NEWS

Elliot Lake mall owner chose not to repair roof

07/26/2013 10:18 EDT | Updated 09/25/2013 05:12 EDT
Algo Centre Mall owner Robert Nazarian is back testifying at the Elliot Lake Inquiry today after making a stunning admission at the end of a third long day of testimony in Elliot Lake, Ont.

Mall owner Bob Nazarian said he had $2.6 million from the sale of a property, but chose to spend it buying another property rather than fix the crumbling roof at the mall.

The mall later collapsed in the summer of 2012, killing two people and injuring many more.

Nazarian said he had worked too long to save money for his family, and didn't want to throw it into what he called a black hole.

"[The] Algo mall was a black hole. That no matter how much money put in ... even before I purchased that mall, [it] was doomed," Nazarian told the inquiry.

To which commission counsel Peter Doody said: "So you simply wouldn't put that money in."

Nazarian: "Simply, I would not put my life in it, no. I worked 42 years to gather some fund for my family. I'm not going to put everything in this building and ... everything goes down the drain."

Until that point, Nazarian had insisted he was in desperate financial straits and unable to raise the cash needed to fix the crumbling mall.

Nazarian faces further questions today about just how aware he was of the structural condition of the building.

He still owns the land where the mall once stood.

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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