Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Deh Cho Bridge builder Atcon "a corporate shell" had been "...losing money year after year after year" and owed roughly $250 million

Editor's note: The Times & Transcript has selected the Top News Stories of 2010. The following story is a part of that series, which will culminate with the year's Top 10 News Stories in the New Year's Day edition



"... But by January 2010 Atcon had been removed from the $165-million Deh Cho Bridge project in NWT which it had invested so much time and effort into - the Atcon thread began to unravel and many in New Brunswick who had dealt with the company knew what was likely coming.

And by March it was in a Miramichi courtroom struggling for survival, with the company's long list of creditors taking Tozer's empire to court over millions of dollars owed.

The saga of Atcon's finances quickly became an embarrassment, with a debt list released showing the company owed not only massive sums to large firms, but also owed as little as a few dollars here and there to Miramichi taxi companies and restaurants for tabs not paid up.

In total, Atcon owed roughly $250 million to several secured and unsecured creditors, including $50 million to the provincial government and $49 million to ScotiaBank.

Arguing on behalf of ScotiaBank, Atcon's primary lender, attorney Josh McElman painted a grim portrait of the company, saying that it was in no position to continue on.

"They're not doing construction work because (Atcon) Construction has no work, it's a corporate shell," McElman said.

"These companies have been losing money year after year after year."


The decision by the Graham [New Brunswick] government to hand over $50 million to a company with ties to the former premier's family - Graham's father was a board member on an Atcon subsidiary - ultimately played a role in the demise of the Liberal government in September.

The Atcon handout was viewed by many political observers as one of the main areas of discontent among voters in the last election, right behind the failed deal to sell portions of NB Power to Hydro Quebec. ..."