Taxi fleet mogul ordered to hand over properties
A Superior Court judge has ordered one of the city’s largest independent taxi fleet owners to hand over three of his properties to Hamilton Cab to cover the more than $470,000 he owes the company.
Hamilton Cab launched the lawsuit against Jaspal Gill and sought a summary judgment to cover the $470,487.62 in debt he had accumulated since 2011.
The company, which had worked with Gill for 20 years and dispatched for most of his 70 taxis, said the debts partly stemmed from lease payments, insurance and other fees.
There was, in fact, “outstanding debt,” wrote Justice Robert Reid in his summary judgment dated May 1, noting an agreement to pay had been secured through a mortgage for Gill’s properties. Hamilton Cab, the mortgagee, could collect if Gill defaulted.
Reid ruled Gill must hand over the properties — two on Gibson Avenue and one on Earl Street — to cover the money owed, plus prejudgment interest at 5 per cent from November 2014.
In January 2013, Gill transferred a taxi plate worth $225,000 to Hamilton Cab as credit against money owed, the judge noted. “There was no denial that a corresponding debt in favour of Hamilton Cab existed at that time.”
In November 2014, Hamilton Cab demanded Gill pay $470,487.62, but he denied having received notices sent by registered mail, the decision reads.
Gill also said he did not sign the mortgage, but it was apparently authorized by Gill and registered in March 2015, according to the judgment. Moreover, Gill argued the mortgage wasn’t valid because funds were not advanced and Hamilton Cab was not compliant with the provisions of the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act.
He also said the payment agreement was a “sham” to trick Hamilton Cab’s bankers into thinking they had more money than it did. In fact, Gill said only he signed the agreement to be “co-operative” with the company, not realizing its legal implication.
In his ruling, Reid wrote that Gill’s “story” was “not credible.”
He pointed out in the judgment that Gill — who was banned by a licensing tribunal in 2015 from working in the taxi industry for three years over safety concerns — signed the authorization and direction letter and gave it to lawyer John Dean, from whom he’d sought legal advice.
Reid also called Gill an “accomplished businessperson” who’s “knowledgeable about financial and commercial matters.”
Hamilton Cab required Gill to get independent legal advice about the situation and referred him to Dean.
Gill subsequently filed a counterclaim, which included Dean, alleging “professional negligence” and denied the “propriety” of the advice.
Reid dismissed the counterclaim against Dean, noting he is a lawyer with 43 years of experience whose practice is 70 per cent made up of real estate cases.
Dean declined to comment for this story, noting “the judgment speaks for itself.”
Hamilton Cab’s lawyer, Mark Abradjian, said in an email his client “is pleased with the decision so far and will continue to take reasonable enforcement measures available to it in order to recover on the funds it advanced.”
Gill declined to comment.