BMO DEFRAUDS INVESTOR CLIENT’S ESTATE
the contents of this article are the opinions of the BMO DEFRAUDS INVESTOR CLIENT’S ESTATE author as victim and litigant.
BMO Nesbitt Burns conspired with one sibling to defraud a client’s estate and another sibling out of their inheritance. Their efforts included fabricating and concealing alleged evidence. It culminated in providing false testimony under oath, in my view, and caused extensive damage.
The case of Laski v. Laski revolved around allegations that Wendi Laski, the deceased’s daughter had used fraud and undue influence to change all his accounts from Harold alone, into joint accounts with survivorship to her, thereby defrauding the estate and leaving nothing for her brother Wayne. This was all done while Harold Laski was under palliative care in the last three months of his life. There was no credible evidence that he knew of the changes. The evidence was quite the opposite.
Harold Laski, at 88, was proud of the fact that he was completely self-sufficient. In mid-December 2011, he fell to his knees and could not get up. From that moment until he passed away on March 13, 2012 he was under 24-hour palliative care. That day he fell to his knees, his life as he knew it was over. He would live the next three months under 24-hour palliative care at the hospital and then later sent home to die. That day he fell to his knees, the bulk of his estate was in his name alone. Over those next three months, his daughter Wendi Laski arranged to have all those accounts made joint with right of survivorship to her. This was done under suspicious and unusual circumstances outside of the normal course of business.
Harold Laski left a will dividing the bulk of his estate 60% to his daughter Wendi, and 40% to his son Wayne. Another sibling had received his share by getting his parents house 20 years earlier. Harold had advised both Wayne and Wendi of his wishes and shown them a copy of the will.
At the time of his death, Harold had his investment accounts with BM0 Nesbitt Burns (also referred to as BMO which includes the employees and management of BMO Nesbitt Burns). The account representative was a man named Norman Yu. The week following Harold’s passing, Wayne phoned Norman Yu to discuss the accounts. Contrary to what he’d been expecting, he was advised by Norman that “all of the accounts were in Wendi’s name alone”.
Wayne was totally shocked. He advised Norman that he was an executor of the estate as well as a beneficiary. He asked Norman directly whether he had any information relating to how this happened. Did Harold say anything to him about this? Norman refused to answer. This was the beginning of an almost four-year fight with BMO Nesbitt Burns to get that information. They refused and stonewalled. They made it clear they would not provide any information and would vigourously oppose any attempt to get information from them or Norman Yu.
Wayne realized that something was clearly wrong and he could get no explanation, cooperation or information from his sister and BMO. He had no choice but to turn to the courts. Anyone who has ever been in fight over an estate can tell you what a nightmare the entire experience becomes. That is another story for another day. The focus here, is the shocking and illegal conduct of BMO Nesbitt Burns in helping one sibling steal from another.
Norman Yu is a central character. He committed most of the fraudulent acts in dealing with Harold Laski’s estate. I want to make it clear that I place most of the blame on BMO Nesbitt Burns. That includes any of the employees and management who were involved. They were clearly being, or should have been, aware of it. BMO immediately hired some very expensive lawyers to deal with the matter. The fact is that they circled the wagons and didn’t appear to ask the obvious questions about the suspicious circumstances outside of the normal course of business. They did that knowing that they were causing damage, but did not care. Ultimately it seems clear to me that they allowed Norman Yu to lie under oath and allow that evidence to go before a court.
The evidence of the involvement and conduct of BMO Nesbitt Burns, will in my view, show improper conduct by an employee which was arrogantly and aggressively backed up by management with more impropriety. All this time they were aware, or should have been aware, of what was being done in their name and the harm and damage it was causing.
The nightmare began, March 19, 2012, when Norman Yu told Wayne Laski that the accounts were all in the name of Wendi alone. That would prove to be not true at the time. They were still in the process of being stolen and were still in a joint account with Wendi and Harold Laski. The transfer from Harold Laski alone to Wendi and Harold was according to the evidence, not done before Harold had died but after. When Harold died, the money was in his name alone and should have been divided in accordance with his will.
There followed, an expensive legal battle to get any kind of record of disclosure and financial information from BMO and Wendi. All this time, Wayne was asking BMO, their lawyers and Wendi’s lawyers for any information or evidence they had with respect to Harold’s intentions or any explanation as to how the money ended up in Wendi’s name alone.
Despite constant efforts, both verbally and in writing, to find out what Norman or BMO had to say, they aggressively continued to stonewall for almost 4 years.
A mediation, required by the Court, had been scheduled for May 2013. In January 2013, Wayne’s lawyer at the time, arranged with counsel for BMO, to have a without prejudice meeting with Norman Yu. This over the objections of Wayne, who wanted this evidence under oath. BMO insisted that this was the only way they would produce Norman Yu without a vigourous fight. The stated purpose of this meeting was for the lawyers for Wendy and Wayne to hear from Norman Yu, for the first time. This turned out to be a false premise. At the end of the meeting, Mr. Donald Baker, Wendi’s lawyer, announced to Wayne and his lawyer, to their shock and surprise, that he had heard all this before. This had occurred at a secret meeting with BMO and Norman Yu in July 2012 where they made him “promise not to tell”.
In the January 2013, without prejudice, meeting, Norman Yu stated the following:
Up until the time Harold Laski went into the hospital, he had nothing but nice things to say about his son Wayne and was very proud of him. When he went to see Harold at the hospital he said he did not want Wayne to have any of his assets and wanted to leave everything to Wendi. As the litigation proceeded Wayne discovered other evidence about their dealings that had been obstructed or concealed by Wendi and BMO.
