Judge approves settlement between Thibeault heirs and Peter Kelly (CAN)

Eight years, three months and four days after Mary Thibeault died, Peter Kelly is now free of her estate.

Today, justice Peter Rosinski signed an order accepting Kelly’s accounting of the estate and discharging Kelly of all further responsibilities.

The heirs’ lawyer, Larry Graham, has issued the following press release:

Mediated Confidential Settlement – Estate of Mary ThibeaultRegulations under the Probate Act of Nova Scotia allow persons interested in an estate with issues to be resolved to submit those issues to a mediator. The regulations mandate that the mediation process and its outcome be kept confidential.

Mr. Peter Kelly, former personal representative of the Estate of Mary Thibeault, and Elizabeth Herritt, successor personal representative, and their counsel, with the consent of all of the heirs of the Estate, agreed to participate in mediation. Mediation was successful and the Probate Court was so advised.

The Court has now issued an Order confirming approval of Mr. Kelly’s accounts and his discharge as personal representative. A copy of the court order is attached.

The terms of the settlement are confidential. The personal representatives, their counsel, and the heirs are not at liberty to disclose any of the terms of settlement.

All further inquires will be declined respectfully.

Rosinki’s order is here.

Since the terms of the agreement are confidential, we can only speculate, but obviously, the final accounting sits somewhere between Kelly’s October 3 accounting and the heirs’ full demands as put forward to the court. It’s our opinion that the heirs made a good case, and that they agreed to the mediated settlement suggests they got most, if not all, of what they wanted. The confidentiality clause can be a cover only for Peter Kelly, as he was the only one that had anything to lose.

So what happens now? Well, over the next few months, all the heirs, including the charities, will get the money they are owed from the estate. And after Peter Kelly pays whatever more into the estate, over and beyond the $145,000 he’s already paid back, he’ll be able to rest easy: the police repeatedly have told us there will be no criminal investigation and he will face no charges for removing over $160,000 from a dead woman’s personal bank account.

Has justice been served? Well, certainly not for the two heirs who have died in the eight years since Thibeault’s death, never receiving their full inheritance. Other heirs have not died, but have aged considerably—one is now over 100 years old—and missed out on their inheritances when perhaps they could’ve made better use of them. Of course, anyone, at any age, could use a $33,000 inheritance sooner, rather than later, especially since Kelly’s October 3 accounting included no interest for the money he had removed from, and then paid back to, the estate. Then there are the charities, some of which are due at least $60,000, which they certainly could have used over the long years while Kelly mishandled the estate.

In punishment for these wrongs inflicted on the other heirs, and on the wishes of Mary Thibeault, Kelly has suffered an irreparable harm to his reputation, and had to end his political career. He will, however, still receive a government pension valued at over $70,000 annually.

Readers can decide for themselves if this outcome is fair or serves the interests of justice.


Judge approves settlement between Thibeault heirs and Peter Kelly
Mediated agreement calls for confidentiality. Has justice been served?
Tim Bousquet
March 11, 2013
The Coast

Additional coverage:

Former Halifax mayor settles with Thibeault heirs
March 11, 2013
CBC News

The legal proceedings against former Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly in connection with his duties as the executor of an estate are now officially over.

He and the woman’s beneficiaries took part in mediation that has resulted in a settlement. A judge signed off on the agreement on Monday.

Lawyers involved in the settlement say there’s an agreement not to share any details.

It has been a long, and at times, acrimonious journey for both Kelly and the heirs to Mary Thibeault’s estate.

She died in 2004, appointing Kelly as executor.

It took years after she died for the beneficiaries of her will to get what she left them.

Last fall, Kelly filed his accounting of the administration of the will and agreed to step aside as executor.

That cleared the way for a mediated settlement.

According to Kelly’s final accounting, Thibeault’s estate was worth nearly $700,000.

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