By late afternoon the wind was too much for Antoni Valentino so he propped his sign up outside the courthouse, wheeled himself inside and took up position next to a heat register.
I am here and waiting for you dont be late...?, reads the enigmatic message.
Valentino, 40, Turkey-born, Canadian citizen, double amputee and a former professional photographer, is only too happy to answer any questions people might have about his public protest, now moving into its third day.
It concerns a $5,500 business loan
The equipment, which he values at $40,000, was seized March 28, four days before the first loan payment was due. Valentino paid it anyhow a gesture of good faith, he says.
His business, Valentino Illustration Photography, has gone under.
I invite them to court, says Valentino, with a nod toward the sign. If they are late to move. . .big problem.
A statement of claim, asking for almost $500,000 in damages and compensation for economic hardship, has been filed with the Court of Queens Bench by Valentino and his lawyer. Affidavits have, in turn, been filed by the corporation. No date has been set for a hearing.
Here, in downtown
With Valentinos business, and the camera equipment, went any hope for income. He lives day to day on Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped payments of $810 a month.
The corporation directed all calls to lawyer Garner Groome, with the firm Peterson and Purvis. He declined comment until such time as the corporations director, Ed Fetting, allowed it.
Fetting was out of the city.
However, Groome directed inquiries toward a July, 1998, edition of the Alberta Free Press, saying, You can refer to that. Nothing has changed since that article.
It seems the corporations move to seize Valentinos camera gear followed fears he planned to take his equipment and leave the country.
Without demanding repayment and without notice they pounced on him one Saturday morning. . . which is virtually unheard of except in the most extreme cases, he says.
In the Free Press, Groome explained rumours had
circulated for months that Valentino was leaving the country. An investigation
was performed which revealed little or no business activity at Valentinos commercial property. A subsequent interview with
his landlord left the corporation believing Valentino was planning to exit
Valentino assumes some confusion
followed his telling the landlord he had landed a contract in
The relative status of the rumours heard and facts available astounds him.
They heard a rumour, he says. I had a contract. They heard a rumour, I had their payment. What does a rumour prove?
In fact, Valentino showed up at the corporations offices May 1, to make his second loan payment. It was not accepted.
even cashed the first one, says
added, in the Free Press article, the corporation was unaware of the existence
or possibility of a
He further maintaied
Valentino went into default as soon as he moved equipment out of
I have first-hand evidence to
establish that his equipment (was) never removed, says
is expected back in