Photo Source: miniformat65 : Local gay friendly lawyers listed here.
Although gay marriage was passed, did anyone consider that not all judges and lawyers were for it, and what might happen if it didn’t work out?
This was our experience.
Enter the world of divorce in Ontario Family Law System. Having no idea that a divorce only costs $440., or how to go about it, or that you could even file it yourself, my ex Ms Johanson, a US citizen, hired a London, ON based lawyer Mr Mark Simpson to take care of it on her behalf. She resided 2,000 km away in Florida. I was advised I needed to retain a lawyer, I had been previously quoted $5,000. to take care of everything.
Three houses, $340,000. equity and over a short term cross border marriage, the result was we were both left bankrupt over this $440. divorce. I personally spent over $40,000. in legal fees trying to settle the file, but couldn’t compete with a dishonest equalization promise, and an additional $34,000. in property expenses in an effort to retain my home and lakeside lifestyle of 18 years. I was given short notice to relocate as the prices were court ordered to drop every 14 days and forced to take up residence in a hotel after half my belongings were trailered to the dump, as I simply did not have the time to pack and clean our two remaining homes.
I lost years of my life in this scheme, and would have been much farther ahead financially by walking away from everything seven years ago. Ms Johanson also lost her retirement investment because of buying in to a falsely created equalization promise by Mr Simpson.
This is was the first time my lawyer and I had the pleasure of experiencing what Mr Mark Simpson was really about. An offer had come in on one of our properties. Mr Simpson took it upon himself to direct the listing agent, Lana.
I received this email, From: “Mark A. Simpson”, “Lana, You should direct the parties as to the steps to close the deal.” Following this my lawyer sent a letter to Mr Simpson as contacting me personally is against the law society rules.
My lawyer stated nothing about the agent in her letter, but Mr Simpson went to great lengths to deny his actions in dealing with Lana. Before he even saw the email I received .
Imagine being in court with someone that operates likes this.
I wasted two more years of my life and pushed for trial, because of the hundreds of thousands in financial damage as a result of the handling of the file on Ms Johanson’s behalf, supposedly “in her best interest”.
I wanted answers. I wanted to know how I lost my home of almost twenty years.
I wanted to know why the court had given our property away, why we were both facing bankruptcy and I expected something to be done about it.
What I ended up with for my efforts, after being financially forced to self represent, was a lesson in deception and corruption. The kind of corruption you don’t want to know about. When you believe people are essentially good, and honest, that you should be able to trust them, but learn the truth is, you are nothing but naive. The only thing I can compare this experience to, is the movie ‘One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest’.
After the extensive evidence I tendered at trial, the trial decision appeared to be a cover up, and it only got worse. The evidence of eleven years of mortgage payments, tens of thousands in renovations and $174,000. capital cash had been tendered, and $84,000. remained in trust and this is what I read.No accounting for the large loss, as a result of the court ordered dissipation sought by Mark Simpson and ordered by the court, instead we received another story. I did not discuss why I wanted out of the relationship, I had my reasons, but working together was one thing we could certainly do well ‘together’. I pushed for trial because of the financial damage. I must have been in the washroom, while Ms Johanson was pointing the finger at me.
One half share of the capital loss as ordered by the Superior Court.
This was the largest financial transaction that occurred during my relationship or separation with Ms Johanson. $110,452. dissipated but NOT ACCOUNTED FOR, exclusive of over twelve thousand spent on renovations and given away as well. There were comments over how a couple of thousand dollars was not explained out, in the trial decision.
What kept rolling over in my mind was when the Honourable Justice Raikes had previously pointed out to us, “I decide what I am going to do, and then I carefully craft my decision” and he did just that.
