Legal fight underway between estate of lawyer in Strathcona County murder-suicide, former company


Article content

A legal battle is underway between the estate of a deceased Edmonton-area tax lawyer and his former colleagues.

Greg Gartner, 53, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound last spring, after shooting wife Lois Paterson-Gartner, their 13-year-old daughter Sarah, and the family dog. Police found the family dead in their home outside Sherwood Park early May 4, 2020, after receiving a call about a man with a gun.

The family leaves two surviving children, including Gartner’s teenage son, who escaped the home.

On March 15, 2021, Gartner’s professional corporation filed a statement of claim in Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench seeking more than $1 million from his former business associates.

Gartner’s former colleagues at Moodys Tax Law LLP deny any wrongdoing. They have filed a counter claim seeking millions from the estate, in part over issues with Gartner’s life insurance.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit is G. Gartner Corporation (GGC). The defendants are three separate Moodys entities, as well as two individuals: Paul LeBreux and Moodys Tax CEO Kim Moody.


Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“Following his death, Greg Gartner’s former partners and colleagues — Kim Moody chiefly among them — have refused to return GGC’s capital investment, and have refused to pay out its share of profits,” the claim states.

The plaintiffs are also seeking $25,000 in punitive damages against LeBreux and Moody “on account of their bad faith conduct toward their former colleague following his tragic death.”

Statements of claim and defence contain allegations that have not been proven in court.

According to the estate’s claim, Gartner joined Moodys several years ago to run its tax law arm. Upon joining the company, a legal entity was created called Moodys Gartner Tax Law LLP.

A 2016 photo of Greg Gartner and Lois Paterson-Gartner.
A 2016 photo of Greg Gartner and Lois Paterson-Gartner. jpg

As of 2018, two of Gartner’s professional corporations were the sole members of the partnership. On March 24, 2020 — a little over a month before the murder-suicide — GGC “retired” from the partnership, selling its share to LeBreux, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims Gartner contributed over $900,000 in capital costs on joining the partnership, but that the exact amount contributed is unknown “because none of Paul LeBreux, Kim Moody, or the other defendants will provide … the requisite information despite GGC’s repeated demands.”

The plaintiffs are also seeking a share of the partnership’s profits to date, the details of which they claim have also been kept from them.

The plaintiffs also allege Moodys overbilled GGC for monthly licensing fees, to the tune of $421,531.


Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Defendants deny wrongdoing

The defendants say Gartner’s estate has misunderstood the terms of his contract, and that the claim is “entirely without merit.”

They say it is possible Gartner’s other professional corporation — which remained in the partnership — is entitled to funds but that those totals have not been finalized “and this suit is, at best, premature.”

They say the determination of any payout has been delayed “as various breaches of the partnership agreement have come to light.” In the counterclaim, the defendants allege Gartner failed to obtain the required $2 million life insurance policy — payable to the company — despite the fact Gartner “represented, repeatedly, that he was making arrangements to obtain or assign an existing policy.”

“The final misrepresentations were made at a time when Gartner was planning to take his own life,” the counterclaim states.

The defendants also claim Gartner failed to devote his full attention to the company, participated in outside business and charged Moodys for “various” personal expenses.

A memorial photo of Greg Gartner on the Moodys website.
A memorial photo of Greg Gartner on the Moodys website. Photo by Moodys Tax website

They are asking the court to declare LeBreux and Moodys “the rightful beneficiary of any insurance proceeds payable by a policy or policies upon the death of Greg Gartner, up to a maximum of $2,000,000.”

As for claims Moodys failed to provide Gartner’s estate with financial information, the defendants say they shared more than 30,000 pages of records in November, and that after those records were sent they received no additional requests from the estate until the lawsuit was filed in March.


Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

They also fired back at claims the company misappropriated funds through licensing fees, stating that “many” of the transactions were actually payments to Gartner.

The claim that the funds were “misappropriated … as a result of Moody or LeBreux’s malfeasance, are allegations akin to fraud against well-respected professionals,” the statement of defence says, adding those claims are “entirely false, and should attract indemnity costs.”

The defendants’ counterclaim seeks $2.1 million for Gartner’s alleged breaches of the partnership agreement, $2.1 million for “the reduction in value of the partnership,” legal fees and special damages of $100,000. If the court grants any judgement against the defendants, the defendants say that amount should be subtracted from the totals in the counterclaim.

No court dates have been set in the case. Lawyers for the plaintiffs and the defendants declined to comment.


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.