Embee Diamonds loses another appeal over property eviction

By Charlene Tebbutt
June 7, 2018 - 5:08pm

A local city councillor whose company was evicted last year from a downtown office space has lost another court battle over the matter.

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, the province’s highest court, ruled this week in favour of the City of Prince Albert in the case involving Ward 3 City Councillor Evert Botha and his company, Embee Diamond Technologies Inc. The Court of Appeal upheld an earlier Queen’s Bench decision that found the City of Prince Albert was justified in seizing the title to the property over unpaid taxes.

The appeal court also ruled that Botha and Embee should pay the $5,000 in costs to the city for the earlier matter, plus legal costs relating to the higher appeal court decision.

The case involves Embee’s downtown business location at 1203 Central Ave., where it operated a diamond cutting and polishing facility. The City of Prince Albert took over the title to the property last year under the Tax Title Enforcement Act. A report by city administration last year found that MFN & MB Holdings Inc., the parent company of Embee Diamond Technologies, owed more than $175,000 in unpaid taxes.

Embee claimed that it was a tenant of the Central Avenue building and argued the city did not follow the Landlord and Tenant Act when it moved to evict the business and seize the title. 

Botha was not prepared to comment Thursday on the decision. In an email Thursday afternoon, Mike Botha, the company’s CEO, said they had not received any information about the matter from their legal counsel and would not comment until they have had time to review it.

Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne said Thursday that he is pleased to see the case conclude, adding that city staff and administration worked hard and did a commendable job on the file.

“All our actions were correct, and endorsed by the Court of Appeal,” Dionne told paNOW. “I’m so proud of my staff and our legal counsel for guiding us through this tough situation the right and legal way and I’m pleased that now we can move forward.”

Embee Diamonds has also been involved in a protracted legal battle with a Belgian diamond supplier over money owed. 

 

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On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt

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