It got worse, over $85,000. in financial evidence tendered but not accounted for, mistake after mistake in this ‘crafted’ decision that left my head spinning. $43,000 web revenues, tendered but not accounted for, $34,000. spent on property expenses, tendered but not accounted for, and over $10,000. spent on renovations, tendered but not accounted for. The only thing that was addressed was over twelve thousand I spent on renovations after separation, but it was ruled that I had not done it “altruistically”, so I was not deemed to get that money back. I was judged on not being ‘altruistic’, by the same judge that proceeded to edit a transcript, covering up his own transgressions that would go in front of his peers.
‘His Honour’ stated I had not accounted for rents, when the evidence tendered was that I had used my sole share of rent, to pay Ms Johansons share of our expenses after separation. In fact, Mr Simpson even tendered a letter that my lawyer had sent him in regards to that. I wanted the file settled, and with two lawyers at about six hundred dollars an hour, I decided I would probably spend more, fighting over $8,000. than it was worth. It was covered at trial that I agreed to put up ten grand for expenses out of the first property sale when my lawyer told me that I would have nothing left if I started arguing expenses, as the legal fees were being run out of control. She said we would deal with them later. I netted back about ten thousand from around a hundred grand we had in to that property. I recently saw a letter in which Ms Johanson stated she gave Mr Simpson her share from that property. The yearly rental statements of expenses and income, had been tendered at trial as well.
Tenant Statement of Rents Tendered.
One or two mistakes is understandable but this is an unfathomable amount of mistakes, there are more that I haven’t addressed.
It is absolutely ridiculous that that the public is pillaged like this, and its considered absolutely acceptable. Why am I not in the position to buy another house in my lakeside neighbourhood?
Is it because the decision split the residual of our money, making sure Mr Mark Simpson would get paid, after he convinced the court to dissipate our $220,000. registered equity down to $84,000. remaining in trust. He was not held accountable in the slightest regard, instead, he was handsomely rewarded, for not only bankrupting his own client, but myself as well.
Forced to self represent after the dissipation, and trying to figure out how my lawyer lost my home, a judge told me they look at the financial statements. I went back to my lawyers office and I found a multitude of manipulated financial statements. In my files I found that when my lawyer had sent a blank ‘Draft for Discussion Purposes’ complaining about the continual changes to the net family property statement, Mr Simpson turned around and tendered it as evidence to the court, stating it was a financial prepared by my lawyer, on my behalf. After I put this evidence, with four manipulated statements, to the trial judge, what I received back, in contrast, in his trial decision, was a comment that my statements were “problematic” and “were prepared without the benefit of counsel”.
After 23 years in business, I needed a ‘lawyer’ to do a financial statement, (not an accountant), with the ‘help’ of a lawyer I am now bankrupted with debt. I lost my lakeside home of almost twenty years that I was planning on retiring in, and have to start over. I had left Toronto and a much broader business market to enjoy a simple lakeside lifestyle in a small community.
I had spent almost a year renovating my home after water damage and therefore increasing the value, from when it was assessed at $150-155,000. After Ms Johanson voided a proposed land sever that was to add a half a lot to the lakeside property, I received a private offer of $195,000. Ms Johanson complained of ‘selling at a great price’ and rejected it. Tendered at trial.
At the same time this was happening, Mark Simpson moved forward to the court seeking the properties be listed at a declining rate and incurring court costs, without her consent or authority according to her testimony, as well as additional emails she recently sent in regards to that. I had objected to the terms, but he got his way. He moved on to the next property, combining the bi weekly price drops to $10,000. These two properties were located side by side. They gave a half a lakeside lot away and reduce the prices, when it was clearly stated on a Remax proposal there was no market in the coming months. This caused the public that was available to question what was wrong with the property causing even more problems.
I questioned Ms Johanson because it made no sense, she broke our agreement and voided a sever because she wanted a larger settlement, I had just renovated one of the properties increasing the value, which she stood to gain more from. Yet her lawyer was convincing the court to give our equity away while she resided in Florida. Ms. Johanson was questioned during Trial. Why is this not in the decision and accounted for?
She certainly didn’t need a lawyers help for that, or the courts. You want less?, ok, You want Nothing?, Are you sure?
