Coquitlam Centre’s haunted house attraction folds; owner blames city as civil suits mount

There will be fewer Halloween scares in the Tri-Cities this year following the closure of a large haunted house attraction at Coquitlam Centre.

Two civil suits were filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Aug. 18, 2023 against Vancouver Horror Nights Entertainment Inc. (VHN) and its director Adam Moore, over unpaid debts totalling over $645,000.

The VHN hosted the huge “scream park” at the busy shopping centre last year after leaving the Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre and expanding to 15 times its original size.

The 100,000-square foot “Hollywood-level” event featured over 100 scare actors, two major haunted houses, escape rooms, and a bar and restaurant.

But reopening in the larger space did not go smoothly, according to a statement released by VHN on Sept. 18, which blamed the City of Coquitlam for many of its financial woes.

“Coquitlam’s building department did everything they could to continuously come up with new ways to delay our opening,” the release stated, claiming they were subject to overly onerous regulatory requirements.

“Each time we would finish complying with their requests, they would issue another full page of changes they wanted to see. The result was the attraction was not permitted to open until three weeks into October, which essentially financially decimated the company.

“Though we had plans to continue the attraction and make up the shortfall through private investment, it wasn’t meant to be. VHN was never truly financially stable and the delay from the city was the last straw.”

VHN was created in 2020 after the Giggle Dam Theatre was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It ran two successful Halloween events at the Port Coquitlam theatre with sold out nights and rave reviews, according to the company.

In February, 2023, the Giggle Dam announced it was closing after 21 years.

The statement from the VHN states the “creditors of the Giggle Dam came calling” and most of VHN’s assets from its first two years in operation were also seized by creditors.

“All of the mazes and attractions were built using Giggle Dam money, and thus we lost substantially all of our assets to the Giggle Dam’s creditors.”

But creditors are coming after VHN and Moore as well.

One of the civil suits was filed by Przemyslaw Cerazy, a consultant who said he had been hired as CFO of VHN in April, 2022.

Cerazy alleged the company and Moore owe him nearly $270,000 for unpaid services and loans he made on behalf of the company.

According to the civil claim, the terms of Cerazy’s consulting services were verbally agreed to, and Moore said he would sign off at a later date.

Relying on these promises, Cerazy states he worked for VHN from May, 2022 to February, 2023, and alleges he is owed over $78,000.

VHN was in the process of trying to acquire financing to purchase certain assets and equipment necessary for a haunted maze attraction in October, 2022, according to the claim.

Cerazy said Moore requested that he pay for the procurement of these assets as a temporary fix and promised to take personal responsibility for paying it off.

He said he used his personal funds to pay over $190,000.

When American Express began sending Cerazy statements with an outstanding balance of $115,000, he said he used personal assets to bring the amount owing down to $80,000.

Moore told Cerazy on multiple occasions that he had paid $65,000 to American Express through another company he owns called Telecom Holdings LLC., according to the claim.

But Cerazy claims that American Expressed told him that neither their American or Canadian offices had ever received this payment.

“Cerazy contacted Moore multiple times asking for receipt of the alleged payment,” the suit stated. “Despite numerous and repeated requests, Moore has failed or refused to provide such receipt.”

In a response to the suit, Moore denied ever contracting Cerazy’s services and denied that his company had ever entered into any agreement with him.

The second suit against VHN was filed by the Business Development Bank of Canada, stemming from a loan issued on Sept. 13, 2022, which was guaranteed by Moore.

VHN defaulted on the loan in mid-January, 2023, and the debt has risen to over $375,000 as of July 31.

The bank demanded payment in full on Aug. 1, and issued a notice of intention to enforce its security under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

Patrick Penner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Tri-Cities Dispatch