When Precision Landscaping owner Donald Thompson appeared in court Thursday for his alleged failure to make pension payments on the behalf of his employees, Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez was not pleased when he cracked a joke about his age from the defendant’s stand.
“This just looks like it’s a joke. He treated it like a joke with his answer,” Magistrate Hernandez said.
Mr. Thompson allegedly owes some $132,000 in payments since 2008.
Defense attorney John Furniss said his client had offered payment of $50,000 as far back as November 2015, but the Crown had rejected it.
Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson said that government is willing to accept no less than $75,000. When Magistrate Hernandez asked Mr. Thompson whether he can pay this or instead go to trial over the matter, the defendant responded that he will only pay that amount if he can do so under a payment plan that would have him making monthly installments of $2,000 after an initial payment of $5,000.
The magistrate told Mr. Thompson that he was in no position to bargain.
“We need changes to the [Pensions Law]. Then we won’t have this attitude in court where they come in and think they can play games with the system,” she said.
With no agreement reached, Magistrate Hernandez set a trial date for Nov. 26. Mr. Furniss said he would attempt to reach an agreement with government that would prevent the necessity for a trial.
Another pensions-related case appeared before the judge Thursday, that of Brent Greene’s Gardening and Landscaping.
Mr. Greene allegedly still owes some $30,000 out of $46,000 that has been outstanding since 2010.
At a hearing last month, Magistrate Hernandez told the businessman that he would be sentenced at his next hearing and that he should get a loan and pay the pension debt.
But on Thursday, Mr. Greene’s newly appointed defense attorney Steve McField asked the court for another two-week adjournment.
This upset Magistrate Hernandez.
“This matter has been going on since 2010. He knows what was said on the last occasion. And for him to now bring you in this morning jolly well knowing what the court intends to do,” she told Mr. McField. “For eight years, he did nothing. He waited until today because he knows what the court said last time – that the court would deal with this definitively today.”
The defense attorney pleaded with Magistrate Hernandez for just a short amount of time so he can help his client sort out the issues in the matter.
“It’s only because of my absolute respect for you, Mr. McField, that I will give this adjournment. But this needs to be done, and it needs to be dealt with,” Magistrate Hernandez responded, setting the next hearing date for Nov. 1. “With or without you, on the next occasion, this is being dealt with.”