Woman says she was bullied by landlord La

Five months of renting from a Mountie accused of bullying his tenants left one of them so distraught, she sought treatment for depression.

Five months of renting from a Mountie accused of bullying his tenants left one of them so distraught, she sought treatment for depression.

Ginia Demyen finished her testimony on Tuesday in the trial of RCMP Const. Hoa Dong La, 47, who is charged with extortion, criminal harassment and mortgage fraud in relation to five different properties in Innisfail, Bowden and the surrounding area.

La, who is on paid leave and not being held in custody, is being tried in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench before Justice David Gates. La works in Calgary and lives in Airdrie.

Questioned by Crown prosecutor Leah Boyd, Demyen testified that she was so afraid of La, she would not give him a forwarding address and went into hiding for two years after leaving the Bowden-area acreage she and her partner, Jason Bell, had rented from him during the late winter and early spring of 2004.

Demyen said she and Bell were under “constant harassment” from La, who would park in their yard, enter the property without giving advance notice, threaten that harm would come to their animals and who served them with more than a dozen eviction notices.

Following a meeting mediated by the Alberta Landlords and Tenants board that February, an agreement was struck which would allow Demyen and Bell to break the terms of their lease and vacate the property on July 31.

It included provisions requiring La to return their damage deposit and pay $400 in living expenses as prescribed at the time under the Landlords and Tenants Act.

However, La was “very upset” afterward and the harassment continued, Demyen testified.

“He was trying to find some way to get rid of us,” she said.

Her fears escalated when she came home one day to find her dog missing from the yard, where it had been tied to a dog house and when La threatened to either destroy or remove her horses.

Demyen said she and Bell led the horses to a neighbouring property after coming home to find a notice from the Alberta SPCA posted on one of the doors to the house.

She spoke with the officer who posted the notice and was told that her horses could be in danger.

Earlier on, she and Bell were also told they would have to pay for reconnection fees and the damages to an electrical cable after a grass fire that started on the property while they were both away.

Neighbours had called the fire department, but Demyen and Bell had not seen the damage because they were not at home during daylight hours.

More trouble erupted when La discovered that Demyen had struggled with an unusually high electrical bill at the end of April because she had not submitted meter readings.

Demyen testified that La had the Central Alberta Rural Electrification Association cut the power off early in May, and then brought a couple of men out to remove the firewood that was her and Bell’s only source of heat.

There was enough firewood to cover the bed of a truck, of which half belonged to La while she and Bell had put up the remainder, she said.

Demyen testified that La followed their convoy of vehicles on May 17 when she and Bell moved out with help from her uncle and parents.

She said she hid out until November of 2006, when Cpl. Peter Le Blanc of the Sundre RCMP came to speak with her about her dealings with La.

She was later contacted by another of La’s tenants, who was planning to sue him for damages.

Demyen said she declined to participate in the proposed lawsuit, but had attempted to seek $28,000 in restitution from La, including five months rent, damage deposit and personal damages including the depression she suffered and the resulting impact on her marks in college.

She did not pursue the application because she couldn’t afford it.

La’s trial, expected to last four weeks in total, has been adjourned until Monday.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Higher sales of cannabis helped Canadian farmers come out in the green. (Black Press Media File)
Drumheller RCMP lay charge for unlawfully distributing cannabis

A joint forces investigation involving the AGLC investigation team partnered with Drumheller… Continue reading

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19.  (File photo)
Alberta identifies 1,828 new COVID-19 cases on Friday

Central zone has 1,251 active cases

Three weapons have been seized and four people are facing charges following a police operation in central Alberta. (Photo contributed by RCMP)
RCMP, Lacombe Police seize loaded guns, arrest four people

Four people have been arrested and multiple prohibited firearms are off the… Continue reading

The Salvation Army's 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign includes a new $5 tap feature for pandemic-friendly donations. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Salvation Army officers safe, touchless options for Kettle donation this year

The Salvation Army in Red Deer needs help. Kettle donations are needed… Continue reading

The Central Alberta Humane Society is looking for volunteers. (Photo contributed)
Central Alberta Humane Society looking for volunteers

The Central Alberta Humane Society is in need of volunteers Dec. 11… Continue reading

Dan Cochrane, senior pastor at CrossRoads Church. Contributed photo
CrossRoads Church closes its doors for two weeks after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

CrossRoads Church made the decision to cancel in-house services for two weeks… Continue reading

Lacombe Police and RCMP have charged four people and seized three loaded guns and a small amount of methamphetamine following a traffic stop on Dec. 2. (Photo contributed)
Lacombe Police and RCMP arrest four people after joint investigation

The operation resulted in multiple loaded weapons seized and 116 charges

Blank Unemployment Benefits form
Red Deer jobless rate down slightly in November

Red Deer’s unemployment rate dropped by half a per cent in November.… Continue reading

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia's deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting health during pandemic in B.C., survey shows

VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says a survey on… Continue reading

A woman pays her respects to victims of a mass shooting at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Three charged, including spouse, with supplying ammunition to N.S. mass shooter

HALIFAX — Three people, including the killer’s former spouse, have been charged… Continue reading

Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after 2 p.m. sunset on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Nunavut will look to get the Moderna vaccine once it is available in Canada. Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says Moderna is preferred because the cold storage and shipping of the Pfizer vaccine is too difficult in the northern territory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter
Moderna COVID vaccine best for Nunavut because of storage, shipping: top doctor

IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut is looking to get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau affirms farmers’ right to demonstrate after India criticizes his remarks

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy… Continue reading

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada’s COVID-19 case count passes 400,000 mark

OTTAWA — Canada has now recorded more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19… Continue reading

Longtime central Alberta politician Judy Gordon has passed away. Photo courtesy of the City of Lacombe
Former Lacombe Mayor Judy Gordon passes away

Gordon also served as MLA for Lacombe-Stettler before retiring from politics in 2010

Most Read