Taxi fleet mogul or­dered to hand over prop­er­ties

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - NATALIE PAD­DON npad­don@thes­ 905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec

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.

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