Given that the meeting was without prejudice, nothing said in the meeting could be used. Throughout the rest of the course of the litigation BMO and Wendi refused to even acknowledge the meeting, confirm or provide any information, or answer any questions about BMO’s dealings with Harold or Wendi. BMO refused to explain the significant delay in bringing this information forward. They continued to conceal this evidence for almost three more years until December 2015 when they arranged with Wendi’s lawyers to produce Norman Yu to be examined under oath. This was a little more than a month before the case went to court in January 2016.
In his December 2015 examination, Norman gave evidence that he had not said in the without prejudice meeting three years before.
Wendi had contacted Norman Yu while Harold was in the hospital following which Norman came to see Harold in the hospital. Harold had not called Norman Yu. On January 10, 2012, immediately after Harold was released from the hospital and sent home under 24-hour palliative care to die, Norman came to visit Harold. Again, Harold had not called Norman. It was Wendi who continued to call Norman. He brought with him the papers he had prepared to direct the transfer of Harold’s investment account from his name alone into an account joint with Wendi with right of survivorship.
The dealings with those documents by BMO were suspicious and outside of the normal course of business. To begin with, it would be normal and prudent to affect the transfer right away. This was even more urgent, because Harold was clearly dying.
The trail of this paper and the transaction it represented is very unusual and troubling in the circumstances. Despite Harold’s quickly failing health, and the apparent urgency, as evidenced by Norman’s visit January 10, as soon as Harold got home from the hospital, the transfer did not take place for over two months. The transfer papers remained in Norman Yu’s briefcase until late February. It was at that time on February 29, that the transfer direction document was supposedly acknowledged and accepted by BMO. Not only was the handling of this document, to this point, outside of the ordinary course of business, it was a tremendous risk for Norman and BMO. If Harold died before the transfer was done then the account would be in his name alone at the time.
This is not the end of the curious and unusual path of this document and the transfer. After being approved the document would be sent immediately to the department where the transfer would be done. The actual transfer, I believe the evidence clearly shows, was not done until after Harold Laski had died. This is supported by a sworn statement by Wendi Laski:
48 The Direction was accepted by BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. on February 29, 2012. Although the securities were not deposited into BIM Joint Account # 4551381314 in advance of March 13, 2012. the Direction was irrevocable and therefore the instruction could not be changed once BMO Nesbitt Burns accepted the Direction.
According to BMO records, the transfer was dated March 12, 2012. This was conveniently the day before Harold died. This was in direct contradiction to Wendi’s clear and detailed statement on the issue. Wendi’s statement is consistent with the evidence that Wendi knew this because immediately after she was informed of her father’s passing, one of her first calls, if not the first, was to her father’s financial advisor Norman Yu. Wouldn’t that be the first person any of us would call after hearing their father died? Wendi says this was to tell him Harold had died. Why would he have to know so quickly? Why was he the first person she called. It is consistent with the evidence that the call was to let Norman know that he should make the transfer happen. They didn’t know how long Harold would live. If they had affected the transfer before Harold died, he might have received a statement showing a joint account. They did not want and could not let that to happen. They had to wait until Harold died and backdated the transfer to the day before. That would explain the odd course of this document very much outside of the normal course of business. In the normal course of business any similar type of transaction at most financial institutions would be done right away, or if the circumstances required, within a few days. It would also explain and is consistent with Wendi Laski’s sworn statement on the timing of the transfer.
In little over a week, the account had been transferred into Wendi’s name alone. The evidence on how this was done is contradictory and suspicious.
I am trying to limit myself to BMO’s involvement in the case. To put BMO’s involvement in context, it is helpful to provide a brief overview of the rest of the case. A review of Wendi’s conduct combined and interwoven with BMO’s, shows how frighteningly easy it was for a criminal like Wendi Laski to take advantage of BMO’s corporate culture to aid and abet her in committing the fraud.
There is a lot of evidence to show Wendi’s conversion of the entire estate. The case is filled with evidence of Wendi’s fraudulent conduct. She lies in her examinations under oath, she lies in a conversation, recorded with her knowledge and consent, to her brother Wayne about the estate.
Her actions also speak volumes. Wendi lived in Los Angeles. On the advice of the medical staff, she came to Toronto when Harold went into the hospital.
Most of her involvement in the transfer of Harold’s BMO investment account was detailed above. She did the same thing with the Toronto Dominion Bank where Harold kept his accounts. She contacted them. Harold did not. She had them prepare documents for the transfer of the accounts jointly with Harold with right of survivorship to her. An employee of the TD Bank came, at Wendi’s request, to the hospital where Harold signed the documents.
The circumstances surrounding the signing of these financial transfers documents are filled with confusing and contradictory evidence from Wendi and the financial people in attendance. There is no evidence that the documents were properly explained to Harold, or that he even knew what he was signing.
There was other evidence which demonstrates the kind of person BMO was conspiring with, assisting and enabling to commit fraud. One further example was that at her first opportunity, which was the morning of her father’s funeral, Wendi attended at the TD Bank and transferred all the accounts into her name alone at Bank of Montréal.
This is where the case takes its strangest twist. This is where BMO’s fraudulent and abusive conduct is seriously egregious. At Yu’s examination, Mr. Parley, tried to argue that Yu no longer works for BMO and therefore his evidence would not bind them. Norman Yu has always and continues to be represented by BMO’s lawyers. At all material times, he was employed by and acted on behalf of BMO who gave their stamp of approval to and vigourously defended his actions.
