Documents detail Vaughan shooter’s conflict with condo board
Posted December 19, 2022 3:51 pm.
Last Updated December 22, 2022 3:00 pm.
The gunman responsible for killing five people and seriously injuring a sixth at a Vaughan condo on Sunday night was reportedly involved in a years-long dispute with the building’s board.
While the motive for the shooting is yet to be conclusively determined, police confirmed on Monday that three of the dead were board members.
In documents obtained by CityNews, the gunman, identified by police as Francesco Villi, claimed to be an architect and engineer. He lived in a one-bedroom unit above the building’s electrical room and complained of daily noise, odours, vibrations and heat emanating from it.
The documents date back to 2018 and state that Villi first complained about the issues in April 2017. He claimed the disturbance was having an effect on his health and well-being as well as the value of the unit, which he could not put on the market because of the ongoing issues.
In detailing the series of events related to Villi’s complaints, the documents say he had taken to keeping his main door open along with two windows in order to ventilate the unit properly and get rid of the alleged fumes and odours from the electrical room. He was sent a warning by property management advising against doing so in May 2017.
In June 2017, property management emailed Villi in response to complaints regarding chemical and burning commercial oil smells from the electrical room, stating that Vaughan Fire had cleared the electrical room and his suite. However, Villi held that this did not mean his complaints were unfounded or effectively resolved as he continued to experience disturbing noises and smells.
In addition, the documents reveal that Villi had taken to social media to share his grievances with the condo board with photographs and videos. The board took objection to Villi’s online behaviour, but he felt he was within his rights to express his concerns with the government of the condo corporation.
Villi went to great lengths to establish the validity of his claims.
In Sept. 2018, he invited a city inspector to inspect the noise, heat and possible electromagnetic waves coming from the electrical room.
The inspector reported that he felt vibrations on the floor of Villi’s unit because of the electrical room below it, tingly sensations due to electromagnetic waves and a tightness in his chest, possibly due to the fumes coming from the room. The inspector also reportedly checked the electrical room and suggested there may be insufficient ventilation.
In June 2019, Villi hired a commercial environmental assessment company to conduct an evening noise survey in his apartment to find out how much noise was being generated by the exhaust fan in the electrical room.
The assessment found that the fans came on several times an hour for about four minutes at a time, 24 hours a day. The noise levels noticeably increased in the entire apartment and created an annoyance that needed to be addressed and controlled.
Further, the assessment cited design plans for the electrical room that Villi obtained, which showed that a suspended ceiling was to be installed in the room to dampen the noise, but it was never done.
The report concluded that the lack of a suspended ceiling led to the ongoing noise problems and would greatly help in controlling it. It also suggested caulking holes in the ceiling drywall of the electrical room to block noise leakage points.
It appears none of the suggestions were acted upon.
Villi filed a lawsuit against six directors and officers of the board in 2020, alleging the board members “committed acts of crime and criminality from 2010 onwards.” He further alleged the directors had caused him five years of “torment” and “torture” related to alleged issues with the electrical room below his unit.
Justice Joseph Di Luca tossed the case this summer, calling it “frivolous” and “vexatious.”
Court documents also show the board sought a restraining order in 2018 against Villi for his “allegedly threatening, abusive, intimidating and harassing behaviour” towards the board, property management, workers and residents.
Further, in an application to the Ontario superior court of justice in April 2021, Villi claims a lawyer he had retained at the time, along with the condo board, was conspiring against him and attempting to murder him in his own home.
He claims the lawyer did not work effectively or sufficiently to represent him and his interests against the board and “left me to die” in an apartment where he could get no rest or sleep, exacerbated by the inability to leave due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In the hours leading up to the shooting, nine videos are posted on a Facebook profile for a man named Francesco Villi, most dated between Oct. 11 to Dec 13. He identifies himself and lists the address of the condo where the shooting took place, confirming he lives there.
Many of the videos documented calls with a lawyer regarding mediation with the condo board. It appears the lawyer represents the condo board and spoke about legal costs owing to the board.
He repeatedly referred to himself as a “sick man” and a “dying man,” reiterating that he “wanted to die in peace.” He also repeated his accusations that the condo board wanted to “murder” him or “destroy” him, calling it “premeditated murder.”
“In each and every way, this electrical room has destroyed my life,” he said in one video.
According to an Ontario court docket, Villi was due to appear in a courtroom on Monday for a hearing regarding legal actions he brought against the condo board and their counterclaim.
In the Facebook videos, it appears Villi was either not aware or did not agree to the court date and said he had “no strength” to attend court or prepare paperwork because he was “dying and sick.”
Justice Mary Vallee confirmed Villi had passed away and, in court documents, said, ” on the consent of the defendants, this action and the counterclaim are permanently stayed.”
With files from The Canadian Press