Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki filed a civil lawsuit against members of his own family in Kelowna Supreme Court on Aug. 26, seeking damages and allegedly unpaid rental proceeds for the last eight years.
The lawsuit names his brother Nicholas, nephews George and Florio and the Cellar Wine Bar Ltd. as defendants over the Greer Block of 412 and 414 Main Street in Penticton.
The notice of civil claim filed in court alleges that Nicholas, George and Florio breached their agreements regarding the property by not paying a fair market rate for rent, and for the restaurant not paying its proportionate share of the utilities for the property.
John owns a 50 per cent interest in the property, while his nephews each have 25 per cent stakes after their father transferred his shares to them in 2019. The main floor of the property is leased out for the Cellar restaurant, which Nicholas owns and operates, and upstairs are five separate rental units.
According to the claim, the Cellar had been paying $3,000 a month in rent before Jan. 1, plus GST, and that Nicholas and John had agreed to increase it to fair market value. Starting on Jan. 1, it was raised by $500 a month. However, the claim alleges that fair value would instead have increased it by $750 a month instead.
Further, when the property was originally purchased in 2013, it was agreed that a bank account would be opened up for the rental proceeds, which were to be distributed to John on request or in a timely manner. Since 2013, he has received only $23,980, when the claim states that Greer Block makes around $90,000 in rental proceeds every year.
The notice of claim also alleges that Florio and George have been exerting influence over their father and have “essentially usurped control” over the operations of the restaurant and the bank account, preventing or hindering their father from managing the account and acting to ensure John has not received his share of rental proceeds.
“I would love to comment on this issue, but my lawyer advises to wait for the hearing and our response to the civil claim,” Florio Vassilakakis told Black Press when reached for comment.
No response to the claim has yet been filed in court, and none of the claims have been proven in court.
To report a typo, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.