In his December 2015 examination, Norman Yu provided details he had not mentioned in the without prejudice meeting. This was under oath. He gave the only direct evidence, that was relied upon, by a Judge, who was misled, of Harold Laski’s intentions. His evidence was that Harold was upset because Wayne was bullying him. He wanted to leave everything to Wendi.
The other new and significant disclosure was that Wendi was in the room with Norman when Harold gave reasons to disinherit Wayne and give everything to Wendi.
Forgetting for a moment that Wayne had no opportunity to examine Wendy about this, it is very problematic on its face.
If Norman Yu was telling the truth, Wendi would’ve heard the same evidence he heard from Harold directly regarding his intentions. Wendi never raised this evidence on her own. Not once, did Wendy or her lawyers corroborate or provide any evidence of her meeting with Harold and Norman. Not once, did she mention that she had heard her father express his intentions.
One would have to ask why this is so. If Wendi had this evidence, is it believable within the balance of probabilities, that Wendi and her lawyers would not have provided this evidence at the beginning of the litigation
The answer is that Norman Yu was not telling the truth. This evidence when combined with his actions and his dealing with the January 10 transfer direction lead to the conclusion that Wendi and BMO conspired to transfer Harold Laski’s account into Wendi’s name alone thereby defeating Harold’s will. Why he did it one may never know. It appears most likely, that the story was concocted by Norman Yu with some assistance, to cover up Norman and BMO’s suspicious and unusual handling of the documents outside of the normal course of business. It is certainly consistent with his evidence that he wanted to keep the account. There are many other reasons one can think of that would motivate Norman Norman to commit fraud with Wendi. Whether Norman received money or some other consideration will most probably stay between them. The fact remains that the evidence shows what they did which was clearly a fraud on the estate and on Wayne.
One thing is clear. Norman Yu’s conduct in conjunction with Wendi’s was suspicious and outside the normal course of business. The evidence as it stands leads to the conclusion that Norman Yu lied under oath. This, combined with BMO, adopting the actions of, and, protecting Norman Yu knowingly caused serious damage to Wayne Laski
BMO may try to argue that these were mostly the acts of Norman Yu, a rogue employee. The problem is BMO knew or should have known what was going on. Wayne Laski made it clear to BMO that there was a problem and he was concerned about their conduct. Through their lawyer’s, they stonewalled and allowed the expensive litigation to continue involving the estate of one of their clients and a current client against an executor and beneficiary to the estate. Knowing this, forgetting for a moment its obligations to the estate of its deceased client, they withheld evidence, which would have, and ultimately did end the litigation. This while all the parties, including their current client were expending large sums of money engaged in an estate battle.
Even if you assume (contrary to his own evidence) for a moment that Norman Yu was alone with Harold when he expressed the intentions, that Norman Yu claims. Is it believable that Norman Yu would have this information and not tell his client, Wendi Laski, about his conversation with Harold at the first opportunity he spoke with her after Harold’s death? Why would he not tell her that she didn’t have to fight with Wayne? He had evidence that Harold wanted to disinherit Wayne and for her to have all the money.
BMO has even argued that they would not provide the information to Wayne, because he was questioning their conduct. Given their attitude, he had indicated that he might have to bring an action against them if they continued their conduct. They had an obligation to share the information regarding the estate of their client with his executors. If, as it turned out, their conduct was improper and damaging, it was no excuse not to provide the information to Wayne as an executor of the estate.
Wayne eventually had to sue BMO to try and get the concealed information. BMO changed their lawyers, retaining the high powered elite boutique litigation firm of Lenczner Slaght. Wayne also sued the directors of BMO Nesbitt Burns. This was done, first and foremost because Wayne felt that the management was responsible for the frauds of BMO and its employees, particularly when the details are available to them. I believe that the people who run these companies are responsible and should do all they can to ensure that this kind of conduct is not done in their name. The second reason to sue the directors personally was so that they would be able to read what had happened and was happening and be given the opportunity to consider it and do something. They could no longer deny knowledge of the facts. The third reason that the directors were included, was to get BMO’s attention. That it did. Their lawyers wanted the directors to be released and were nice to Wayne until he let the directors out. He did so as not to complicate and slow the progress of the lawsuit. I believe that directors of companies should be held responsible for frauds committed by employees. They should have responsibility for the corporate culture that allows this kind of thing, to occur, without proper oversight. They should be held accountable for the failure to punish offenders and take remedial action to ensure that it does not happen.
They continued the position taken by their client’s previous lawyers that they would not discuss the evidence of Norman Yu nor provide any information. It was this firm, most particularly Andrew Parley, who represented Norman Yu and the BMO in the examinations.
Mr. Parley refused to let Norman Yu answer questions explaining the almost four-year delay in bringing this information forward in the circumstances. He confirmed the irrelevance and insignificance of the information provided by Mr. Yu at the January 2013 without prejudice meeting when he stated for the record that this information was coming out for the first time now.
Continuing the obstructionist policy of BMO and their lawyers, Parley initially refused to let Mr. Yu answer questions involving the July 2012 meeting with Wendi’s lawyer Donald Baker. He eventually acknowledged the meeting but would not provide further detail. I see these as very relevant questions relating to the origin and development of this definitive evidence. It was relevant to this evidence to find out about its evolution, why it took almost four years to come out and why the vigourous efforts to conceal it.