What I recently learned was that, our ‘friend’, Mark Simpson, had his client sign a ‘release’. Any money in a trust account would go to him before any funds to her. It was in his best interest to get our properties sold and at any price.
In Ontario you need an annual salary of about $460,000. to net $10,000. bi weekly. Imagine sitting there signing $10,000. away every two weeks from what took years to build up.
“In 1948, Canada signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”
It is one thing to order a sale but it is a completely different story to give peoples equity away.
After Ms Johanson voided the proposed land sever, I was to add a half lot to my original home in lieu of the extensive renovations I completed on the house next door. The property next door, listed as a 60 x 80 lot, “priced well and getting lots of action” was priced at $177,900. Mark Simpson moved forward and convinced the Honourable Justice Mitchell to give the half lot away, further reduce the price, and add on court ordered ‘bi weekly’ price drops of $5,000 per house! It was in this court paperwork that I found the blank “Draft”. Aside from that, why would anyone order people to give their property and equity away? Because he asked?…nicely? My lawyer maintained she argued for 2 hours, the decision was released the next day.
Mr. Simpson was bankrupting his own client to get the properties sold, and the clincher is, he was charging her $275. an hour to do it.
I asked to appeal, and was told I would be bankrupted in legal fees. Both lawyers had the asset statement from the bank, and so did the trial judge. I focused on it.
My Father immediately wired cash to purchase Ms Johansons share in one of the properties after they were both listed, and Mr Simpson sent a letter complaining to my lawyer that I was trying to settle with his client. Then he made it abundantly clear it there would be no settling of this file. She could have had cash in her hands in days.
Is this in the trial decision? No, absolutely not.
I received $42,000. from the residual of our $220,000. registered equity, with legal bills of about $30,000. Technically I won, but the reality was Mark Simpson won, as he was the one who took the majority of everything we worked for.
I commented this to my lawyer that this was a Bernie Madoff style scheme, and she replied, Mark Made-off 😉
The court case was created by Mark Simpson promising an extra hundred grand to his client, on top of half, to let him pursue litigation, a middle aged woman who was emotionally upset, what I now refer to as ‘the vulture factor’. He manipulated the property value by devaluing it down 242% from the TD asset statement he had received. Fraud in any other industry. I focused on this evidence at trial, the first words out of my Fathers mouth were “that’s criminal”, but according to the trial judge he acted as a ‘competent’ lawyer. That is when I learned the real meaning of, “Justice is Blind”.
The Florida property which Ms Johanson purchased solely before the marriage, had nothing to do with me and was a valid deduction, but because she had a $75,000 loss on her property he included it to confuse matters. The property I originally purchased in 1996 apparently went up $120,000., while Ms Johansons property went down during the housing market crash. I would owe her half of the loss and then half of the gain.
This is how he created his equalization promise to convince his client to let him pursue litigation. I tendered this and the following letter at trial. Ms Oliver, the legal assistant to Mr Simpson, who had been communicating with me, no longer appeared to work at the new ‘Simpson Professional Law Corporation’ after trial. He incorporated his business, a way to protect yourself financially personally, but he didn’t have to worry, because my complaints were ‘ill founded’.
My lawyer sent a financial that half was $172,000. the trial judge accounted for $174,000. capital investment from Ms Johanson. This was no secret, we tendered offer after offer, offering more than half. I counted over 12 offers and amendments, every single time Ms Johanson would agree with me, the deal would be quashed by Mr Simpson. My lawyer sent a multitude of letters complaining about wasted costs and how the file was being handled.
Following trial, Mr Simpson moved to appeal, and I naively attempted to reopen trial, I was in the middle of it and didn’t see what was going on. I missed the timeline to cross appeal because of this effort. $85,000. in financial errors, evidence unaccounted for, and Mr Simpson was appealing on this.
I used the Supreme Court case law, Varco vs Pason, “the court should not be misled to the true facts”, held no weight and the judge actually cut me off when I was addressing the case law and glaringly stated something like, “you realize you have to convince me”.
