Elliot Lake mall owners' finances unclear: commissioner
Owners of mall with collapsed roof won't get financial assistance to participate in inquiry
The commissioner overseeing the Elliot Lake public inquiry has detailed the reasons why he's not giving the owners of the Algo Centre Mall any money.
Robert and Levon Nazarian asked the commission for funding to participate in the upcoming public inquiry that will investigate what caused the roof of the town’s mall to collapse last June, killing two people.
What Justice Paul Belanger asked for:
- A clear picture of the mall owners' current net worth, their global holdings and property interests
What he did (or did not) receive:
- No records of Robert or Levon Nazarian's current income
- No information about their revenues, expenses, assets or liabilities, and
- "Several entries (submitted) record the transfer of various large sums into Robert Nazarian's bank account without any explanation about their source."
Source: Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry
The mall owners claim they have no money to cover the cost of lawyers, accommodation and expert witnesses, however Justice Paul Belanger said the information he received to back up this claim was incomplete and questionable.
According to Belanger’s ruling, several documents weren't in their original form, the financial statements were outdated, and the affidavits shed no light on the financial situation of the owners.
Belanger says some of the information he received raised more questions than answers and said the submission for public money was of nebulous quality. He also noted the transfer of various large sums of money into Robert Nazarian's bank account without any explanation about where they came from.
There's evidence that Robert Nazarian is president and director of two other corporations, but Belanger says he's unclear if they're connected to the Algo Centre Mall.
When Robert and Levon Nazarian made their submission for funding earlier this month, they said it's "very clear they do not have sufficient finances to fund this inquiry."
In his ruling, Belanger says based on the materials submitted, he can't agree.