The father of one of the victims of the fire that claimed the lives of seven people in Old Montreal filed a class action lawsuit for $ 22 million on Friday against the owner of the building, lawyer Emile Benamor.

Randy Sears, the father of Nathan Sears, one of the victims of this tragedy, criticizes Mr. Benamor for having “failed in his obligation to ensure that the rented units respect the minimum rules in terms of health and security,” reads the document whose existence was first revealed by Le Journal de Montreal on Friday.

The man from New Brunswick also criticizes the owner for not having respected the safety standards in force in Quebec, some apartments in the building having no windows or adequate emergency exits.

The lawsuit also targets Tarik Hassan, who is accused of having been negligent in the rental of the apartments in the building for which he was responsible. The company Airbnb, on which several apartments have been rented, is also implicated in the lawsuit.

Before proceeding, however, the class action request will have to be assessed by a judge of the Superior Court, who will decide whether or not it can go ahead. It is the lawyer Me Alexandre Bergevin who represents Émile Benamor.

This is not his first run-in with the law. Last week, La Presse reported that the principal concerned was notably sentenced in 2021 by the Court of Quebec to a fine of $ 136,000 for tax evasion, after a conviction. He failed to report nearly $470,000 received in a personal bank account from a mysterious “fraudulent scheme”.

Since this conviction, his right to practice has been limited: he can no longer practice tax law. And it can no longer accommodate interns from the Barreau du Québec, the organization confirmed by email.

35-year-old Nathan Sears, he had just obtained a doctorate in political science at the University of Toronto when the fire took him, reported various media. His social networks also indicate that he has worked for the federal government, at Global Affairs Canada, where he obtained a scholarship, as well as at the Trudeau Center for Peace, Conflict and Justice (TCPCJ).

He had also gone through Carleton University, where he earned a master’s degree. “We are all appalled by this loss,” Steven Bernstein, who was his thesis supervisor, recently explained to the English-language daily Montreal Gazette. “I have never met a student who cares so much about what he has studied,” he also insisted.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Montreal police formally confirmed the identity of the sixth and seventh victims of the fire that occurred in a building in Place D’Youville on March 16. They are Charlie Lacroix and Walid Belkahla, both 18 years old. The investigation will now focus on the causes behind this tragic event.