Igor Kenk will give up his used-bicycle shop, pickup trucks and his hoard of more than 2,200 old bikes in a settlement reached Friday in a civil suit brought against him by the province of Ontario.
Under the deal, Mr. Kenk will get to keep the proceeds of a provincially-supervised sale of the bike shop, which he has previously valued at $700,000, but only after he pays $50,000 to the Crown, $65,000 to Legal Aid Ontario for his ongoing criminal case, legal fees incurred to defend against the suit, and any outstanding taxes or bills related to the building. The bikes and pickup trucks will be sold off and the proceeds kept by the Crown.
The settlement brings an end to one of two parallel court proceedings, one civil and the other criminal, brought against the 50-year-old Mr. Kenk, whose arrest in the summer of 2008 and subsequent raids of his numerous rental garages filled with bicycles stunned Toronto’s cycling community.
Friday’s settlement was reached before the court tested the government’s case, which hinged on affidavits from Toronto police who led the criminal investigation. Court filings showed that officers relied on a confidential source for information about Mr. Kenk’s alleged drugs-for-bikes enterprise. Court never heard testimony from the source, nor does the case file contain any written statements from the informant.
Jacob Stilman, lawyer for Mr. Kenk, said outside court that the government’s forfeiture application “was going into uncharted legal waters in the sense of asserting that the building was an instrument of criminal activity.” He suggested “there would have been a lot of interesting legal and evidentiary issues” had the case gone to trial, but also serious implications for his client, who stood to lose virtually everything he owns.
“While it’s fascinating from a lawyer’s perspective,” Mr. Stilman said, “the stakes are very high for the person at the receiving end of the litigation.”
According to court filings, Mr. Kenk paid $85,000 for his shop in 1995 and is mortgage-free. Its value has since skyrocketed due to gentrification along trendy Queen Street West. The bicycles were recently appraised at just over $50,000, and the two Toyota pickup trucks at $14,000.
via the Biking Toronto Forum