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by BETTER FARMING STAFF
Ontario’s former pigeon king is fighting efforts to force him into personal bankruptcy.
On Wednesday, in a London Superior Court of Justice in Bankruptcy and Insolvency courtroom, Waterloo lawyer Steven Gadbois filed notice of Arlan Galbraith’s intention to dispute an application to declare him bankrupt.
Galbraith is the founder of Pigeon King International Inc., a Waterloo, Ontario-based company that sold pigeon breeding pairs for as much as $500 and bought back offspring for up to $50 each. Galbraith declared the business bankrupt last summer, leaving roughly 1,000 investors in Canada and the United States with worthless pigeons.
He was not present at court on Wednesday.
Galbraith is not only asking the court to dismiss the bankruptcy application, but also to repeal the Nov. 12 appointment of BDO Dunwoody as interim receiver. BDO is also PKI’s bankruptcy trustee.
If there’s no bankruptcy, “there should be no receivership,” Gadbois said after the hearing, which lasted less than five minutes.
Today’s hearing left the interim receivership against Galbraith in place. On Dec. 9, lawyers representing both sides plan to ask the judge for a special appointment hearing.
That hearing likely won’t take place until the new year, said Jennifer Quick, a London-based lawyer working with Frank Highley, who is representing the creditor, Jim Wiersma.
Wiersma, of Fishersville, Ontario, is one of four creditor-appointed inspectors in the PKI bankruptcy. He claims there’s nearly $23,000 outstanding on a pigeon-breeding contract signed by Galbraith, personally.
While dealing with the Pigeon King International bankruptcy, BDO trustee Susan Taves identified approximately 450 breeders who may have had contracts with Galbraith personally and weren’t included as creditors in the corporate bankruptcy.
On Wednesday, Gadbois said once he becomes familiar with the file he will be in a better position to advise his client. He says Galbraith has some defenses available to him and will have to decide what he wants to do.
Waterloo Regional Police have conducted a lengthy investigation into the Pigeon King’s business practices and are scheduled to meet with the Crown prosecutor next week to decide whether any criminal charges will be laid. BF
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