Lantzville politicians deny claims made against them in lawsuit

Lantzville politicians deny claims made against them in lawsuit

Civil lawsuit involves an accounting business sold by Colin and Denise Haime

Lantzville’s mayor and his wife deny “each and every single” claim made against them in a recent civil lawsuit.

Colin Haime along with his wife Denise, who is a sitting Lantzville councillor, are the subject of a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia that claims they misrepresented their accounting practice’s finances when they sold it, then proceeded to poach clients from the new owner following the transaction.

The Haimes sold their accounting business, known as Barber and Haime Inc., to B. Rushton Inc., a company owned by Nanaimo-based accountant, Brent Rushton, for $727,000, according to according to a notice of civil claim filed last month in the Supreme Court of B.C.

Under the terms of the purchasing agreement, the Haimes entered into a six-year non-competition and non-solicitation agreement prohibiting them from effectively engaging in any accounting-related business within a 55-kilometre radius of their old practice on Lantzville Road, according to the civil claim court documents, which also state that they were required to help with the transition of clients to the new owners.

However, the Haimes dispute the all facts and accusations levelled against them by B. Rushton Inc., according to a response to civil claim.

RELATED: Lawsuit claims Lantzville mayor violated competition agreement after selling accounting practice

According to their response, the Haimes complied with their obligations under the agreement and did all they could to ensure the transfer of existing clients to the new owners was easy. They explain that they provided 400 hours of management and consulting assistance between August 2017 and March 2018 as well as marketing advice to help Rushton Inc. maintain and attract new clients.

The Lantzville politicians allege that Rushton Inc., was “uninterested” or “incapable” of taking the appropriate action required to “ensure a smooth and efficient transfer of existing clients” and that they have gone “above and beyond” to ensure the transfer was successful, according to their response.

Their response also contains a number of accusations, claiming Rushton Inc. merged the practice with KMA Chartered Professional Accountants, failed to tell clients, failed to meet deadlines and “unreasonably” delayed in preparing or filing client documents.

The Haimes deny breaching the non-competition and non-solicitation agreements by practising business as Connect Live CPAs from their Ladysmith address, according to their response, which states that Connect Live is not a public accounting service and is “outside of the scope” of the non-compete agreement. They also claim that they were totally unaware of any money being inadvertently forwarded to them, that they were approached by “several” unhappy clients of Rushton Inc., and that Rushton demanded they stay away from 7190 Lantzville Rd., according to their response.

The Lantzville politicians oppose any relief being sought from Rushton Inc., which includes a declaration that they are liable.

In a response to the Haimes’s court filings, Rushton’s lawyers filed two separate counter claims, one on Rushton’s behalf and another on Rushton Inc.’s behalf.

Those counter claims deny the Haimes’s numerous claims, including that Rushton did not fail to meet deadlines and “unreasonably” delay filing client documents. It also states that Rushton demanded the Haimes stay away from 7190 Lantzville Rd., because it was “obvious” they were in breach of the agreement.

Rushton told the News Bulletin he couldn’t comment on specifics regarding the case, but is looking forward to his day in court. The Haimes could not be reached for comment.

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