I knew at that moment it was not going anywhere. “Simply put I am not satisfied the evidence would materially affect the outcome of the litigation and my earlier decision”. ” The allegations of misconduct by Mr Simpson are ill founded”, and I was hit with $2,000 in costs. $85,000 in financial errors on top of other discrepancies, and he had no intention of correcting them. If you made honest mistakes, would you not want to fix them? Especially, if you were ‘elevated to serve the public’ and being paid the taxpayers.
Maybe they weren’t errors in the first place, I was just too naive to see it. That did not occur to me until the transcript I ordered was edited. My argument was that ‘if we do not address the issues, we are making it clear, that lawyers of this particular mindset have carte blanche to do what they want with the courts and with peoples lives’. I had believed the trial judge was misled by comments on the exhibit books, that I missed as the decision did not come out for months.
Mr Simpson was adamantly arguing NOT to reopen trial but moving forward to appeal, which makes no sense in itself. Why not re-argue with the same judge, that had seen the evidence instead of taking up the time of three Judges in the Toronto Appeals Court? Because, he provided the Court of Appeal with the same fraudulent information he used to create the case, and he was appealing on the trial judge’s mistakes. My copy of his appeal paperwork was also missing the ‘Affidavit’ that my lawyer had provided the court when he created the case. I filed a complaint at the courthouse but it was tossed out.
I ordered a transcript of a morning spent in the court house, Mr Simpson wanted to argue and dismiss costs. During the conversations, the ‘Honourable Justice Raikes’ discussed the unaccounted web revenues of $43,000. When I received the transcript, it was missing that section of conversation. I attempted to inquire without making accusations. I received back a letter, you have whats “on the record”. When I reordered a transcript from an out of town company, to double check, I received a phone call that the information was taking an unusually long time. I later received a copy of what I had received from the local transcriptionist.
So, the “truth” ends up becoming, what a judge decides it will be, after editing a transcript. Is THIS what the word “Honourable” represents? I was living in a world of deception that I had never experienced, that was hitting me from all sides.
Facing an Appeal with completely fraudulent statements being presented, on top of the trial judges decision with its $85,000. in financial omissions, again, on top of the tampering of the transcript evidence.
The only time I saw the dissipation of assets addressed was from the Court of Appeal judges. I screwed up big time attempting to reopen trial instead of cross appealing. One of the pitfalls of being forced to ‘self represent’. When they addressed it with Mark Simpson, he responded with, “I had court orders”, he managed to convince judges to bankrupt his own client, outstanding! At one point I had actually asked her if he was even gay friendly because it was so obvious he was running the fees out of control over nothing.
You know, as a business person, how to get a client what they need in the most cost efficient manner, but this was the blatant opposite. I had not considered bias, or the corruption that I was complaining about to my Father, early enough.
I sent a letter to the Attorney General’s office complaining that the trial judge was covering for this lawyer, and asking what right did the court have to give our property away. I received a letter back it would be forwarded to another department.
I put to the trial judge, the evidence that Mr Simpson had used his authority to facilitate incorrect tax returns on behalf of Ms. Johanson. He demanded to commandeer our accounting on the renovation project of our third property, forcing us to pay two lawyers offices, before the information reached an accountant that should have solely done the job. Issuing incorrect tax advice to both my lawyer, the senior real estate lawyer handling the closing, and refusing to have the prior rents collected, declared.
In his effort to save Ms Johanson some tax payment, he cost her thousands of dollars in legal fees as well as valid business deductions on the property. Is any of this addressed in the trial decision? No, absolutely not.
It cost me additional money having my lawyer address his loose cannon, all around lack of respect for everyone involved. This is how Mark Simpson treated a colleague, local senior real estate lawyer, Mr R Brown QC. When I went by Mr. Brown’s office, his staff told me that he would not be involved in any further transactions involving Mr Simpson, as a result of the stress it caused him. The highly respected Mr Brown had handled all our prior purchases, and was actually at our wedding reception. First Mr Simpson talks to him like a punk, then he threatens him with a complaint to the Law Society of Upper Canada! This is a senior lawyer with QC, Queens Counsel honorary credentials. How to show respect and treat your fellow colleagues….
