It may be a matter of weeks before Royal Canadian Legion Vincent Massey Branch 164 in Yellowknife is out of a home.

Doug McNiven, the attorney for Adonis Planning, which owns the building on Franklin Avenue where the Legion is located, filed an application in NWT Supreme Court on Monday to evict the Legion over unpaid rent dating back nearly three years. According to the application, the Legion allegedly owes Adonis $235,989.24 effective Nov. 4. The total represents unpaid rent and unpaid utilities, plus double the ongoing rent until the Legion vacates the premises.

The application alleges that Adonis terminated the lease with the Legion on Sept. 3 due to unpaid rent. Adonis claims the first demand for arrears on July 11 was not answered, and there was no compliance with a lease termination notice dated Aug. 26. Adonis is calling the Legion an “overholding tenant” that refuses to leave the premises.

The application will be heard in NWT Supreme Court on Nov. 18, where Adonis Planning is asking that the lease be declared terminated, that the Legion vacate the building immediately and that if the Legion does not leave by Dec. 1, an eviction notice be granted and enforced by the court.

Don Asher, owner of Adonis Planning and a former president of the Yellowknife Legion branch, filed an affidavit with the application. In it, he states that the Legion entered into a lease agreement with his company on Feb. 1, 2018. Asher said the lease applied to the main floor of the building.

Asher claims the Legion agreed to to pay $10,000 per month plus GST, plus 33.33 per cent per floor for its share of operating costs. Coyote’s Bistro operates the upper floor of the building, while the basement was not deemed rentable, according to Asher, and was considered “dark space.”

Asher claims that the Legion requested to lease the basement in early 2019 for storage and Adonis verbally agreed. According to the affidavit, Adonis would renovate the space with the Legion agreeing to pay an extra $5,000 per month, or 10 per cent of its monthly income, whichever was greater, to rent the cellar. The affidavit also claims that the Legion would pay its proportionate share of operating and management costs for the space, which equaled 33.33 per cent. Asher alleges that the Legion has not paid any rent for the basement since October 2019.

In May 2022, a fire inspection showed repairs that needed to be made to the building, including the basement. That’s where Asher accuses the Legion of sending a “threatening letter” to him. That’s when Asher claims his company decided to terminate the lease with the Legion. That letter, included in Asher’s affidavit, is dated June 1 and written by Ken Stewart, the branch’s treasurer. In it, Stewart requested that the lease be terminated with 30 days notice due to the building not meeting fire regulations and notification that if it didn’t occur, the Legion would go to the “rental board” and claim leasing fraud had been committed. The letter also seeks compensation from Adonis Planning in the amount of $247,949.96.

NNSL Media obtained an e-mail sent by Tammy Roberts, acting president of the Legion branch, to the membership. In it, she stated she would not provide any comment to the media until receiving guidance from the organization’s lawyer.

None of the above allegations has yet been proven in court.

James McCarthy

I've been hanging around the office as the sports editor for the better part of the last 16 years. In August 2022, NNSL Media decided to promote me to the managing editor's position, which I accepted after...

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