Tensions between a shuttered craft brewery and a prominent commercial landlord in North Vancouver continue to ferment as the property owner responds to previously made legal allegations against it.
In its response to civil claim, filed Thursday (Sept. 29), Lonsdale Quay Market Corp. refuted claims made by Green Leaf Brewing owner Martin Ebadi that the landlord unfairly denied his business an option to renew its lease.
“The claim pleads no material facts as against the defendants that disclose a reasonable claim against the defendants, and the claim is scandalous, frivolous or vexatious or is otherwise an abuse of process of this court,” reads the Quay’s response, submitted by lawyer Daniel Shouldice.
“Greenleaf has no standing to bring this action or the claim against the defendants,” it continues, stating that the claim should be dismissed with special costs in favour of the Quay.
Lonsdale Quay’s response went further into the brewery’s financial past, stating that Ebadi failed to pay the full amount owing for his rent in October 2016, and didn’t make a full payment from November 2017 till present. The Quay claims that the last rent payment it received was in March of this year.
The response also alleges that Ebadi – who is distinguished as the correct lessee by the Quay, opposed to Green Leaf as written in the original civil claim – had never submitted a gross sales statement certified by a chartered accountant, which was required annually.
For these reasons, the Quay said Ebadi’s option to renew his lease was invalid. The response reads that Ebadi was also required to give 12 months’ notice of exercising the renewal option, which the landlord claims he failed to provide.
Green Leaf suddenly shut its doors at the end of August. On Sept. 8, Ebadi filed a notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court, stating that his brewery had made every possible endeavour within its financial means to reach a realistic solution, following COVID-19 restrictions imposed in March 2020.
According to a notice of seizure served to Ebadi on behalf of Lonsdale Quay, nearly $207,800 is owed in arrears, plus costs, charges and expenses.
In the civil claim, submitted by Ebadi himself, he said he told his landlord that he was exercising his seven-year lease-renewal option at a meeting on Aug. 20, 2021. Then, the landlord requested Green Leaf submit a payment plan for the arrears as well as a business plan for the “ongoing landlord renovation program.”
In his notice, Ebadi claims he submitted the requested plans, to which the landlord acknowledged receipt and would get back to him, but did not.
“During the ensuing months the tenant made every effort to have the landlord extend the lease for a further seven years and was ignored,” reads the notice.
At the time, Quay North president Taylor Mathiesen said Ebadi’s claims had no merit and that his corporation would be filing a defence.
Both parties said that they engaged in negotiations over the dispute. Ebadi claims that the Quay left the table “arbitrarily,” while the landlord said talks failed after “good faith efforts.”
According to B.C. Supreme Court Civil Rules, both parties have 35 days – after the pleading period ended Sept. 30 – to submit all documents that could be used to prove or disprove a material fact, as well as any other documents to be referred to in court, unless otherwise consented by all parties or ordered by the court.
On Aug. 23, the Quay said it notified Ebadi that the bailiff would continue its seizure and sale of the property under the Rent Distress Act unless Ebadi paid the arrears in full. The Quay said Ebadi failed to do so by Aug. 30, and completed seizure and sale of the property by Sept. 10.
On Sept. 28, the Quay said it delivered notice of termination of Ebadi’s tenancy effective Oct. 31. The landlord said Ebadi remains indebted for the unpaid arrears plus additional costs.
Both parties said they're not commenting on the matter further at this time. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Without any signage at its storefront or sign-offs on social media, Green Leaf closed its doors Monday, Aug. 29 after almost nine years in operation, leaving many former patrons wondering why.
Before the closure, the brewery was considered a local staple that helped kickstart enthusiasm for North Vancouver's now-booming craft beer scene.
This story has been updated from its original version to include the notice of civil claim filed by Green Leaf owner Martin Ebadi, as well as the response to the claim by Lonsdale Quay Market Corp.