Six Nations Band Council suing Brantford
Six Nations Band Council is suing the City of Brantford after the city demanded over $40,000 in back taxes on a property willed to Six Nations or risk a forced sale of the property.
Band Council paid the City of Brantford almost $47,000 in January this year in back taxes on a property in the city that was willed to Six Nations in 2007 in order to stave off the sale of the property.
The payment came after band council learned the city was set to proceed with the sale of 431 West St. in Brantford on Jan. 9 despite repeated meetings between the city and band council, with reassurances from Brantford Mayor Chris Friel that his staff would work toward an alternative resolution.
Six Nations filed the lawsuit on July 10 seeking the return of the funds, plus costs related to the action.
The city has not filed a statement of defence, according to Brantford Mayor Chris Friel.
He told a Brant County newspaper that the case, "could have precedence far and wide in the province of Ontario."
The 5.03-acre parcel of land was bequeathed to Six Nations by the late William Frederick Fuller in 2007. The property was put into a trust, held by Six Nations Band Council Lands and Resources Director Lonny Bomberry on behalf of Six Nations.
In the statement of claim, Bomberry had not received notice that tax arrears were owing on the property and only learned of the impending sale through media reports in the summer of 2013.
Former Elected Chief Bill Montour had met with Friel in May 2013 to seek a resolution and the two agreed to meet further to seek a resolution before Brantford made a decision.
That didn't happen.
In November 2013, Six Nations was notified that the city would proceed with the tax sale in January 2014.
Montour lost his seat as elected Chief to Ava Hill during last November's band elections and Hill met with Friel in early December, where again it was agreed the two would work toward a resolution without proceeding to a tax sale.
A few days after that meeting, on Dec. 11 2013, Six Nations learned that Brantford City Council voted to move forward with the sale.
The money was paid on Jan. 8, one day before the impending tax sale would have gone forward.
The money came out of the band's central administration funds.
The city threatened the sale despite a 1997 agreement between Six Nations and Brantford that states any land held in trust for Six Nations within the city boundaries is not subject to taxes.
Band Council is also moving to have the land designated as a special reserve under Aboriginal Affairs' Additions to Reserve (ATR) process.