Wendi never raised this evidence of her meeting with Harold and Norman Yu in the entire course of the litigation. Why?
The answer is simple and strongly supported by the evidence. It is not true. Harold Laski did not say those things to Norman Yu. Norman, probably with help, made the story up after the fact to protect himself and BMO for his actions with Wendi and his conduct in mishandling the documents outside of the normal course of business under suspicious circumstances Most of this information only came into the hands of Wayne Laski over time through persistent efforts in the face of vigourous obstruction by Wendi and BMO.
For those questions left unanswered about the content, development, presentation, and four-year delay in revealing this crucial evidence, one must wonder where were BMO’s lawyers? Why did they not ask the obvious questions? Wilful blindness? Perhaps because there are no reasonable believable answers.
There is another issue, related to BMO’s disgusting, fraudulent, callous and abusive conduct, not yet raised. This is the worst thing that BMO did. On top of improper dealings with Wendi to assist her in defrauding the estate and her brother. In addition to making up a story to protect themselves which they allowed to be repeated under oath. Further to allowing that evidence, which they did or should have known was false and would be damaging to Wayne financially to be put before a court in the hearing. They sat Wayne in the room and tried to tell him that his father had lied to him. They told him his father deceived him. That Harold had lied when he confirmed to Wayne and his grand children, his desire and his intentions with respect to his estate. Considering the above, this was not true. It was most cruel and hurtful. Those involved on BMO’s side seemed to have no conscience or concern.
By their own evidence, this information about Harold Laski’s intentions had been intentionally and vigourously concealed by be BMO for almost for four years. According to their evidence it had be concealed by Wendi and her lawyers for the same period as she would’ve heard it with Norman Yu on January 10, 2012. The truth, supported by Donald Baker’s admission, is that he had heard it, for the first time, in a secret meeting in July 2012. It was only revealed to Wayne just one month before the case was heard. It was not tested by thorough cross-examination in front of a fair and knowledgeable judge where these frivolous obstructive objections would not be upheld and these relevant questions would have to be answered. In almost 40 years of experience as a litigator, it is hard to imagine, given its suspicious history, contradictions, and unexplained four-year delay in bringing it forward, evidence like Norman and BMO’s being given any weight.
The damage done by their egregious fraudulent conduct was explosively devastating financially and emotionally. Wayne fought back. As a lawyer, he could do so. One can only imagine what abusive, self interested conduct they get away with inflicting on people who are not able to challenge them. Given the corporate culture at BMO exposed and encouraged here one can only shudder at the thought of trusting them with your retirement.
In this case, BMO’s defiant arrogance during concealing and covering up their criminal conduct speaks volumes of how they see themselves and their place in society. They demonstrated here that they feel they have right to cheat, lie, and abuse their clients and the public with impunity. They will put those lies before the courts to protect their own interests even when they are wrong. This sense of entitlement is entrenched in their corporate culture where honesty, truth, and good faith are sacrificed to their own financial interests. They do it because they can. They do it because they have the money and power to crush almost anyone who challenges them.
There is another reason for the arrogance of BMO and other large institutions. They are often shown undue deference by the courts. Why would BMO lie? That is a question, in my experience, that is asked by judges as rhetorical. They often don’t seek an answer. It is not the institution that lies. it is the human beings that are their employees. Norman Yu made a point of the importance to him of new business. The constant pressure, in the accepted corporate culture, to produce and make money for themselves and their employers is sadly the norm. What lengths will some people go to succeed? It is limited only by the scope of human nature and the ethics of the individual involved. I do not think it is difficult to imagine what some people would do if they made a mistake or did something improper. What would they do to cover it up in the kind of culture BMO has demonstrated in this case?
If BMO, or any other institution, seriously encourages ethical behaviour and, takes proper steps when it is breached to demonstrate that it will not be tolerated, then, although financially responsible for the wrongdoing of their employees maintains their own ethical reputation and does the right thing to make it part of their corporate culture.
Sadly, that is not my experience generally with large institutions. They are arrogant and difficult to deal with.
In this case, BMO is more culpable than Norman Yu. That’s not to say that Norman Yu’s conduct did not demonstrate a complete lack of moral and ethical character. He is certainly someone I would never want to deal with and feel badly for anyone who does. BMO circled the wagons around Norman Yu and whoever at BMO helped and supported him. They embarked on a calculated, fraudulent, harmful course of action. They not only adopted and defended Norman’s conduct, but knowingly pursued of course of conduct which continued to cause compounding damage to Wayne. They continue to defend their conduct to this day. They have learned nothing. They have just become more emboldened. Norman’s conduct must reflect the corporate culture created at BMO. Their strenuous defence of his conduct, as well as their own, made their lack of a moral compass or conscience a clear reflection of that culture. From the top down.
This is the case that cries out for punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded by courts, in addition to the actual damages, to punish and discourage especially egregious conduct. In Canada, the amount of punitive damages is tied to, and generally is not to exceed the actual damages. It will be argued that this approach is woefully inappropriate in dealing with this kind of conduct by large rich institutions like BMO. There are circumstances where the damage is relatively modest but the conduct clearly requires a punitive award. For a rich institution, this would be insignificant and would not serve to discourage them or in any way encourage them to amend their behaviour and corporate culture. It would amount to no more than a mere license fee when they got caught. To be true to the intent of punitive damages, in such circumstances, the punitive damages should be significant enough to accomplish their stated purpose. In this case, in the event of a significant punitive damages award, a fund will be set up to assist others who are the victims of BMO and similar institutions.
