Vernon lawyer focus of Civil Resolution Tribunal dispute over proceeds from sale of Coldstream home

Lawyer in hot water again

A Vernon lawyer is the focus of a dispute resolution application to B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal.

Robert Gates says Leonard Marriott of North Valley Law owes him $5,000 plus interest from the sale of a Coldstream home in 2020.

Gates claims Marriott refuses to release money he was allowed to retain due to "incorrect and misleading information" given in court.

North Valley Law handled the sale between Gates and Maryana Kvasnic.

Gates says Marriott, "with little or no due diligence ... decided he would not distribute the $137,280 proceeds from the sale and instead held them in his trust account."

In August 2022, Gates successfully applied in BC Supreme Court to get the sale funds paid out, "but on several occasions, Marriott has refused."

Gates claims Marriott "ignored many requests" to account for the difference between the $137,280 stated in a trust reconciliation statement and $134,979 he says he held in December 2021.

Gates seeks the $5,000 plus interest and a full accounting of the home sale.

He says Marriott previously stated he would release the funds once Kvasnic signed off of the transfer, but Gates claims she has no interest in doing so and their dealings have soured to the point that police have been involved.

Marriott is no stranger to scrutiny.

He faces a Law Society of BC tribunal next year on allegations he breached the legal profession's code of conduct.

A December 2022 citation stated Marriott is alleged to have failed to provide a client with the "quality of service expected of a competent lawyer" in the matter of a property transfer and estate matter.

The allegations stem from incidents between May 2019 and September 2020 in which Marriott allegedly failed to disclose the existence of a will and to identify that the deceased had other potential beneficiaries or heirs.

Marriott will face the panel March 5-7, 2024.

In a separate citation from June of this year, he is also accused of withdrawing up to $71,149 in legal fees without a client's consent.

This past year, Marriott also sought a court-approved sale of an Enderby farm property co-owned with his ex-wife to pay off debts to a number of creditors, including the Canada Revenue Agency, to which he owed an estimated $175,000.

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