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Sagkeeng hit with lawsuits.

The ill-fated Early Years School project involving Wing Construction has spawned two lawsuits, one against the Sagkeeng First Nation of Manitoba and the other against several of its former band officials.

First, on July 26, the Sagkeeng/Wing Development Partnership and Wing Construction, Ltd. of Thunder Bay, Ont. filed suit in Winnipeg's Court of Queen's Bench against the First Nation.

On Aug. 3, two sub-contractors who worked on the project, Peterson & Habib Consultants, Inc. and Dome Technology Canada, Inc., filed their own statement of claim.

Peterson & Habib is the architectural firm that provided the drawings and other services for the project, and Dome Technology was contracted to construct a 483-foot high dome for the school. Named personally as defendants are former Sagkeeng chiefs Jerry and Ron Fontaine, three men who were council members at the time the deal was initiated, Doug. Boyd, David Swampy and Richard Bruyere, and Paul Guimond, the director of the band's education board at the time.

The allegations, which have yet to be proven in court, are similar in both actions.

In the Wing Construction claim only the First Nation is named. In the other action, personal suits have been launched.

The statement of claim reads, "the contract ... was signed by Sagkeeng/Wing Development Corp., which was a corporation intended to be incorporated by either Sagkeeng and/or the personal defendants. As such the plaintiffs state that the foregoing contract constituted a pre-incorporation contract."

The statement of claim then states the defendants did not incorporate "and as such are personally liable for the terms and conditions of the contract for the entire amount of the contract price.

The Sagkeeng/Wing Development Partnership, a separate legal entity formed by the band and Wing Construction in mid-1997 (of which Wing Construction is the only active partner since the band backed out of the partnership in 1998), is claiming almost $3.7 million plus interest and costs from the band to pay outstanding debts. Wing Construction is asking the court for an accounting to determine the amounts owed by the First Nation to the partnership and the amounts owed by the partnership to Wing Construction, as well as amounts owed by the partnership to third parties.

Don Wing, the owner of Wing Construction, also claims $2.3 million plus interest; plus special, general and punitive damages.

Habib and Dome claim they are owed $308,243 and $386,438 respectively plus costs, interest and punitive damages.

Both actions hinge on claims that, in 1997, the band council signed a band council resolution stating the Department of Indian Affairs funding approvals for the project were finalized. In an interview with this publication last year, then-Indian Affairs associate deputy minister Dennis Wallace stated that was never the case. Both plaintiffs claim the council must have known this and therefore fraudulently misled them.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:fraud case lodged against the Indian Nations
Author:Barnsley, Paul
Publication:Wind Speaker
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 1, 2001
Previous Article:Chiefs favor "tinkering" with act--Dorey.
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