If you or your parents have your investments with BMO, in my opinion, I would move them. I do not believe that this is by any means an isolated incident. This is just one where they got caught by someone willing to challenge them and follow through. The case continues. All of this will go before a jury who will be able to assess the evidence presented and pass judgement on the conduct of BMO and consequences of their actions.
The only issue that is left between BMO and myself is the issue of whether they owed me a duty, as an executor of the estate, to advise me of this alleged evidence. The law is clear that an executor stands in the shoes of the deceased and is entitled to any information the deceased would be entitled to. I can find no case that says otherwise. It is a well-established a principle
From the beginning, the week after my father passed away, and I discovered that things were not as they should have been, I asked BMO for any information they had on my father’s intention or explanation for the circumstances.
For four years they resisted vigourously sharing that information with me. My argument is that if they told me at the time and were honest and transparent about their handling of the matter that may have avoided the litigation, as their evidence was the determinative factor for the trial judge.
BMO has brought a motion to have my claim struck based on the fact that all of these issues are res judicata having been decided by Conway at the original motion. Conway did not rule on the issue of whether they breached their duty to advise me. In reality they didn’t advise me because it didn’t happen. Had it been true with Wendi in the room, she and her lawyers would’ve had that information before the litigation began. Yet they never once as I have pointed out raised it all in any form other than putting forward the evidence of Norman Yu which they had to know in the circumstances was false.
But even excepting for the sake of argument Conway’s decision, the issue of their obligation to provide me with the information is an important one. If they are allowed to get away with not honoring their fiduciary duty it is a further blot on the judicial system.
The motion itself has had an interesting history with several judges making bias and faulty orders.
When the matter first came up before Judge Chiapata, she made an unusual order, not raised by either of the Counsel, on her own volition to order that there would be no cross examinations on the affidavits. This in a case where credibility is a huge issue. This where affidavits were being sworn by Andrew Parley, who I have accused of improper conduct during the estate summary motion. This certainly would not appear to any reasonable person that being denied the right of cross-examination as I had been denied in the motion certainly would not give one confidence that there was procedural fairness.
I appeared by video Court call for those appearances, as I’m in poor health and have been for some time. I mean treated by several doctors who felt that given the medical issues and treatments that I could not work at all.
The matter came before Justice Wilson. There wasn’t solicitor of 40 years, officer of the court, and a certified medical professional who had provided a note indicating that I would not be able to work for three months. With her superior medical knowledge, Wilson ignored both me and the doctor in essence saying we were lying. She set the motion well within the three months, and made it peremptory on me. That meant I could not seek another adjournment. This order was without factual or legal basis. No one had suggested that the matter was delayed. No one had suggested that I had delayed it. It was sloppy Judgitis clearly demonstrated bias. Given my medical condition, this improper order caused serious health issues to relapse.
The matter was then set by I believe Judge Nishikawa who indicated that the matter would go ahead unless I brought further medical documentation. Just prior to the date for attendance, I was hospitalized For more than a week. I was released Thursday night before Good Friday. I made every attempt to get someone to appear or to set up Court call appearance. None of this was possible Easter weekend.
I sent an email to opposing counsel setting out the details above. I was just out of the hospital and the most recent medical report were not ready. Perhaps Nishikawa should realize that I don’t prepare them.
Nishikawa proceeded in my absence dismissing my claim and ordering me to pay $20,000 in costs. Another decision that certainly does not seem to be judicial.
His decision is now under appeal.
There have been a lot of odd things that have happened in the Estate Case and in my case against BMO.
I have no choice but to pursue BMO and judge Conway. I am an officer of the court. I believe in justice.
The result of the BMO’s actions and Conway’s corruption resulted in:
- fraud committed by BMO and my sister
- false and perjured evidence completely contradictory on the central issue is the case
- false evidence which had been concealed for four years was knowingly put before the court by lawyers for Wendi. It would be hard for me to believe that BMO’s lawyers did not or could easily have known that this evidence was false
- costs were awarded that had nothing to do with the laws costs in the circumstances
That brings such disrepute to the legal system that I must do everything I can to bring it to light and seek justice.
The above is the opinion and experience of the author as a litigant and a victim.
In my opinion, if you want to steal your sibling’s inheritance, lie, and commit fraud, hope to get judge Barbara Conway to hear your estate case. Not only did she allow lies and perjury without comment or reproach, she rewarded it.
In the case of Laski v Laski she accepted and relied on evidence that in law and common sense would not be believed.
The case revolved around allegations that Wendi Laski, the deceased’s daughter had used fraud and undue influence to get her father to change all his accounts into joint accounts with survivorship to her, thereby leaving nothing for her brother Wayne. This was all done while Harold Laski was under palliative care in the last three months of his life under unusual and suspicious circumstances.. Prior to that, all the money in question was in Harold’s name alone.
