Dana Naye fights critics with lawsuit

Dana Naye Ventures is suing several government agencies for publishing a report criticizing its professionalism and lending practices.

Dana Naye Ventures is suing several government agencies for publishing a report criticizing its professionalism and lending practices.

The Business Development Bank of Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency are alleged to have made defamatory comments in a November 2009 study of economic conditions in the Yukon, says Dana Naye’s statement of claim.

The report was published for “improper purposes and with indifference to, and reckless disregard for the truth,” says the claim, filed Monday.

The alleged defamation includes criticism of Dana Naye’s employees and the quality of its financial advice.

Dana Naye is a not-for-profit lending institution providing loans for small and medium sized businesses in the Yukon.

Dana Naye has a “high staff turnover” that would indicate “management problems,” says the statement of claim, quoting the report.

“Manager’s frequent absence from the office and a dysfunctional board of directors were cited as issues,” is another report statement the claim refers to.

Remarks like, “Management and staff are not very sophisticated,” and “staff lacks experience, which often leads to wrong advice being given to clients,” are also defamatory, says Dana Naye.

The report appears to have been written for government eyes only. It was written for either INAC or Cannor by the Business Development Bank of Canada, said Rod Nickel, the bank’s manager in Whitehorse.

Nickel would not release a copy of the report to the public.

A message to Indian Affairs was referred to Cannor spokesperson Bonnie Venton Ross, who was not able to provide comment by press time.

On May 21, Dana Naye sent a letter to Indian Affairs demanding a list of everyone who received the study, an apology and a retraction of the defamatory statements.

Dana Naye did not receive a response and went ahead with their suit.

The report delved into the financial nitty-gritty of Dana Naye’s borrowing practises, which allegedly included some more defamatory statements.

The loan process is “too cumbersome” and “Dana Naye Ventures charges too high an interest rate and its reporting requirements are too demanding,” the claims quotes the report.

The study even included unattributed conclusions.

“There are rumours that YTG is pulling it’s business advisory contract with Dana Naye Ventures for areas north of Whitehorse due to poor delivery,” the report is alleged to say.

The report also claimed Dana Naye favours aboriginal businesses and graduates from its own training programs. These are also defamatory, says Dana Naye.

Dana Naye general manager Elaine Chambers did not return several requests for comment.

They received $2.5 million in funding to administer loans from Indian and Northern Affairs in 2007.

Companies such as Northerm and Air North have benefitted from Dana Naye investments in the past.

Contact James Munson at

jamesm@yukon-news.com

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