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Man’s gay lover has no claim to estate: court

Relationship did not qualify as 'common-law'

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A “macho” Vancouver port worker hid his homosexuality from his family and friends for 66 years, and his secret gay lover will get nothing from his estate, ruled the BC Supreme Court on Fri, Aug 10.

Justice Marion Allan ruled that 42-year-old Reza Chowdhury has no interest in the Vancouver home of Peter Argenti, with whom Chowdhury claims he had a 14-year relationship.

Argenti transferred the property to his daughter Tina in Sep 2003 while in the hospital, and he died a week later following cancer surgery. Chowdhury argued that Argenti was not mentally competent at the time of the transfer.

Chowdhury told the court that he lived with Argenti in the house between 1993 and 1996 while the two managed an Italian restaurant together. In 1996, Argenti closed the restaurant, and Chowdhury moved to a small shabby basement apartment, paid for by Argenti. The two continued to see each other, testified Chowdhury, but they no longer lived together.

“The fact that Mr Chowdhury and Mr Argenti did not cohabit in a marriage-like relationship for the two years preceding Mr Argenti’s death is fatal to Mr Chowdhury’s claim that they were spouses,” wrote Allan in the court ruling.

Argenti had three children from a 1967 marriage that ended in 1993. His will — registered in Feb 2000 — instructed that his whole estate to be left to his daughter. The BC court ruling upheld the will and the daughter’s claim to the estate.