Friday, September 26, 2014

Gayle Strikes With A Gun dismissal upheld, AB Court of Queens Bench to convene at Piikani Nation regarding PIC insolvency

Chris Davis

Federal Court upholds Gayle Strikes With A Gun's dismissal

The case of Gayle Strikes With A Gun versus Piikani Nation was heard at the Federal Court on April 2, 2014. A decision rendered by The Honourable Madam Justice McVeigh on September 23, 2014 dismissed Strikes With A Gun's appeal to be reinstated as Piikani Chief.

Charges of nepotism and other issues regarding her relationship with some Piikani Nation administration staff members were cited by council as the cause of the suspension and eventual dismissal of Strikes With A Gun from the office of Chief.

Alberta Court of Queens Bench to hear proposal to address insolvency of PIC

Piikani Investment Corporation (PIC) was formed to administer a portion of a $64.3 million Settlement Agreement held by Piikani Trust for Piikani water rights and land that were affected when the Oldman River Dam was built.  PIC is now insolvent.  The RCMP were called into investigate suggested improprieties in 2013.

On September 28, 2014 beginning at 2:00 pm the Court of Queens Bench of Alberta will be convening at the Piikani Nation Community Hall regarding the Piikani  Investment Corporation Proposal, which proposes solutions to PIC's insolvency that are said to be intended to avoid PIC's bankruptcy and the financial chaos that event could cause the Piikani community.

From a draft of the PIC Proposal:
"Piikani Investment Corporation (“PIC” or the “Company”), being an insolvent person, by its court-appointed Liquidator, Grant Thornton Alger Inc., hereby submits the following Proposal pursuant to the provisions of Part III Division I of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act."
 Also from that draft document:
"The purpose of the Proposal is to put PIC in good financial standing and to compromise or further restructure Loans 1 through 6 in such a fashion that as much as possible may be repaid to the Investment Account of the Piikani Trust. It is estimated that approximately [$14.5 million – we should confirm this number is still accurate] exclusive of interest, will be repaid to the Trustee over time."
On February 25, 2013 Alger & Associates Inc. & Grant Thornton Alger Inc. released a document titled "Piikani Investment Corporation Proposal to Creditors", which attempts to address such questions as "Where did the money go".  From that document this screen capture of  a chart titled "How Much Is Owing":

Grant Thornton Alger Inc., successor of Alger & Associates Inc., was appointed Proposal Trustee on February 4, 2014. 

From a Grant Thornton website addressing the insolvency of the Piikani Investment Corportation: 
"Alger & Associates Inc. is the Court appointed Investigator of PIC under s. 14 of the Winding-up and Restructuring Act as a result of the provincial Court Action No. 0901-15297 which has resulted in a Court Order made October 22, 2009 appointing Alger & Associates Inc. as Investigators."
An August 29, 2014 filing to the Court of Queens Bench Alberta at the Judicial Centre of Calgary lists the plaintiffs as Piikani Nation and Chief Reg Crowshoe, and lists PIC as defendant.  That document states that the "aggregate disputed claims totalled 11 creditors in number and an alleged $1,336,059.80 in value.  These disputed claims represented 78.6% in number and 12.6% in value of all unsecured claims represented at the meeting."  The meeting referred to was a First Creditors Meeting held February 24, 2014.

Again from the August 29, 2014 filing:
"Subsequent to the Reconvened Creditors Meeting (held May 1, 2014), Grant Thornton completed issuing notices of disallowances to all creditors whose claims were in dispute and in accordance with the requirements of the claims procedures set out in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act."
The document goes on to state that only 2 claims remain which have not been conclusively disallowed.

Later the document states "The conduct of  PIC is the subject of significant further and other litigation".

The Proposal, which is to be the subject of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench visit to Piikani Nation, "provides an estimated $14.1 million of repayments to the Piikani Trust and $200,000 to unsecured creditors".  It states that in the case of bankruptcy the unsecured creditors would likely receive nothing and "The terms of the Proposal are therefore reasonable and calculated to benefit the general body of PIC's creditors".
"Given PIC's status as the only entity able to distribute trust funds as loans to other Piikani business entities, a bankruptcy of PIC would have both significant and unknown consequences to the future of the Piikani Trust (and correspondingly to the Piikani First Nation itself."
According to documents, PIC will continue to exist if the proposal is approved, but will never be allowed to directly borrow money again.

The proposal overview states:
  • A total of $14.75 (million) to be paid back at 1% interest over 25 years
  • POHLP debt to be repaid in full over 25 years
  • Piikani Nation debt to PEC to be repaid over 25 years ($1.25 million)
  • Piikani Nation to loan OIL the money to pay the principal OIL owes within the first 2 years. Interest will be written down.
  • Piikani Nation to loan to PIC $1.5 Million to put toward its debt over 25 years. 
  • The balance owing by PIC will be written down.
  • Unsecured creditors will share in a small pool of money
  • Numerous legal actions will be dealt with.

Earlier this week several people spoke at an impromptu press event in Piikani, voicing their opposition to the proposal and to the upcoming presence of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench on Piikani Nation soil. Speaking first in the following video is Piikani citizen Angela Wolf Tail, who organized the press event.  She is followed by Domenic Crowshoe.  They and others expressed their concerns about several issues, including an allegedly proposed $2 million hockey rink in Brocket, the dismissal of Strikes With A Gun, council making decisions of this importance with an election looming, and the "third world" conditions at Piikani Nation.

There is, assuredly, more to come on this story.

The Piikani Nation general election is scheduled for January 2015. Piikani Nation council is elected for 4 year terms.

Related stories:
Chief Gayle Strikes With A Gun suspended by Piikani Council
Gayle Strikes With A Gun removed from office as Chief of Piikani Nation
Piikani Chief's supporters rally in Brocket
Related links:
Piikani Investment Corporation Proposal to Creditors

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