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Slumlord owing tenants $18,000 skips hearing

It appears George Wolsey was able to escape paying his former tenants once again.

A hearing scheduled to take place Monday morning was intended to put to rest questions of whether the notorious Downtown Eastside landlord and former pharmacist lacks access to income and property and is unable to pay them back, as he had previously claimed.

Neither Wolsey nor his lawyer were at B.C. provincial court when today's hearing was intended to begin. Wolsey informed the court he was in hospital for an emergency MRI. His lawyer, Daniel Barker, arrived late after having missed a flight from Penticton.

The case in question relates to a court order issued last year for Wolsey to pay $18,163.75 to 10 of his former tenants for alleged abuse and lack of standards at the Wonder and Palace Hotels, two single room occupancy buildings formerly owned by Wolsey.

Wolsey failed to show up for a September hearing on the matter.

Five hours after today's hearing was scheduled to start, the first witness, Kevin Winemeister, was brought to the stand.

A former employee and tenant of Wolsey at 72nd Avenue in Surrey, Winemeister claimed the former pharmacist is involved in a number of businesses in Surrey, including the IHS Pharmacy.

A story in the Province newspaper today details further links between Wolsey and the Surrey pharmacy.

The hearing was adjourned due to time constraints. Counsel will meet later in the week to determine when it will be resumed.

DJ Larkin of Pivot Legal Society, who is representing Wolsey's former tenants, said there will be further witnesses. "I feel hopeful that my clients will get paid," she said.

Emi Sasagawa is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

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