howtheduck (howtheduck) wrote in binky_betsy,

In 2004, Dr. Rod Johnston bought a building and I analyze it in retrospect

As I was toodling around the internet, I found this article from 2004 I had never seen before and it sort of explains a few things.

I will quote the article and make comments after the cut

Dr. Rod Johnston has purchased the North Bay Hydro building.
May 3, 2004 by: Staff

Johnston calls hydro building a "very good" investment. Dr. Rod Johnston has purchased the North Bay Hydro building. Johnston, the chairman of Community Waterfront Friends, paid $1.1 million for the Fisher Street building after touring it during the last few weeks.

In The Comic Art of Lynn Johnston, Lynn described how she and Rod struggled over his choices for investing the family money vs. her own opinions. Rod's ideas appear to be pretty expensive. We can see from the timing of it that this was a good 3 years before their divorce in 2007 and 2 years after Rod sold his dental business, so my guess is that this was a part of Rod finding something to do after Lynn failed to retire in 2004. I can also see why Lynn might have some issues with Rod doing this kind of thing. $1.1 million is not a small amount of money and I feel fairly certain that Lynn did not want her money spent on anything that was not Lynn-related.

Johnston, the chairman of Community Waterfront Friends, paid $1.1 million for the Fisher Street building after touring it during the last few weeks.

“It’s a beautiful building in beautiful shape and there’s virtually nothing that will have to be done to it, maybe some painting and planting some flowers,” Johnston said.

“The carpet is like new, and everything inside is amazingly nice, so it looks like North Bay Hydro really took care of it. And when we saw the price we knew it would be a very good investment.”

And what does Rod plan to do with it?

Current location
Once he takes possession of the 1,858-sq. metre building at the end of May, Johnston said he’ll become a commercial landlord and lease space out.

He is going to own the horses and rent out.

Had the timing of the sale been a little different, Johnston added, his wife, For Better or For Worse cartoonist Lynn Johnston, would have moved her studio into the building.

It will remain in its current location, on MacPherson Drive, in Corbeil.

Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Lynn Johnston move her studio to North Bay instead of being within walking distance of her house? Not likely. There is nothing about the timing of the sale that would made that happen. However, it does tell us the way Rod was probably trying to convince Lynn that the purchase was a good one for her business. It also tells us that Rod failed to convince Lynn and he knew he failed before the sale was even complete.

So why did Rod go for it?

Found what he was looking for
Johnston said he had wanted to become involved in a commercial venture for a while and even considered purchasing the MCTV building on Oak Street.

But it wasn’t until he was taken through the hydro building, which includes a 743-sq. metre garage, that Johnston knew he found what he was looking for.

“We have a manager at Lynn’s studio who suggested we go see the building,” Johnston said.

Could this be the same manager with whom Rod was having his affair? Signs point to "Yes." The sale of the building may not have anything to do with the affair, but not mentioning the manager's name does seem a little suspicious.

“I thought it would be all chopped up inside, but then I’d only been on the first floor paying a bill.”

Hydro bill I am going to guess.

Really nice view
Johnston said he was particularly impressed with the third floor of the building, which has wall to wall windows on all four sides.

“You can see the bypass and Thompson Park, so it’s got a really nice view,” Johnston said.

He added the building would be perfect for a courier company because of the large amount of floor space and the garage.

Take note, courier companies. Rod wanted your business.

Word slipped out
Mac Bain, chairman of North Bay Hydro, said a new conference had planned for next Monday to announce the sale.

Word slipped out earlier, though, and Cogeco North Bay News broke the story, with Johnston's confirmation, during its early evening and late newscasts Monday.

"Apparantly that news conference won't be held now," Bain said.

Very interesting and a little suspicious. Sounds like someone felt the need to break the news a little early. I don't know why though.

He also declined to confirm the purchase.

"The holding company has an offer and I can't speak to it because the perspective purchaser has certain conditions which, to our knowledge and our solicitor's knowledge, we don't know if they've been lifted yet," Bain said.

"So it would be inappropriate to talk to it at this time."

Johnson said he hadn't spoken about the sale prior to being contacted by Cogeco.

Rod Johnston said he wasn't the one who broke the sale early. He just confirmed what the news people asked him. We know if Lynn broke the news early, she would have her name all over it. So that means it might have been that unnamed manager. And what about those "certain conditions." Did revealing the purchase to the news cause those conditions to be lifted? Is that the reason why the news was leaked to the press? Sadly, there are no more news articles I can find on this subject.

Nevertheless, this deal has a stink of subterfuge about it and gives some credence to Lynn's idea in The Comic Art of Lynn Johnston that people were acting against her wishes.


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