Two Dawson City women are denying that they defamed a couple engaged in a legal battle with their friend over property on the Dome Road.
Late last year, Angela and Michael Senft filed a defamation suit against Audrey Vigneau and Susan Hermman in Yukon Supreme Court.
The suit alleges that a GoFundMe page, letters sent to Dawson residents, a Facebook post and comments to CBC radio made by the women are false, malicious and defamatory.
The Senfts say the alleged defamation was meant to discredit them and influence the press, their friends and neighbours, as well as affect Angela’s employment as a social worker. They are claiming general, special, punitive and aggravated damages.
But in statements of defence, Vigneau and Herrmann deny that their statements were defamatory or made falsely or maliciously.
They claim their sole motivation was to raise legal funds for their friend Daniele McRae, a pensioner who is facing a lawsuit by the Senfts over the title to her home.
Vigneau and Hermman also say their comments were fair and made in good faith on a matter of public interest: the welfare of seniors in society.
They also note the GoFundMe page and Facebook post have been removed, with apologies posted on both Vigneau’s and Hermann’s Facebook pages.
As well, they say an apology letter was sent to 832 Dawson community members.
The statement of defence further claims the dispute between McRae and the Senfts is “notorious” in Dawson, and that much of the background information is known to the public.
According to court documents, McRae met Angela shortly after her husband’s death in November 2007.
They struck up a friendship and the Senfts assisted McRae, offering her companionship, driving her into town on occasion for supplies and providing repairs, constructions and renovations to her property.
Then, on Sept. 15, 2008, McRae bequeathed her property to the Senfts, intending them to inherit it upon her death.
According to the statement of defence, in the fall of 2009, the Senfts encouraged McRae to add their names to the title of the property “for the sole purpose of making it easier and faster” to transfer the property upon her death.
And, in May 2010, McRae executed the legal title transfer believing she would retain the beneficial interest in the property.
The Senfts claim that McRae intended to gift the property to them and that she told them they “could do what they liked with the property.”
On Dec. 9, 2014, McRae also gave Angela power of attorney.
But in the fall of 2016, the relationship between the Senfts and McRae allegedly began to deteriorate.
McRae claims that in June 2017, she sent a letter to the Senfts saying she wanted them to be removed from the title to her property and that she was revoking her will and testament.
She then destroyed the documents in front of witnesses and made a new will, bequeathing nothing to the Senfts.
The Senfts filed a lawsuit against McRae in October 2017 claiming she is denying them access to the property, which they legally own.
While the Senfts claim they were not compensated for materials or labour for maintenance, repairs, construction and renovations to the home, McRae claims she paid for all work that she requested or approved.
She also alleges she provided Angela with a meal three times a week for which she was not compensated.
Both parties also allege they were the ones who paid for property taxes between 2011 and 2016.
In her statement of defence, McRae claims she “did not exercise free and informed thought” when she made the Senfts the joint owners of her property.
She is asking for their claim to be dismissed with costs.
McRae has also filed a counterclaim alleging she has suffered loss, damages and expenses from the Senfts’ alleged “wrongful conduct.”
None of the claims alleged in either suit, the statements of defence nor the counterclaim have been proven in court.