There was ample evidence of undue influence and suspicious dealings and transfers out of the ordinary course:large transfers ( the entire estate) of funds near the death of Harold Laski
All contacts with the banks and Mr. Yu were initiated by Wendi not Mr. Laski. There were serious suspicious transfers and dealings far outside of the normal course of business
Wendi had lied to Wayne on a consent recording, about what was happening with the accounts. she clearly led Wayne to believe that he would get what he was expecting from the will. This is clearly a lie as she had already arranged to keep all the money for herself. She further indicated that we should not touch the bank accounts. She said we didn’t know what deals needed to be paid and she hadn’t “taken a penny” this of course was a lie as she had cleared out most if not all of the bank accounts from the TD on the morning of her father’s funeral and deposited immediately in her own name at the BM0
and evidence about her conversations with Harold about his intentions in one examination she swore under oath that she had not discussed with her father prior to his death. She only became aware of the money was hers after he died and she went to the bank and to BMO. The very next day still under oath she denied that she had said it. When reminded she had said that she continued to deny saying it. She then went on to give a completely different answer indicating she had talked with her father before his death and knew that the money was to be hers.
There were few if any of the factors the Supreme Court of Canada would consider evidence of meeting the burden of rebutting the presumption of undue influence. The circumstances surrounding the signing of the documents both with the TD Bank and BMO was very unclear. There was no independent legal advice, despite evidence that Ms. Hamilton who had drafted the will had told Harold Laski in writing to seek legal advice before he made any further transfers
These two completely contradictory and opposite statements under oath with no correction or choice or explanation between the two by Wendi. Harold’s intentions, were the central issue of the case. There was no evidence that Harold had changed his mind save and except for the false evidence of one Norman Yu and BMO described below
Conway ignored all this and accepted the evidence of one Norman Yu, the financial consultant for the deceased, when he said that the deceased had expressed his intentions to disinherit his son.
The first problem was that the details of this crucial evidence were concealed by Mr. Yu, his employer, BMO Nesbitt Burns, and Wendi Laski for almost four (4) years after the death of Mr. Laski. It did not come out until they chose to divulge it only one month before the trial. Norman Yu and Wendi Laski refused to answer questions about how this evidence came about nor give any explanation for the four-year delay in bringing it forward in these unusual and suspicious circumstances . This and the meetings between Wendi, her lawyers, BMO and Norman Yu to discuss this evidence secretly, were ignored by the judge.
The real problem with this evidence was that it was not true. Norman Yu testified that Wendi was in the room with him when her father said he wanted to disinherit Wayne, because he was abusing him, and leave everything to Wendi.
Wendi and her lawyers, never raised this evidence during the four years of litigation. She never relayed confirmed or corroborated that meeting. Not once, in any form, did Wendi claim, that she had been in the room with Norman Yu when Harold Laski expressed his intentions or that she even knew what the reasoning for those intentions were.
Is it believable that Wendi would have had this crucial information before the litigation commenced and never revealed it?
Given those facts, it is not within the balance of probabilities that Mr. Yu’s evidence was true.
A further example of her bias and animus revolved around Wayne’s allegation that the money was in Harold’s account in his name alone at the time of his death, and was transferred after he died. There were phone calls and other evidence to support this. Wendi swore in an affidavit that the money was not transferred before but after Harold died.
“48 The Direction was accepted by BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. on February 29, 2012. Although the securities were not deposited into BMO Joint Account # 4551381314 in advance of March 13, 2012. the Direction was irrevocable and therefore the instruction could not be changed once BMO Nesbitt Burns accepted the Direction.”
Despite this specific sworn evidence and the admitted highly out of the ordinary course of business handling of the transfer documents, and in essence saying that Wendi’s sworn statement was not credible, she disagreed.
Nonetheless Judge Conway ignored all this, including the lies and contradictory evidence of Wendi, on the record, which related directly to her father’s intentions. She refused to allow Wayne to call evidence or cross-examine Wendi and Norman Yu despite the clear issues of credibility. There was a serious and deliberate denial of procedural fairness.
Why would a senior judge ignore such evidence and come to such a perverse decision? In my opinion one possible answer is that Judge Conway was affected by influences outside the evidence. These could range from a dislike for Wayne to mood, predisposition or any number of reasons other than the evidence. If not, it was incompetence. One was aware of her animus from the beginning of the hearing. I have no direct evidence but personally am of the opinion based on some circumstances that her decision was made before she entered the courtroom and influenced by others outside the courtroom.
Her judgement should be based only on all the evidence. It clearly appears it was not close.
Further evidence of the judge’s animus was awarding of $80,000 in costs against Wayne. This when the key evidence was concealed for four years by Wendi, Norman Yu, his employer BMO Nesbitt Burns, and counsel. This was abusive and unwarranted in the circumstances.
The judgement was perverse and contrary to the law and weight of the evidence.
Courts and Judges can make mistakes. But this, in my opinion was not a mistake it was an intentional denial and perversion and corruption of justice.
The notice of appeal was filed a few days late. The court refused to extend the time for filing and the matter was never heard on its merits.
The emotional and financial damage caused by such a malicious judgement was horrific. It does not appear that she had the conscience to care. Based on her conduct here, in my opinion, this person should not be a judge or be in any position of authority.
When I become perfect, I will expect it of everyone else. Judges often have the very difficult task of trying to determine the truth and do justice. They cannot be faulted for honest mistakes. This does appear to be the case here.
One should be able to rely on these well-paid and privileged civil servants to honour their oath of office to do their best to follow the evidence, the law, and do justice. It is the cornerstone of our judicial system that people are to be given a fair hearing, before a fair judge acting honestly. This was not the case here. This was a hatchet job.
There is very little one can do when one is the victim of an intellectually dishonest, corrupt and unscrupulous judge. They are very careful and skilled in writing judgements in such a way that they are hard to attack in the Court of Appeal which gives undue deference to trial judges.
