Canadian Anti-Hate Network
William Komer. Source: Facebook
An Ontario judge has sided with property owners and ordered The United People of Canada (TUPOC) to vacate the historic church the embattled community group was attempting to purchase in Ottawa’s downtown.
According to a document from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice posted online by lawyer James Bowie, Justice Sally Gomery found that TUPOC “materially breached the agreement by failing to pay deposits of $100,000 on August 10, 2022.”
She notes that the owners of the deconsecrated church and rectory had granted two extensions before serving an eviction notice.
“TUPOC is not entitled to any relief from the consequences of its breaches, since it has not tendered the funds it had to pay under the agreement and it has not come to the court with clean hands,” Gomery wrote.
According to court documents, the $5,950,000 church was put up for sale after the pandemic resulted in a massive loss of revenue as an event space. TUPOC offered to purchase the property - including separate buildings used as studio space - for the full amount, and agreed to pay a series of deposits before the final closing date in December.
TUPOC would occupy the unused church building and could rent the unleased portions of the property to new tenants. The group's director, William Komer, agreed to an offer presented by the building’s owner, and TUPOC “delivered a $5,000 bank draft” in June to the owner’s real estate broker – the first deposit.
When a July deadline passed, TUPOC was delayed in paying their rent, and then missed a date for a deposit. On August 10, the day TUPOC was required to pay $100,000, the court says he offered to pay $10,000 of the total and the rest at a later date.
The next day TUPOC was informed via email that “the deal is now rendered dead” and told to leave the church.
Five days later, Komer sent an email offering to make a rent payment.
After initial reporting on the prospective sale, reports and video taken on August 17 show an attempt by the property owner to evict the group – and TUPOC volunteers rebuffing them.
According to a volunteer talking to a live streamer from the ground that evening, a bailiff arrived on the site at around 4 pm and instructed people in the church to leave the premises for non-payment of rent.
The bailiff was also reportedly accompanied by a locksmith.
Police were on-site and multiple parties speaking from the church said that law enforcement considered it to be a civil problem over rent payments – their presence would only be to keep the peace.
One of TUPOC’s three directors, William Komer, disagreed with the sentiment when reached for comment.
Komer says it was his "understanding that Ottawa police are investigating the property owner and his agent for what happened last night and for that reason I do not think of it as a civil matter."
He added that they were considering a “private prosecution” pending the outcome of the investigation.
News Talk 580 CFRA host Andrew Pinsent, who was on the scene during much of the events that would unfold over the weeks, wrote on Twitter that the bailiff and the locksmith had said they would return later in the night, though none came.
What Is TUPOC?
Billing itself as a “diverse, intergenerational non-governmental organization,” TUPOC captured media attention after the controversial announcement of its plan to purchase Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts, housed in a deconsecrated church in Ottawa’s Lowertown neighbourhood.
While TUPOC covered the building’s doors in red paint and hung banners with their logo, a white tree with branches and roots extending outward, local community organizations voiced concern about the project – and its ties to the self-dubbed “freedom movement” and the blockade protests that snarled Ottawa’s streets in February.
A recent postering campaign in the neighbourhood read "St. Brigid's belongs to our community not to the convoy," and contained a URL leading to a petition against the purchase.
The organization denies any substantial connection to the “convoy” protests, though our own reporting found that all three founding directors voiced support for the action.
After a change in early September, William Komer is now the only listed board member on the Corporations Canada website. Calls to a number previously used to reach him for comment have gone unanswered.
For his part, Komer told media he was part of a documentary crew documenting the convoy, while Kimberly Ward served as a “spiritual advisor” to the husband of convoy organizer Tamera Lich, Dwayne. Dwayne’s own social media accounts have shown him assisting in painting the church and sporting often wearing TUPOC branded clothing.
Founding board member Diane Nolan made numerous public social media posts offering support for the convoy before, during, and after the blockades were dismantled. This includes sharing multiple press conferences and interviews given by Tamara Lich.
Other posts to her personal Facebook page include a podcast episode titled “How to Avoid the Mark of the Beast,” which discussed plans by the “New World Order” to integrate technology into people.
The source of funding for the multi-million dollar purchase was reportedly being generated from a number of sources including what Komer called “community bonds” and at least one wealthy benefactor.
Before the recent purchase, Saint Brigid’s served as an arts centre, even housing a pub in the basement, after being purchased and restored by members of Ottawa’s Irish community. An article in the Irish Times by the former owner states the church was also the site of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s confirmation as a child.