Statue of Lady Justice outside B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Daughter sues dad over Surrey real estate cash

Father said it was a gift, daughter said it was a loan. Judge concludes it was a loan

A woman has sued her father over money she provided to him in 2014 toward a down-payment for a Surrey property he planned to flip.

“The outcome of her claim turns on the correct characterization of this transaction” Justice Terry Schultes noted. The case was heard in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. Stacey Ellen Grenier successfully sued her dad, Stanley Norman Williams, over $23,000 in April 2014 for a down-payment on a property he was trying to buy.

She said it was a loan, to be repaid with interest after her dad renovated the house and sold it for a profit. But he maintained it was a gift which he intended to return later, along with an additional sum as a “benefit.”

Williams told the court he returned $3,000 of it shorty after he received the cash, at his daughter’s request.

The court heard the money came from a settlement Grenier received for a motor vehicle personal injury claim of $29,662.81, for pain and suffering.

Grenier testified her father dropped by her house one day in April 2014 to tell her he had made a successful bid for a house he was planning to flip but was short on the down-payment and asked her if he could borrow her settlement money. “She told him she only had $23,000 left,” Schultes noted. “Mr. Williams said that he could ‘make that work.’”

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She testified that she trusted her dad and wanted to help him out. The court heard she told him a 10 per cent return on the loan was fair.

“In cross-examination she agreed that there is a difference between 10 per cent interest and a 10 per cent return, as well as between a loan and a ‘gift with benefit,’” the judge noted. “However, she denied the suggestion that this money was a gift and that Mr. Williams’s intention was to give it back later.”

For his part, Williams said it was Grenier who suggested he use part of her settlement money for his real estate bid and he would not have shown up at her door asking for money, as she alleged. According to Williams account, Schultes noted, “he agreed to meet, and after hearing her proposal and ‘doing a mental analysis’ of what was being proposed, he accepted the money.”

“While he did not need the money to carry out the purchase, he thought that ‘as a gift to be repaid at some future date with a bonus, it made sense,’ so he accepted what he described as ‘a family gift process.’”

Williams told the court he maintained at the time of the transaction and repeatedly afterwards that it could not be a loan. But Schultes found otherwise.

“In short, I believe Ms. Grenier’s evidence on the nature of the transaction with Mr. Williams, and find that she loaned the money to him for one year, at an annual interest rate of 10 per cent,” Schultes concluded in his reasons for judgment.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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