I was told I won costs, from after the settlement was broken. Tendering about $23,000 of my lawyers bills during the time frame Mr Simpson launched the barrage of court dates dissipating our equity in the “steps prior”.
I tendered a brief in Jan 2016, then spending a morning in the court house arguing costs in April, we covered my website revenues, the dissipation of the equity, and some of my hourly billing at work. Then I tendered a second brief in July. Providing additional tax information, showing the large capital losses, details of over ten thousand dollars in charitable work from the prior months in an effort to account for some of my time. I also added additional information that had been previously presented, to re-address the bad faith and unethical conduct. The cost decision reads, “evidence of a single transaction…. was provided”.
The cost decision reads , “but for Ms Johansons failure to honour the settlement agreement reached, there would not have been a trial.”
Really?… trial would not have happened if our money that we worked twenty years for, was in the bank. I would have just bought another house in my neighbourhood, and Ms Johanson would have had her retirement monies.
I ended up receiving $7,500. of my own money back in costs. Mr Simpsons costs are discussed at $25,000. in my cost awards. I have the same business expenses, rent, utilities etc. and he made me jump through more hoops providing information than it was worth. Mr Simpson was then overpaid in error by the real estate lawyer and when approached for the refund, he told us to get the refund from his client. The same woman he took down the garden path and then bankrupted. His equalization promise turned in to this letter, “My office spent an extensive amount of time and effort on your behalf in the hopes of achieving the best results for you”, his previous “hundred grand” promise turned in to “the total owing from all accounts is approximately $100,000.”
“Trust everyone, just don’t trust the devil inside them.”
I did not end up with what I was out of pocket after separation on expenses, essentially not a dime from our three properties, and left with debt to my Father. He called the whole thing step by step stating, at the end, they are “closing ranks, walk away”, “I have no faith in our court system”.
This is what “judicial immunity”, that we pay hundreds of thousands in salaries for, as taxpayers, and “elevated to serve the public”, gets us in return.
I filed an extensive complaint with the Law Society of Upper Canada asking for them to help Ms Johanson in respect of her legal fees, even though she sold me out for the fraudulently created promise, because as a business person it is unfathomable what transpired here and the whole thing is being brushed under the carpet. At least I can understand Ms Johanson being upset, I ended the relationship but I can not understand victimizing your client when you are being paid hundreds of dollars an hour to work in their best interest. That is a low that exceeds words.
If you are in a position where you need a lawyer, you can check to see if there is a gay friendly lawyer in your area here. Gay friendly lawyers.
If you think you are safe in our system, think twice, a third and a fourth time about that. You are playing Russian Roulette with your life and everyone involved.
People are killing themselves by the thousands every year, in what is statistically ranked as divorce. I am no longer naive enough to believe it has anything to do with a ‘break up’.
“The Institute says that divorce now ranks as the number one factor linked with suicide rates in major U.S. cities, ranking above all other physical, financial, and psychological factors.
A study of 13 European countries by the regional European office of the World Health Organization found that divorce was the only factor linked with suicide in every one of the 13 countries. The study showed that factors like poverty, unemployment, and disability were associated with divorce in some of the countries but that disruption of the family was the only factor linked with divorce in all 13.” source:http://divorceinfo.com/suicide.htm
Canadians should not have to be subjected to events like what has happened with this file, its as bad as a story someone that fled Iraq under the Saddam regime told me about. We pay for this system with not only our tax dollars, our assets and too many with their lives.
If you would like to donate to help these people bring a lawsuit. To help them, and to try and set some legal precedent to deter what happened here from happening to anyone else. The system needs change, the death toll is far too high and lawyers of this mindset need to be held accountable.