Two separate lawsuits have been filed against the owner of several Bear Mountain properties over alleged self-interest, failure to disclose financial information, and unpaid loans.
The first suit involves Sanovest Holdings, which joined into a partnership with 599 and Ecoasis Bear Mountain Developments (EBMD) in 2013 to buy several properties on Skirt Mountain, including two golf courses, The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa and pieces of real estate.
Sanovest Holdings alleges in court documents that the owner of 599 and 50 per cent owner of EBMD, Daniel Matthews (Sanovest owns the other half of EBMD), moved assets away from the partnership to a separate company, Bear Mountain Adventures (BMA) – owned by Matthews and Tomoson Kusumoto, who is also director of EBMD – without properly disclosing the deals to Sanovest.
Sanovest is seeking compensation for the losses caused or accounting for the profits made due to the dealings.
Bear Mountain Adventures (BMA) was started around May 2017 by Matthews and Kusumoto, separate from the partnership between the pair and Sanovest. The suit alleges the company was used multiple times to move assets away from the partnership, benefitting Matthews and Kusumoto.
Before the partnership formed, the Capital Regional District signed an agreement over reimbursement of costs relating to constructing the Skirt Mountain Reservoir with the previous property owners.
When EBMD bought the Bear Mountain properties, they took over the agreement that would see the CRD pay reimbursement, meaning EBMD would be paid that money. That agreement was then transferred to BMA and the CRD paid $3.37 million to BMA. Kusumoto then loaned his portion of the CRD money to Matthews.
In November 2018, Matthews and Kusumoto applied on behalf of BM Mountain Golf Course (BMGC) to rezone part of Mountain Golf Course to allow for the building of a gondola between Bear Mountain and Mount Finlayson. The land was valued at nearly $123,000 – although the suit alleges the land could have been valued in the millions – but was sold to BMA for a dollar.
BMGC, controlled by Matthews and Kusumoto, made the decision to sell to BMA on behalf of EBMD, which held the beneficial interest in the property on behalf of the partnership.
The third incident involved EBMD, acting on behalf of the partnership, signing a deal with a third-party financial institution that loaned EBMD $8.125 million to service 39 residential lots adjacent to Bear Mountain Parkway, which were then to be sold to developers.
The suit alleges that money from that loan was diverted to BMA, which was then used to buy the Bear Mountain Activity Centre from the City of Langford for $3.575 million.
As part of the partnership, Sanovest also loaned EBMD money which meant they were required to provide financial statements and annual reports to Sanovest, which Sanovest says Matthews refused to do.
In a separate suit, Kusumoto is suing Matthews for failing to repay three loans by the agreed-upon deadline, totalling $1.787 million. Kusumoto is seeking judgment on the loan and the interest accrued on that money, which was set at five per cent per year, compounded annually.
None of the allegations in the suits have been heard or proven in court.