The new year will bring the end of a long legal battle for John and Kathleen Brosseuk, and hopefully a fresh start as well.
For the past 11 years, the couple has been trying to locate the money they invested more than 35 years ago in anticipation of their retirement after spending their lives helping the less fortunate.
“Who knows where it is, where it’s disappeared to, who ended up with it,” John, 81, says.
The Brosseuks’ story begins more than 40 years ago, when John realized he wanted to spend the fortune he had amassed as a property owner and developer in order to help others on missions abroad. His plan was to build hospitals, schools and orphanages all over the world.
Before the family left Canada for Belize in 1976, John went to New Westminster lawyer Ken Nyack to pick up cheque for a house he had sold and the men spoke about investing money for retirement.
John says Nyack, a friend from church with whom he had business dealings in the past, convinced him to invest in second mortgages. He promised a return of 14 to 18 per cent per year for 25 years.
“Trusting him and thinking he was OK ... I went ahead and gave him the $65,000,” John says.
The family went away with peace of mind that they had planned for the future. Over the years, John sold off properties and other assets in order to finance the missions.
“I kept giving the money away because I knew there was money here for us,” John says.
When he returned to Canada at the end of the investment term in 2001, John was in for a nasty surprise: Nyack had died and his investment was missing. Nyack’s partner in the law firm Nyack and Persad, Dipnarine Persad, knew nothing about the investment. The nest egg would have been worth about $1.7 million, the Brosseuks estimate.
According to Nyack’s ledgers and receipts John has kept all of these years, the money was invested in a mortgage in the name of “John Brown.”
Persad said at one point he thought the money had gone to the Law Society of B.C. after Nyack’s death. The Law Society claims it never received the funds.
After two or three years of trying to find his money, John hit a dead end, became discouraged and gave up.
He began the search again four or five years ago and filed a lawsuit in 2009 naming Nyack and Persad as defendants.
The case is set to go to trial sometime in the spring in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Lawyer Vince Critchley, who is acting on behalf of Nyack and Persad, could not be reached for comment.
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