Sadly, this kind of experience is not completely rare in our legal system. While many justices are dedicated, well-qualified and fair, far too often one runs into lazy and incompetent judges who base their decisions on their own expedience, personal feelings, speculation, and mood, rather than the evidence. This is clearly what was done here. No one who becomes a judge would demonstrate a lack of knowledge on such of evidentiary rules and law on undue influence and costs. If a senior judge to suggests she did not know or at least was not willing to apply the laws of evidence, undue influence and costs as she demonstrated here, then she has no business being a judge.
What is most upsetting here is that she has disrespected and disgraced her oath and its requirements. She has brought the Administration of Justice into disrepute. It is an abuse of power and authority. It is akin to a police officer drawing his weapon and firing at an innocent person without justification. Yet unlike the police officer, judges are above the law when it comes to this kind of abuse of power in such circumstances
For me, this was devastating. For someone who entered law and fought all my life because of my deep commitment to justice. I could not believe that with all Wendi and her lawyers lies and inconsistent and suspicious evidence that evil could triumph so easily. I had a breakdown. I could no longer take people’s money to represent them in a system capable of such corruption. I lost my practice, I lost my home, I lost my family. All that is left is to complete my fight against injustice and dirty stains of perjury. In that pursuit, I feel duty bound to file a complaint with the Judicial Council which I am presently preparing
Beyond the personal injustice and damage, the result of the disgraceful actions of Conway was to bring the Administration of Justice into disrepute.
Wendi Laski with the help of her friend Norman Yu and BMO, got away with committing fraud. The victims were the Estate, Wayne, and The Government.
Wendi, her lawyers, Norman Yu, BMO and their lawyers got away with putting false and perjured evidence before the court.
Too many on the bench suffer from Judgeitis. It is an affliction characterized by feelings of self-importance, rudeness, lack of attention to the evidence, and a desire to do what is expeditious for them rather than do justice.
Justice perverted corrupted and denied.
All Above is the opinion and experience of the author as litigant and victim and to provide some comfort to other victims who are not alone and to hope this does not happen to others.
What is happening to freedom of speech in America? The recent backlash against Stephen Colbert, Kathy Griffin, and Bill Maher over jokes which may be offensive and inappropriate is frightening. The attempts to intimidate and silence these comedians is based on the same mentality used by those extremists who tried to silence Salman Rushdie, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Charlie Hebdo, as well as countless others.
Anyone who finds a joke or any other comment offensive has every right to express their opinion. Where I part company is in the demand by these people for sanctions against these entertainers.
It may not be funny to me. It may be offensive and degrading. They are just words and images. They are meant as jokes even if they miss the mark. Look at the source. I have been involved in the comedy business as a lawyer for over 30 years. Some comics are crass, ignorant, and not funny. I have rarely, if ever, seen a comic who was malicious. By and large most are trying to entertain and make people laugh. They try to find humour through observation and commentary on life through a lens with their own unique perspective. It is not easy to put yourself out there.
Then there are a class of comics who stand out from the rest. They are smart and politically savvy. Part of their comic DNA is based in their sense of social justice and their desire to affect awareness and positive change on pressing social and political issues. They remind us of the realities and hypocrisies of the world around us.
As long as it is done in that spirit, whether or not it is funny or offensive, it is important that the right to express it is not impeded by intimidation from those who disagree. If that right and responsibility is not vigorously defended, and preserved it will be the first dagger in the heart of freedom. Sorry, that would be the second dagger in the heart of freedom. Donald Trump is the first.
The Conservative party has done it again. They have chosen a leader who is unknown while spurning the more politically attractive candidate. They did this in 1979 with Joe Clark. We all know how that turned out.
The Liberals did it twice with Dion and Ignatieff. We all know how that worked out.
Canada has generally been governed from the left-centre to the centre historically. The choice of a leader farther to the right may not have been the best direction.
Scheer has been described as Harper with a smile. His choice can only be good news for the Liberals.
Will he be impeached and if so when? One of the most important factors in the impeachment of a president is the Vice President. If Spiro Agnew had remained Vice President, Richard Nixon would have never faced impeachment.
If you impeach the President, whoever is to step into his shoes, will highlight different agendas for Republicans and Democrats.
For the Democrats the answer is easy. They don’t want Pence. He is a real conservative who would be harder than Trump to attack, and more dangerous to the social issues that are dear to their heart .
Wait till after the midterms when they may well win the House and Senate. Given the results of the last election those Democrats who stayed home will be highly motivated.
Given the relationship between Trump and Pence, it is not hard to imagine that investigations will find the VP tainted with the sins of the Trump campaign and administration.
If the Democrats are successful in impeaching both Trump and Pence, then the Speaker of The House, in this scenario a Democrat, would become President.
The Republicans have their own set of problems. They would prefer Pence. Their problem is the President is popular amongst Republicans. To force him out would alienate a lot of voters they need. Can they wait till the mid terms? Risky.
I am not a psychiatrist. Nor am I a psychologist. I have no formal training in the workings of the mind and their manifestations in the personalities they exhibit. I do have a lifetime of experience including the practice of law which gives me some perspective on people’s motivation and behaviour. You get to meet almost every kind of personality disorder and neuroses there is.
Is it just me? Is it not clear to everyone that this President is nakedly exhibiting behavior that leads to the inescapable conclusion that he suffers from multiple character flaws and mental health issues? As a pathological liar, Trump believes his own lies. It is obvious to anyone, except his diehard supporters. Can the Congress not get 100 or even 1000 of the top of the mental health field who can identify what’s wrong with this guy.
