Banyan Tree Class Action Lawsuit Receives court approval - defendants pay 11+ million

January 18, 2012 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: News, What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA, Canadian Charity Law, Ethics and Canadian Charities, Avoiding 'Charity' Scams

The first class action lawsuit involving what CRA terms an “abusive charity gifting tax scheme” has settled at a Settlement and Class Counsel Fee Approval Hearing that was held on January 17, 2012 in Toronto.  The material for that hearing is on the Scarfone Hawkins website and is quite interesting reading providing lots of interesting details about the scheme.  Here is announcement from the Plaintiff’s lawyers Scarfone Hawkins LLP.



The Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved settlement in this matter following a hearing on January 17, 2012.
The settlement involves a fund of $11,000,000.00 being established which will be distributed to Class Members on a pro-rata basis in accordance with participation in the Banyan Tree Gift Program.
The Court also granted a declaration that all loan agreements and promissory notes executed by Class Members in favour of Rochester in connection with the Gift Program are unenforceable by Rochester, its successors or assigns. 
The Court approved a notice program which will be carried-out shortly.  Notice will go out to all Class Members.
Individuals who opted-out of the class proceeding will have an opportunity to opt back in.
To do so, they will be required to complete and file and Opt-in Form.
It is hoped that full administration of the settlement can be carried-out very quickly. 
We will be following-up with Class Members to attempt to verify information on hand in respect of their participation in the Gift Program.
Further updates will follow

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Charity Lawyer Mark Blumberg

Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.
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