Next Bonamie court date set for November 3

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
OTTAWA – Iroquois-based property developer Edouard Bonamie continues to move slowly towards sentencing after pleading guilty in 2022 to four charges relating to an international yacht-fraud scheme.

A delay in the sentencing process occurred when defence lawyer, Eric Granger, filed notice for a constitutional challenge at the beginning of Bonamie’s April 21 sentencing hearing. Granger argued against the minimum sentencing requirements for fraud over $1 million.

At a later court date, Justice Ann Alder said she would issue her ruling in late June. That ruling was to be read into court on July 6.

Bonamie, 75, appeared at the Elgin Street Courthouse in Ottawa July 6. However online court observation of the proceedings via Zoom was not available that day.

When asked by The Leader, both the Ottawa Court and media representatives with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General have been unable to provide a reason for why online viewing of court proceedings was not allowed that day.

A court records request by The Leader shows that Bonamie’s next appearance before Justice Alder is November 3. No explanation was listed in court documents as to what the half-day proceeding relates.

An inquiry to the court and to the Ministry about the status of the constitutional challenge, and if it would be heard, was not answered after multiple publication deadlines were missed.

Bonamie was charged by the Ottawa Police Service in December 2021 after an international investigation involving the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ontario Provincial Police.

At the time of his arrest, the OPS said he was involved with the South Dundas Waterfront Development Corporation, a property development company based in Iroquois.

Bonamie originally faced eight charges, which increased to 11 charges in May 2022, prior to his plea deal with the Crown. He pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of uttering forged documents.

Since then, Bonamie has been navigating through court towards sentencing. He remains out on bail. The terms of that bail are subject to a Section 517 publication ban under the Criminal Code of Canada.

More civil action

A court records search by The Leader has uncovered that a default judgement has been issued against the South Dundas Waterfront Development Corporation relating to the company’s previous LED sign. That sign was subject to previous municipal bylaw action by the Municipality of South Dundas, and SDG Counties for not complying with roadside signage.

GC Crédit-Bail Québec Inc. filed in the Ontario Court of Justice in Milton, ON May 4, 2023 that the SDWDC signed a five year lease for the LED billboard sign at 11141 County Road 2 in Iroquois. The sign, which was removed in 2022 after an agreement to end municipal bylaw action, was reposessed by GC Crédit-Bail Québec Inc. in January 2023 and sold by that company. Court documents claimed that the SDWDC still owed $70,936.03 when the civil suit was filed.

The SDWDC had 20 days to file a Statement of Defence in the matter, which its representatives did not do. The court in Milton issued a default judgement against the SDWDC in favour of GC Crédit-Bail Québec Inc.

The judgement against the SDWDC is the latest in a line of civil actions against the property development corporation, totalling $2.96 million. These include two filings by Gowling WLG, the former lawyers who represented the SDWDC, Bonamie and SDWDC’s named director Patricia Theriault for legal fees of over $110,000. Also included in this list is a $2 million civil suit relating to its Deerbourne Estates project near Brockville, lawsuits by two private capital companies, and a land clearing company. Five of the seven suits remain before the courts.

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