Prepare reports. Call eminent witnesses. Prove that Trump is mentally unfit for and dangerous to the office of the Presidency, the people of United States of America and the world. If that’s not grounds to remove a president I don’t know what is.
My sister used undue influence on my dying father to steal his estate in 2012. Although a lawyer myself, I decided to retain counsel. Kimberly Whaley. Whaley Estate Litigation was recommended to me as being one of the best for Estate disputes. My experience was quite the contrary. I personally found her to be dishonest, unprofessional, aggressive towards me, and vindictive. This was in addition to her predatory billing.
During the initial call (I call it the sales call) Kim Whaley made several representations which she later backtracked on. Fortunately I had recorded the call. As a client I have every right to do so and there is no requirement that I advise the other party to the conversation. Ms. Whaley went ballistic when she found this out. She threatened to report me to the Law Society if I used them. The Law Society does not allow lawyers to record each other without being advised that they are being recorded. I was not dealing with Kim Whaley as a lawyer, I was dealing with her as a paying client. I would advise any client to record their lawyer when they are making representations about their case. In any event I am lucky that I did so.
The things that were stressed in the initial conversation were the timing of the drafting of the application( two weeks) and getting to court (six weeks but maybe a bit more). The importance of getting evidence or at least pinning down the story of my brother Brian and my father’s financial advisor Norman Yu. Neither of these were properly handled. This allowed my brother and Norman Yu to make up stories later which were damaging to my case. I was also promised that Kim Whaley would make all court appearances. This never happened.
There are two things one initially needs to prepare at this stage. One is the Application and the other a detailed affidavit in support. When I retained Whaley I had almost finished drafting the affidavit.
Ms. Whaley represents that the estimated cost to prepare an application and get an order for directions is approximately $20,000.
Ms. Whaley charged me $35,000 and we had not yet proceeded to the order for directions. I was shocked in October 2012 when the bill doubled as a result of charges they allegedly forgot to put on the original bill. I was now being charged $10,000 per month on a case where the junior lawyer was churning the account and accomplishing little. Because of her failure to meet the initial timetable, I was sued independently by my sister. This would not have happened had the application been drafted and served in accordance with her representations. She had the audacity to charge me for the preparation of the statement of defence which would not have been needed had she done her job.
As a result of her failure to get us a court date in a reasonable time she was forced to bring an emergency motion for preservation of the assets. I specifically instructed her to ask that if any monies had been removed from the estate they be repatriated. I also instructed her to ask for costs. She refused to follow instructions. As it turned out my sister had removed all of the funds and put them in her own name.
She drastically underestimated my sister’s counsel despite my warnings as to his lack of bona fides in providing disclosure. This caused delay and prejudiced my case.
Further adding insult to injury she tried to tie up all of the money from my father’s condominium which was not part of the estate. She tried to rely on a term in her retainer, which I did not agree with or sign, and which she claimed allowed her to secure a claim for her fees against the this property
At most she had a right to claim the $35,000 that we were disputing. All of her correspondence to the real estate lawyer made it clear she was not to disperse any monies. Despite numerous letters attempting to enforce that position, when she was finally called on it, she tried to deny it and suggest that I had misunderstood.
Her letters to me dealing with the fee dispute were threatening, aggressive and vindictive in tone.
She accomplished next to nothing, obscenely overcharged me, and abused me in her attempts to collect her account.
In my years of practice I cannot remember a time that I ran into a lawyer who, in my opinion, so embodied all the worst perceptions of the legal profession.
The above is the opinion and experience of the author as a litigant and a victim.
It is often a difficult task to determine the truth in a courtroom. Technology has played its part in making it a little easier.
The introduction of DNA evidence took a lot of guesswork out of the identification of one or another parties in the proceedings. Its use has advanced justice and prevented or corrected injustice.
Developments in the use of electronic media have changed the way we live. One can no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The cell phone has made it possible and common to video any incident.
The use of recorded conversations in litigation once carried the stigma of the government eavesdropping on criminals and foreign governments. It generally required an order from a judge. A bias against the use of recordings, legally obtained still lives on in the minds of some judges.
I have had judges express negativity to this kind of evidence. The law in Canada requires only that one party to the communication consents. That means that any time you find yourself in a conversation you can record it without advising the other person.
What better evidence could you have of a conversation than a recording. One would think this would be embraced by fact finder’s as it makes their job so much easier.
Recorded conversations have come to my aid on many occasions when someone else has a “alternate perception” of the facts. I most certainly record all calls with institutions and service people. It helps when they don’t live up to their promises and try to deny them.
We live in the 21st century. One must recognize that almost anything you say or do could be recorded. All you can do is live your life and hope that one day you do not wake up to find that something you regret is now trending on YouTube.
Truth like water finds its own level. Like water it also finds its own path. It can be slowed and diverted but will always seek and eventually find its place.
In this blog, I will attempt to help truth find it’s level. I am doing this as cathartic therapeutic, exercise and for my children to have know their father. They don’t seem to be to focused or interested now.
I write through the eyes of 60+ years of life. I kept notes on my thoughts and insights all of my life. I rarely reviewed, and long ago lost them. Before the internet, there was no opportunity to put thoughts and perspectives out there and possibly get feedback to confirm that I am not the only one who sees the universe this way.
I hope to have fun while getting it off my chest.
If you happen to read it , I hope you find it entertaining, enlightening, and perhaps thought-provoking.