City going after former pot shop owner for $15K in unpaid fines

Pot shop settlement unpaid

The City of Penticton is hauling former illegal cannabis dispensary operator and two-time mayoral candidate Jukka Laurio back into court over unpaid fines. 

The city has obtained a court order forcing Laurio to turn over his most recent tax return and notice of assessment, as well as the bank statements of all active accounts and a list of assets over $500.

Penticton chief financial officer Jim Bauer says they obtained the court order because Laurio has not paid any part of a $15,000 settlement he reached with the city over the illegal pot shop he operated on Westminster Avenue between 2015 and 2017. 

The court order also gives Laurio until January 8 to provide a list of all income sources to the city.

“That way we would be in a position to seek funding [through the courts] to basically resolve that settlement,” Bauer said.

The settlement was supposed to be the end of a protracted legal dispute between Laurio and the municipality. Bylaw officers had levelled more than $30,000 worth of fines at Laurio in an attempt to force him to close his store, leading the two sides to trade lawsuits in B.C. Supreme Court. 

The City of Penticton announced the settlement in May 2018 as the largest fine ever against a B.C. dispensary owner. The agreement stated Laurio would be on the hook for the full $30,000 should he fail to pay the $15,000 in time. After agreeing to the settlement, Laurio moved his shop to Okanagan Falls where he operated for five months before he was arrested by the RCMP.

Laurio was charged with one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking for in Okanagan Falls store, a matter he has said he plans to take to trial in B.C. Supreme Court in 2020.

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