NEWS

Elliot Lake mall owner accused of 'embroidery'

07/25/2013 08:56 EDT | Updated 09/24/2013 05:12 EDT
The inquiry into last summer's deadly mall collapse in Elliot Lake, Ont., has heard confusing accounts from its owner about measures he took to repair the building.

Under painstaking questioning at the Elliot Lake Inquiry, Robert Nazarian has had difficulty explaining deals he made to repair the leaking mall.

- Mall owner clashes with Elliot Lake inquiry lawyers

On several occasions, the commissioner and commission counsel have scolded him for rambling, off-topic answers as lawyers struggled get straightforward answers.

"I'm going to ask the question, sir, until I get an answer," commission lawyer Peter Doody said.

To which Nazarian replied: "You can ask a hundred times if you like."

Nazarian's response caught the attention of Commissioner Paul Belanger.

"You go on, and you engage in a lot of embroidery which is making this very long," he said.

While the commission has set aside a week to hear from Nazarian, it is possible his testimony could continue into next week.

"I ask you to simply concentrate on the question of Mr. Doody or any other lawyer asking you — to respond to that question — not to go on with other stuff, because it's going to make this eternally long," Belanger said.

During testimony Wednesday, Nazarian said in 2008 a company jack-hammered holes in the mall's already leaking roof-top garage, creating an even worse problem.

Nazarian was on the stand again Thursday for a third day of testimony.

The public inquiry was established in July 2012 by the Ontario government and has been underway in Elliot Lake since March.

It was created to report on events surrounding the mall roof's collapse on June 23, 2012, the deaths of Lucie Aylwin and Doloris Perizzolo, the injuries to others, and the emergency management and response.

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