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Owner of old hospital site sued for $118K by security company

RLP Security Services claims Leisure Meadows Community Living, pair of numbered companies, still owe tens of thousands of dollars for security at properties in the Sault
The rear of the former General Hospital site, which was acquired by Leisure Meadows Community Living in 2019 for $450,000.

A security company contracted to monitor the former General Hospital site is suing the owner of the infamous Queen St. E eyesore for more than $118,000 in damages after several bills for security services provided at properties in Sault Ste. Marie allegedly went unpaid for months. 

In a nine-page statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court on March 20, RLP Security Services Ltd. (RLPSS) alleges that Leisure Meadows Community Living Inc., along with two numbered companies — 2749978 Ontario Ltd. and 1667271 Ontario Inc. — stiffed the Thunder Bay, Ont. company for security services provided at the former General Hospital site (941 Queen St. E), the Doctor’s Building (955 Queen St. E) and the McCarda Building (369 Queen St. E) after initially entering into a contract in March of last year.  

Italo Ferrari, the Woodbridge, Ont. businessman who is the general manager and public face of Leisure Meadows Community Living, is also listed as vice president of 2749978 Ontario Ltd.  The remaining numbered company, 1667271 Ontario Inc., lists Mike Anobile, a real estate investor based in Vaughan, Ont., as its president, secretary and treasurer. Anobile is also listed as president and secretary of Leisure Meadows Community Living. 

While some payments for security services were made over the course of the contract, the plaintiff claims that a balance of $118,645.14 is still owing. RLP Security Services is seeking that amount for breach of contract — or in the alternative for unjust enrichment — in addition to court costs and both pre-judgment and post-judgment interest.

As previously reported by SooToday, RLP Security Services stopped providing security at the former General Hospital site March 16. “I just want my money, that’s all it is,” said RLP Security Services owner Nicolas Rabaa when reached by SooToday Monday. “I want just my money.” 

The allegations have not been tested in court and a statement of defence has yet to be filed. Ferrari issued a statement to SooToday Monday, signalling his intention to resolve the legal matter with Rabaa and RLP Security Services. 

“RLP Security Services has been providing valuable service to us for many years. Currently, we are reviewing the claim as well as our own records for the account,” said Ferrari. “We understand that there is a balance owed, and we have every intention of remedying the situation and retaining RLP's services in the future.” 

Anobile, for his part, has informed SooToday that he will look to resolve the matter. “I will be looking to rectify the situation with RLP Security Services, as I value their continued service,” he said.  

Ferrari’s name will be familiar to SooToday readers: In December 2022, he used the phrase "concentration camp" during a city council meeting in order to describe what the decrepit former hospital site would look like if securely fenced, prompting two members of council to leave the meeting over the remark. Ferrari would later issue an apology to the municipality, just hours removed from being rebuked publicly by Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Matthew Shoemaker. 

In May 2023, Leisure Meadows Community Living filed an application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, requesting an injunction preventing the city’s enforcement of provisions within its property bylaw regarding vacant, demolished and damaged buildings

The real estate developer was also seeking a declaration from the City of Sault Ste. Marie that the portion of its property standards bylaw called into question was “vague, illegal and unenforceable.” 

The civil matter was triggered after notices from the city bylaw enforcement required Leisure Meadows to provide security personnel to monitor the building — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — and to keep records. The company was also ordered to show the city proof it had obtained no less than $2 million worth of liability insurance for each building. 

The application for an injunction was dropped by Leisure Meadows last month, according to court records.  

As first reported by SooToday’s David Helwig, the decrepit former General Hospital site will be getting fenced in after all: A local property restoration company acting on Ferrari's behalf recently obtained a building permit for a $60,000 security fence around 941 Queen St. E.  

Earlier this year, RSG General Contracting filed a civil suit in Ontario Superior Court, claiming $81,370 for services and materials provided — plus the same amount in damages for breach of contract — after completing demolition work and removing sewage infrastructure last year from the former St. Veronica school property on East Balfour Street for a group of companies with ties to both Ferrari and the former hospital properties. 

The companies named in the lawsuit are Wilsondale Assets Management Inc., Wilsondale Assets Management Group Inc., Westroy Assets Management Inc., 2749978 Ontario Ltd., Berkshire Enterprises Inc. and M Plus M McKerlie Holdings Inc. 

The statement of claim alleges that all of the companies are “each shell and/or operations corporations operated by the same group of individuals, one of whom is Italo Ferrari,” and that together, all the defendants named in the suit are jointly liable for damages. None of the claims have been contested in court and a statement of defence has not been filed.

Publicly available records from the provincial land registry office show that Leisure Meadows, a subsidiary of Wilsondale Assets Management Inc., acquired the former Sault Area Hospital site in 2019 for a combined $1.3-million: $450,000 for the old General Hospital site and $850,000 for the Plummer site.

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James Hopkin

About the Author: James Hopkin

James Hopkin is a reporter for SooToday in Sault Ste. Marie
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