Helping self-representing Litigants by Hal MacGregor

Published July 1, 2015

As a Director of the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA), I have been associated with many property owners, who have tried to represent themselves before various Tribunals and Courts in Ontario. Some of these people have been members of the OLA, while others have chosen not to join. Some of these people were passed along to me by mutual friends, who asked me to help them. In some instances, I became a representative. In others, I merely provided advice.

One particular friend of mine stands out above all the rest. His name is Brian Nitchke.
Brian and his wife, Danusia, were in the process of building a lovely mansion a mile back in the woods on their large wooded property in Montague. Through hard work and fortitude, they managed to almost finish the building, when the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), noticed it and began to apply their assessment, although it had no water or electricity yet. As such, it was legally classified as a construction site. However, MPAC applied a hefty assessment to the site even though their regulations stated “a construction site was not to be assessed”.

I met with Brian several times at his house, and watched him as he struggled with several Assessment Review Board (ARB) Chairmen and MPAC representatives at Tribunals in Smiths Falls. The greatest problem facing Brian was that ARB Chairmen were under orders only to consider acceptable “comparables”. Those comparables had to be acceptable to both parties (MPAC and the Appellant). When Brian tried to raise the matter of MPAC disregarding their own regulations, he was quickly stifled by the ARB Chairman. I saw Brian become completely frustrated but he remained calm through several ARB Hearings, and he persisted.

In one instance, he invited me out to his home, when several senior staff from MPAC visited his home. My place was to sit there, listen, then, after everyone had left, to give advice to Brian. This annual process went on through five ARB hearings. Finally, Brian hit a nerve at MPAC, and they decided to refer his case to an MPAC Adjudicator.

Lo and behold, the Adjudicator came down with a ruling in Brian’s favour! He stated that MPAC had contravened their own regulations, and were less than truthful over the five year period.

Brian was ecstatic! This experience proved to Brian, his family and all his friends that persistence and fortitude in a righteous cause will pay off in a country, where the legal rights of the common person supersede those of careless megaliths.
Note: Nitchke v. MPAC can be found on Quick Law.

7 Responses to “Helping self-representing Litigants by Hal MacGregor”

  1. RyderMgt March 31, 2017

    In London, Canada, MPAC and the City had me believing that I was require to pay commercial property taxes for having a desk and consequently, home occupation in my residential property.

    Collusion?

  2. Bob Marcellus July 7, 2015

    Hal,
    Please contact me at marcellus@ripnet.com.

    Bob.

  3. Joseph Soucy July 1, 2015

    Interesting article. How would someone go about finding out the “Regulations” that MPAC must follow?

  4. Grace Joubarne July 1, 2015

    The problem is that this couple had to go through this terror for 5 years, instead of just being able to enjoy their lives and their property.

    It is of no consequence to MPAC that they lose…they have deep pockets that the property owners of this province keep filled and it creates jobs for them.

    This is all deliberate power tripping — the purpose is to create bureaucracies and feeding lawyers.

  5. Bob Marcellus July 1, 2015

    I submitted my Notice of appeal last week.

    I was found guilty for trespassing on my own property.

  6. Andre Blanchard July 1, 2015

    Thanks for this story Hal.
    We are sitting in the same boat up here, but here we are fighting 2 Goliath, the Minicipality & MPAC.
    After amalgamation, (which was passed illigally) they refuse to introduce a rural residential tax rate, and are forcing the rural residents to subsidize the water & sewer that they do not receive, at a cost of $1450 annually.
    Refuse to introduce a itimized tax bill that shows where our tax dollars are allocated specifically.
    And then we have MPAC, and between the two, they play the finger pointing game.
    Like I always said, Govts are organized crime in the highest degree! Nothing will change until a new political party is formed by the blue collar residential sector.

  7. edward kennedy July 1, 2015

    I had a property/house evaluation done by a qualified appraiser which compared to the MPAC value, was much lower. I refused to let MPAC enter my property and they agreed to the appraisal, resulting in the lowering of my taxes by six hundred dollars! There was no appeal, no hearing, nothing but a report that either proved them to be incompetent or crooked, no matter what happened. MPAC ASSUMES all things are equal in houses, and that all things are in top condition. IF there is but one piece of trim NOT installed in a room, the house is UNFINISHED!

    The problem is that MOST of the mindless grazing herd roll over and do not bother to fight against the corruption of the system, and worse, refuse to expose the system bullies and cowards.

    Winning takes effort, and too few people are fearful and insecure enough to try.


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