Helen Roman-Barber wants sculpture back at city’s expense, cow to stay put, or compensation.
The owner of Charity, the cow-on-stilts sculpture, is suing the City of Markham for $3 million in property damages and a further $1 million in general damages.
The lawsuit, filed in Toronto by Romandale Farms Ltd. against the City of Markham on March 21, surrounds the issue of council’s decision last fall to move the controversial sculpture from its location on Charity Cres. to one of three alternate locations in Markham.
That decision, arrived at after the July 2017 installation of the 25-foot (7.6-metre) high stainless steel sculpture, enraged residents who live on the crescent, and deeply upset Helen Roman-Barber, who claims ownership of Charity.
The donor wasn’t interested in any talk of moving the sculpture to an alternate location in Cathedraltown or elsewhere in Markham.
As a decision has neared for when and where the sculpture will be relocated, Romandale Farms has taken action to forestall any move by the city to move the sculpture with a lawsuit that essentially offers the city three choices.
Romandale demands the city either: a) pay damages in the amount of $4 million, including $3 million for conversion of property and punitive damages, plus costs and associated damages; b) pay the full costs to remove Charity from its location in Charity Cres. and return it to the owner, which Roman-Barber maintains she still is, in spite of the city’s claim the sculpture now belongs to it; or c) leave Charity at its current location.
Whether the city has filed a statement of defence or intends to defend itself in court or what action it intends to take in response to the lawsuit is not yet known at this time. A request for comment on the lawsuit was met with the following response:
“A statement of claim has been filed against the City of Markham by Romandale Farms Limited. Any request for City of Markham records must be made through the City of Markham’s Freedom of Information (FOI) process. Alternatively, a copy of the statement of claim can be requested through the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Toronto Court office).”
Ed Shiller, spokesperson for Roman-Barber, said it would be inappropriate for Romandale Farms to publicly discuss the details of the suit while the matter is being adjudicated by the courts.