RMOW still settling nine-year old court case 

Lawyers are still haggling over the details nine years after the Resort Municipality of Whistler first took two homeowners to court for illegally renting their home.

The case began in 2000 when the RMOW claimed that two dentists living in Prince George - Vicki Miller and Michael Rivera - were renting out their second home in Bayshores to friends and co-workers on a nightly basis. The property was not zoned for tourist accommodation.

At that time, the judge ruled in Whistler's favour and charged Miller and Rivera $5,900. But Whistler didn't claim the costs until five and half years later, in November 2007, and as a result the defendants pulled the matter back into the courts.

According to court documents, Rivera said when he was first taken to court, a number of people with very large investments in Whistler houses who were renting them agreed to make contributions to his legal bills.

"On this understanding, I decided to defend the action believing that this was public interest litigation and that Whistler's sole motivation in prosecuting home owners at the time was to economically benefit a few large hotel owners by eliminating competition," he is reported saying.

Because the RMOW took five years to act on their costs, Rivera said he has been "prejudiced." He said he is having a hard time collecting money from the people who agreed to share his defense costs in 2000.

On March 27, a judge in Vancouver again ruled in Whistler's favour, calling the delay "unquestionably inordinate," but added: "I am not satisfied that the defendants have shown their failure has caused them prejudice."

Now, the settlement is being worked out, and both a RMOW representative and Miller said this week they did not want to comment on the case.

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