance. Its holdings include the Best Western Tower Inn and an apartment building in Quesnel. In addition, Allan awarded Sangha 43 percent of Alberta Co., which owns an apartment building in Edmonton.
Her decision included the following shocking statements:
• "The Sanghas also held numerous bank accounts and residential properties in their various names and the names of other relatives. They devised a number of schemes in order to defeat the claims of Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) and Dal’s [Dalbir Singh Sangha's] ex-wives."
• "Since 2005, when this litigation commenced, Gordy [Gurdial Singh Sangha] and the Sangha Defendants have expended an estimated $3 million in their bitter and acrimonious feud involving entitlement to property and money."
• "Throughout this lengthy trial, I did not find any of the parties to be honest witnesses. I assume that their complete disregard for the truth was based on greed and virulent animosity."
• "The most egregious conduct consisted of the Sangha Defendants misappropriating at least $1,345,000 of company money to secretly purchase a hotel in Yakima, Washington in 2005. They improperly removed money from the shareholders’ loan accounts; they diverted management bonuses in 2003 and 2004; they purported to pay bonuses to Gordy [Gurdial Singh Sangha] and his son Arjun but forged Gordy and Arjun’s signatures on the cheques and appropriated those funds. Ironically, in an attempt to avoid the attention of the CRA, Gordy declared the income from those bonuses on his income tax return."
• "Until the last days of trial, the Sangha Defendants falsely maintained that they had borrowed almost $2 million from a few relatives, including Baldev and their uncle Sarwan Nagra, and friends, to purchase the hotel in Yakima. As a result of orders made during the trial, Baldev and Dal admitted that the funds came from corporate funds and bank accounts."
Allan's final sentence in the decision is certain to attract the attention of the taxman: "I direct the Supreme Court Registry to deliver a copy of these Reasons to the Canada Revenue Agency."
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