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Victim of city sewer issue rejects deal

North York homeowner turns down Mayor Ford's million-dollar offer
By Shawn Star

December 20, 2011

Neighbourhoods: Wilson Heights

Originally published in our North York print edition(s).

Nauth.jpg
Shondra Nauth might be the only person who can say Rob Ford has offered her a million dollars for her home.

She’s likely also the only person to have turned him down.

The mayor of Toronto called Nauth, whose basement flooded with sewage 18 times from 2002 to 2010, on Nov. 27 to offer a settlement on behalf of the city. But Nauth refused it.

“How can they offer me $1 million? My house is worth more than that,” she said. “So I refused it. I’m going to go to court with this.”

She’s had her lawyer request a date for trial, after months of unsuccessful mediation and years of fighting with the city, and she’s hoping to hear back sometime in the next six weeks.

Not only does she say her house is worth more than $1 million, but the offer also doesn’t take into consideration the nearly half-a-million dollars she spent in repairs and cleanups for the 18 floods, she said. And then there are her lawyer fees.

“If I was living in a $200,000 home, a million dollars would sound like a lot, but my house is worth more than that,” she said. “Any fool would know … if the market value for your house is so much, why would you settle for less?”

Especially annoying to Nauth was Ford’s attitude in the phone message, she said. The Town Crier was able to hear the message he left.

“I have talked to the solicitor and, like I’ve said before, there’s a million dollars we’ll pay you for your house and that’s it. So if you’re going to come in and not take it or tell your lawyers to not take it, you’re completely wasting your time and my time,” Ford says in the message. “I just want to be clear, there’s not a dime more than a million dollars (inaudible) if you want it, great and if you don’t you’re just wasting your time because I’m very, very busy and I’ve gone through this 100 times over again and I’m not going through it again.”

In the message, Ford refers to a meeting scheduled for mid-December when Nauth could either accept or decline the deal. She says she won’t be attending the meeting.

Nauth’s home is a 375-square-metre, custom-built home, with 10 bedrooms, seven bathrooms, two kitchens, a basement reconfigured as a rental and is a corner lot in the upscale Wilson Heights neighbourhood.

The city did make several attempts to appraise Nauth’s home, but she says none of them were fair.

On one occasion, the agent never even stepped inside her house. On another occasion, she says the city gave an example of another house in her neighbourhood that was 75 square metres smaller than hers and said the size made no difference in the price.

Finally, Nauth says the city matched the size of the home properly, but looked at houses in a different and less expensive neighbourhood. To that, Nauth says she asked why, if the location didn’t matter, they didn’t compare her home to one of equal size in the Bridle Path.

All to no avail, she says.

“I know the value of what I have. I don’t have to guess,” Nauth said. “(Ford’s) offering a million dollars and doesn’t know the market value of my house. I can’t believe that, it doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m so angry.”

But that anger is just motivation for Nauth to win her case in court.

“There’s no way I’ll have Ford or anybody think they can outsmart me,” she said. “The gravy train is not going to run through my house.”

Calls to Rob Ford were not returned as of press time.

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