Sturgis North drops lawsuit

The Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally and Music Festival was at the Spallumcheen Motoplex Speedway in 2012

  • Mar. 4, 2016 1:00 p.m.

MARTHA WICKETT

Black Press

The legal action launched by Ray Sasseville, Joan Hansen and Sturgis North Entertainment involving motorcycle events they put on in the North Okanagan-Shuswap appears to have rolled to a stop.

On Feb. 2, Salmon Arm lawyer Rod Chorneyko, who represents defendant Renée Charbonneau, the publisher of a blog and newspaper for the motorcycle community, appeared in court in Vancouver. There he brought an application to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims against Charbonneau, for “want of prosecution” – or for doing nothing or very little to advance their claims.

It was in December 2013 that Sasseville and Hansen launched the lawsuit and, three months later, in March 2014, they began the process to drop the court action against six of the seven defendants. Charbonneau was the seventh and last defendant remaining, and was named for allegedly publishing defamatory and libellous statements.

The other six were Steve Hammer, site manager for the 2011 Sturgis North motorcycle rally; the Sicamous and District Chamber of Commerce;  the municipality of Sicamous and former mayor Darrel Trouton; Bernie Aubin, an entertainment provider; and camping provider Vincent Lewis, from Vernon.

Sicamous was named in the lawsuit because the initial claim stated that Sturgis North entered into an agreement to hold an annual event beginning in 2011 called the Sturgis North Burn-out and Festival. Before dropping their court action, the plaintiffs claimed it was wrongfully taken over and called the Summer Stomp Burn-out.

Chorneyko says he met with Sasseville and Hansen, who were representing themselves, on Feb. 2, prior to the hearing, where an agreement was reached that the claim against Charbonneau would be dismissed without costs. That means each party would pay their own.

“We attended in court and we spoke to that application,” Chorneyko told the Observer. “The judge granted the order be dismissed without costs.”

Chorneyko said it’s unlikely the court order will change.

“It’s hard to set aside a consent order. It’s very difficult to appeal something you consented to.”

Sasseville and Hansen were behind the Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally and Music Festival held in Salmon Arm in July 2011 and the 2012 event at the Spallumcheen Motoplex Speedway and Event Park.

While the two events received some good and some not-so-good reviews, both left debts behind. Some Salmon Arm businesses owed money since 2011 have still not been paid.

In a different legal forum, two months ago Ray Sasseville was one of the subjects of a decision made by the B.C. Securities Commission.

The commission had launched an investigation into the illegal distribution of securities in 2007 for Wireless Wizard Technologies Inc. (WWTI), whose products included a GPS system for motorcycles.

Along with WWTI, those named by the securities commission included Ray Sasseville, Edith Marie Sasseville and Richard Keller.

On Dec. 9, 2015, one of the findings of the commission panel was that WWTI, Ray Sasseville and Keller contravened sections of the Securities Act by illegally distributing a WWTI debenture for $47,500 U.S. to ‘Investor B.’ Another stated Edith and Ray contravened the act by permitting and acquiescing in the illegal distributions of WWTI convertible debentures – Edith to Investors A and B and Ray to Investor A. A third finding was that WWTI and Keller contravened the act by illegally distributing a convertible $10,000 debenture to Investor A.

The panel ruled that Ray be prohibited from acting as a director or officer and engaging in investor relations activities for five years, and that he pay the commission $10,000.

Both Edith and Keller are prohibited from such activities for one year and each was ordered to pay $5,000.

In the document outlining the decision, Ray’s past misconduct is a factor listed.

“Ray has a history of regulatory misconduct. In a 2003 settlement agreement with the executive director involving a different issuer, Ray admitted that he participated in illegal distributions of securities to 75 investors for total proceeds of approximately $775,000.”

The document notes that, in 2003, Ray was prohibited from acting as a director or officer and from engaging in investor relations activities on behalf of any issuer for a minimum of three years.