Mississauga developer must pay $22G

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

The Norfolk Inn in downtown Simcoe. (File Photo)

The Norfolk Inn in downtown Simcoe. (File Photo)


A Mississauga developer has till next week to pay a portion of Norfolk County’s legal costs related to the aborted sale last year of the Norfolk Inn in downtown Simcoe.

Earlier this year, Norfolk County spent $40,000 defending its decision to cancel the tax sale after Gurmit Singh paid the Inn’s outstanding tax bill in the amount of $338,800.

The county cancelled the sale after a party with an interest in the hotel paid the outstanding tax bill in full before the county transferred the deed.

Under Ontario law, municipalities have the power to terminate a tax sale at any time before a revised deed is filed at the land registry office. In its arguments before Justice Richard Lococo, Norfolk said it was in the county’s best interest to halt the process.

Singh – through his numbered company 2494044 Ontario Inc. – challenged Norfolk’s actions in court. Lococo sided with the county.

“The appellant (Singh) has not established any basis for interfering with the treasurer’s decision to cancel the tax sale,” Lococo said.

Norfolk County went into the civil suit with legal precedent on its side.

Courts in Ontario have determined that the tax sale process should be primarily concerned with securing the money owing to municipalities and not with arranging new ownership for delinquent properties.

As such, case law allows interested parties to redeem their property at any time prior to transferring the deed. Interested parties include deed holders and mortgage providers among others. This is the principle Singh challenged in court.

In his decision this summer, Lococo invited Norfolk to apply for costs. Norfolk asked for $25,000. Oct. 12, Lococo awarded $22,000.

“Funds have not been received,” Norfolk treasurer James Johnson says in a report to Norfolk council.

“However, the county’s external legal counsel is prepared to pursue the issue if payment is not made within the 30-day time frame imposed by the judge.”