Former city inspector files lawsuit

By Liam Dynes
Originally published on Nov. 11, 2003, in The Brock Press

David Hornblow, St. Catharines’ former chief building official, has filed suit against the city of St. Catharines, claiming wrongful dismissal and a number of other damages.

In a statement of claim filed Thursday, Hornblow named the city’s chief administrative officer, Bob Puhach and the city itself as defendants, claiming $375,000 in the primary suit, with an additional $80,000 in separate charges.

Hornblow claims in his suit that his duties were “usurped” and that he had been pressured against his will to open the delayed Arnie Lowenberger residence before he believed it was fit for occupancy. The suit further names Puhach specifically as the source of the pressure, and accuses Puhach of “rendering him unable to fulfill his responsibilities.”

The conditions that Hornblow believed prevented the opening of the building have also been revealed, clearing up confusion about these factors that has been present since Hornblow’s dismissal in September. He lists a number of conditions, including, but possibly not limited to, all but one stairwell being closed off, contrary to fire code, no water being available for third-floor toilets, no heat or air conditioning, and an incident involving a fire in the main transformer that resulted in a power outage.

In his filing his suit, Hornblow claimed that “given the high cost … Brock University expressed a strong desire to have the students occupy the building on or before Sept. 14.”

It was soon after Hornblow’s departure that an occupancy order for Lowenberger was signed and students moved in.

When contacted for this story, city officials refused to comment, as did the mayor’s office, as well as the city’s chief solicitor, Annette Poulin.

Also, when contacted for comment on the situation, Brock President David Atkinson said, “It would be inappropriate for the university to comment on a legal action.”

David Hornblow and his representation could not be reached for comment.

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