City Sells 245 Catharine Street North, But Due to Technicality, Force to Disqualify Highest Bid

By Joey Coleman // @JoeyColeman
Published: Dec 13 2016 (6 months ago) // Last Updated: Dec 13 2016 (6 months ago)

The City of Hamilton has sold the infamous contaminated property at 245 Catharine Street North, just south of Barton Street.

A brief history of the site from Matt Jelly:

In January 1999, the electroplating company Joyce & Smith Electo-Plating Ltd., filed for bankruptcy upon the death of it's owner. They had been operating at 245 Catherine Street North for 40 years.

Upon the death of the property's owner, the property then went into receivership. The Bank Of Montreal took ownership of the property between March 24th, 1999 until November 12, 2002, when the property was transferred to the City of Hamilton in exchange for $148,000 back taxes owing on the site.

...

In 2006, a numbered company, 558154 B.C. limited, bought the Catherine Street site from the City of Hamilton. That numbered company transferred ownership to the current owner, Dave Maden a.k.a. Dave Madden/Baldev Madan for $2. Maden is the President and sole director of the numbered company. Upon transfer, Maden then immediately took out a mortgage for $105,537, and approximately six months later took out a loan from a lender who put a $26,147 lien on the property. The same numbered company bought 249 Hess Street North from the City of Hamilton in October 2005 for $22,245.

After years of neglect and property standards violations, the City seized the property for back taxes from Maden and tried to sell it in 2013. There were no takers.

The City relisted the property earlier this year, with a minimum bid of $290,000.

Two Bids, One Disqualified for Using Credit Union

Larry Friday, the City's Director of Taxation, says there were two bids for the property, but one was disqualified for using a certified cheque written on a Credit Union Account:

"The Property sold for $300,000. We did have a bid for $440,000 but had to reject it as the certified cheque was written on a Credit union Account. The regulations state accompanied by a deposit of at least 20 per cent of the tender amount, which deposit shall be made by way of money order or by way of bank draft or cheque certified by a bank or trust corporation."

"The courts have been very strict on these interpretations rejecting highest bids that are 10th's of a cent short of the 20% deposit as not meeting the 20%. We have inquired with our association to get clarity from the Province whether a Credit Union Certified cheque can be included in the regulation."

Larry Friday, Director of Taxation, City of Hamilton

Ontario's Municipal Tax Sales Rules (Ontario Regulation 181/03) says bidders must submit their bid "accompanied by a deposit of at least 20 per cent of the tender amount, which deposit shall be made by way of money order or by way of bank draft or cheque certified by a bank or trust corporation"

With many Hamilton businesses using credit unions, FirstOntario and Meridian are both heavily engaged in commercial banking, this outdated regulation will increasingly become more of a nuisance, and considering it cost the City of Hamilton $140,000 in this one instance, a continuing cost to taxpayers.


Postscript: Following Friday's statement, I went to CanLII to look up the case law.

In 2004, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled in Carrocci v McDougall (Township), 2004 CanLII 15530 (ON SC) that O.Reg 181/03 must be interpreted strictly. In this case, the highest bid was $22,100.99. The bidder submitted a certified cheque for $4,420.19, one cent short of the required 20% deposit of $4,420.20. The court disqualified the bid on the one cent difference.

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