Hells Angels surprised by eviction and say clubhouse rent is paid

Hells Angels evicted from Hamilton clubhouse Thursday deny claims they haven't paid rent and say they're caught in the middle of a civil dispute over the property

The group says they're caught in the middle of a civil dispute over the property

The Hamilton chapter of the Hells Angels clubhouse on Beach Road is located in the former Gage Tavern (CBC)

A day after being kicked out of their fortified Hamilton clubhouse, the Hells Angels deny they have been negligent in paying rent.

A local lawyer representing the Hamilton chapter says the issue is one between the building owner — the clubhouse's landlord — and the person who holds the mortgage on the property and not at all about the club..

It came as quite a surprise...they specifically deny being in any arrears of rent.- Jaime Stephenson, Hells Angels  lawyer

"It's really a situation where they're caught in the middle but again it's not a police issue, it's certainly not a criminal issue," said Jaime Stephenson, a Hamilton lawyer speaking on behalf of the group.

"They dispute the eviction as well as the basis for the eviction and they specifically deny that they failed to pay their rent."

What happened?

Just before 9:00 a.m. Thursday, neighbours witnessed a number of vehicles arrive at the motorcycle gang's clubhouse at Gage Avenue North and Beach Road. Officers from the OPP biker enforcement unit along with local police were there and appeared to drill open a lock at the clubhouse.

They assisted a bailiff who was there to serve an eviction notice.

"There was nothing special about it other than police attended but they attended for their own reasons..there was no issue in terms of any aggression or difficulty or standoff or anything like that," said Stephenson.

Hamilton Police were on scene at the Hells Angels clubhouse on Gage Avenue North Thursday morning, helping the bailiff's office with an eviction. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

One person was inside the clubhouse at the time. His name is not being released. "That was a friend visiting Canada and there was nothing more to it than that," Stephenson explained.

The person has since returned to Germany.

"It came as quite a surprise," she said of the eviction notice. 

"Their position is they specifically deny being in any arrears of rent...it's really a landlord and mortgagor issue in terms of monies owed, not an issue with them, the group that's renting it, as far as monies are owed."

The clubhouse was home to about a dozen Hells Angels members, said Det. Staff Sgt. Len Isner, head of the OPP biker enforcement unit. It was also shared with a handful of Red Devils biker gang members.

The clubhouse was active, Isner said, and an important part of the Hamilton chapter's identity. 

What now?

For now, the clubhouse  will remain closed and the gang members unable to access it until the issue is brought to court early next week and resolved.

"It is essentially a lock down right now...nobody can go in, nobody can get out, everything that's there stays there and once the proceedings are dealt with in court that will determine how things will proceed there after."

The property is owned by Greg Tilley, who according to 2009 media reports was the one-time owner of the Gage Tavern, which used to be located at 105 Beach Rd. 

The owner owes the city three years worth of back taxes, said Larry Friday, the city's director of taxation. That's the equivalent of $69,452.37. The holder of the mortgage is a numbered company with a Stoney Creek address. 

The Hells Angels will attend civil court on Tuesday with a lawyer present.