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Family behaving badly: B.C. women 'bullied' stepmom in estate battle

A British Columbian family's dispute over the division of their late father's will had a B.C. Supreme Court judge admonishing them for scandalous behaviour.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge rebuked a late man's daughters for "bullying" their stepmother while they attempted to contest his will.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has blasted a late man's daughters for “scandalous” mistreatment of their stepmother as they contest their father’s will.

The four sisters—Annette Malecek, Erica Leiren, Michelle Neumeyer and Nicole Leiren—had contested Olaf Leiren's will, suggesting that their father's 37-year-old marriage to Carol Leiren had ended prior to his death in October 2016.

What's more, they suggested that Carol had been having a romantic, intimate relationship with her female best friend while their father was in long-term care. A suggestion the judge stated was completely unfounded.

“I also found that the daughters had been engaged in a long-term campaign to convince Hall to divorce Carol, but that he had resisted their attempts to do so,” Giaschi said in an October ruling.

He said they did so with “virtually no evidence.”

“The daughters disclosed a complete reckless disregard for the truth from the outset,” Giaschi said.

Olaf was a long-time journalist and former press secretary to B.C. Premier Bill Bennett. He was survived by his wife, four dauthers from a previous marriage, as well as by two step-sons, David Young, the executor, and Mark Leiren-Young, Carol’s children from a previous marriage.

His estate consisted of little more than his personal belongings and a registered retirement income fund valued at $298,526 that was distributed to the daughters as per the will’s terms.

What is at issue is the property where Olaf and Carol lived.

The daughters allege Carol and Olaf jointly owned the property.

“However, they provide no evidence of such joint ownership and Carol deposes that she was always the sole owner of the family home,” Giaschi said in a previous June decision.

Now, the judge said, the daughters claim they did not allege Carol and Alice were in a romantic lesbian or gay relationship, part of what he called an attack on a 37-year marriage neither partner had shown an inclination to end.

“I find the daughters' position today to be wholly disingenuous.  The affidavit evidence of the daughters and the allegations in the petition were clearly intended to suggest a romantic or intimate relationship between Carol and Alice.”

Further, he said, “It was insulting, scandalous, and outrageous for the daughters to have made allegations that Carol had transferred her affections to Alice, or to have alleged carol and Alice were involved in a romantic or intimate relationship.”

Giaschi continued on to rebuke Annette, noting threatening statements made to Alice and a frightening video sent to Carol.

“These two incidents constitute bullying and disclose conduct that is reprehensible, outrageous, scandalous, and deserving of rebuke,” Giaschi said.

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