Two organizations sue Quest University in land development dispute

Global Charity Fund and Eden Glen Foundation allege the school took action to devalue land

Two organizations are suing Quest University amidst allegations of breach of contract and misrepresentation regarding land that was transferred to both of them.

The Global Charity Fund and the Eden Glen Foundation, the plaintiffs in this case, filed a lawsuit in the Vancouver courts on Feb. 23.

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Both organizations accuse Quest, which is listed as the defendant, of undertaking actions that would devalue their land.

The notice of civil claim says some of Quest’s land was transferred to Global and Eden.

The plaintiffs say Quest told them a certain amount of market housing units could be built on that land.

Global was told it could build 356 housing units on its portion of land, the document says.

According to the claim, Eden was told it would be allowed 144 housing units on its portion.

Before that, the District of Squamish created a bylaw that enabled a maximum of 960 market housing units to be built on Quest’s land, according to the claim.

The court document says the Sea to Sky Foundation, which owned Quest’s lands at the time, transferred some of the land to the Stewart and Marilyn Blusson Foundation, or SMBF. This marked the start of transactions that eventually saw a portion of land transferred to the Eden Glen Foundation and another portion to the Global Charity Fund, according to the civil claim.

The civil claim says at the time, SMBF was financing most of the funds needed to develop campus buildings via donations or the purchase of lands.

However, Eden and Global allege that in 2017, Quest applied to the District to have its land subdivided, presumably for the purpose of further housing development, the lawsuit says.

The organizations allege that if Quest builds those units, it would subtract from the market housing cap for the land in the area, and would reduce the number of units the charities could build.

Both organizations are calling on the courts for an injunction that would force Quest to ensure that Global and Eden will be entitled to build 356 and 144 housing units, respectively.

The charities are also asking, among other things, that the courts block any further action from Quest to subdivide its campus lands to build market housing.

Alternatively, the organizations are seeking an order for damages arising from alleged breach of contract and alleged negligent misrepresentations.

The lawyer representing both foundations in the lawsuit did not return requests for comment from The Squamish Chief before press deadline.

Both charities are listed as having the same address, which is 1250 — 1500 West Georgia St. This address is also the location of the Benefic Group, a firm run by Blake Bromley.

Bromley is known for his work in charity law, and was a key figure during Quest University’s startup.

 Bromley did not reply to requests for comment from The Chief.

In response to the civil suit, Quest University’s communications department sent an email statement.

“Quest denies the allegations in the claim, and we are confident of our position,” said school president George Iwama. “Since this is an ongoing legal matter, we will make no further comment at this time.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The Eden Glen Foundation is listed on the Canada Revenue Agency site as a registered charity.

For the reporting period ending November 30, 2016, it had a total revenue of $17.3 million, which was categorized as gifts from other charities. In that same time period, it incurred $137,264 in management and admin expenses, and gave away $45,000 as gifts to qualified donees and other registered charities.

The Global Charity Fund is listed as having “revoked voluntary” status in the Canada Revenue Agency database, as of 2014. This would suggest the charity asked the agency to end its charitable status. No reason is listed.

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