Financial troubles dogging a former Penticton mayoral candidate – who even stiffed the company that made his election signs – have now landed in court.
Jason Cox is the target of a lawsuit filed Feb. 20 by a numbered company that is seeking $15,000 from him.
Just three weeks earlier, Cox and his partner, Millie Holmgren, appeared in small claims court to set up a payment plan for a $5,000 judgement against them in favour of Penticton-based Jacoh Signs.
Jacoh’s claim was filed in June 2019. The company sought $5,000 for election flyers and pamphlets it printed for Cox during his unsuccessful run for mayor in October 2018.
Court documents show Cox and Holmgren, who served as his campaign manager, never responded to the claim, so judgement was ordered against them in the full amount.
After they failed to pay up, arrest warrants were issued for them in October 2019. The warrants were executed a month later and they were then ordered to appear at a payment hearing on Feb. 3.
Following that hearing, Cox and Holmgren paid Jacoh $1,000 and agreed to make monthly payments of $200 until the debt is settled.
“Through the whole process there was zero response to all of our communications,” said Jacoh owner Tony Jacyna.
Cox told The Herald he didn’t show up in court to defend against the claim because, “I didn’t want to waste any more public resources on the matter. It was going to go the way it was going to go.”
Now, he added, “I’m meeting my arrangement. I’m paying the bill as agreed.”
The more recent claim was filed by the numbered company that owns The Black Antler restaurant and alleges Cox failed to repay a $15,000 loan that was intended for Cox’s company, The People’s Soda Co.
According to court documents, the two sides began negotiating the loan in spring 2019, and the money was handed over on or about March 20, 2019.
The claim alleges terms of the loan required Cox to provide “fulsome disclosure of documents relating to the defendant’s business operations and finances relating to the soda business,” and that the loan could have been converted into an investment in the soda company at the claimaint’s discretion.
Alternatively, the claimant reserved the right to call in the loan at any time if Cox failed “to provide prompt disclosure documents or should the claimant determine not to invest in the defendant’s soda business,” according to the claim.
“In breach of the loan agreement, the defendant refused or neglected to provide fulsome disclosure of documents relating to the defendant’s business operations and finances,” the claim alleges.
“Despite the repeated demands of the claimant, the defendant has refused or neglected to pay the loan.”
Cox said the claim “has no basis in fact,” and he intends to fight it “vigorously.”
“My side will be filed following a meeting I’m going to have with my lawyer Monday, and a judge will decide what comes out of that,” he added.
Black Antler owner Dan Prokosh declined comment because the matter is before the court.
The restaurant last year took over the space at 215 Winnipeg St., where The People’s Soda Co. had been co-located with Smuggler’s Smokehouse restaurant.
Smuggler’s Smokehouse has since moved, while The People’s Soda Co.’s tasting room is now closed. The Black Antler has also taken The People’s Soda Co. products off its menu.
Cox finished second in the 2018 election with 2,621 votes, well back of winner John Vassilaki, who collected 5,144, but ahead of the incumbent, Andrew Jakubeit, who garnered 2,564.
On his campaign expenses disclosure form filed with Elections BC, Cox claimed he spent $5,617 on signage.
Cox was disqualified from running in the 2014 municipal election because he didn’t file the necessary paperwork with Elections BC following his run for council in the 2011 election.