Andrew A. Duffy
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Former clients of disgraced Berkshire investment adviser Ian Thow are
buzzing over revelations some creditors have been sending him money in
Members of the creditor group, which claims Thow left the country owing
them in excess of $32 million after persuading them to invest in various
schemes, say they are frustrated and confused by the news some of their
own have continued to bankroll Thow.
According to documents filed in U.S. bankruptcy court in Seattle, Thow
appears to have received money from Nanaimo businessman Tom Harris and
Lethbridge, Alta., farmer Kevin Prins following Thow's declaration of
bankruptcy in July 2005.
Those documents include questions from
bankruptcy trustee Michael Cheevers, who is asking Thow for his
sources of income, places of residence and employment information.
The bankruptcy court ruled Thow had until March 12 to answer the
"So far he hasn't and we have started a court process to have the
court force him to do that," said Cheevers, noting a court date has
been set for June 14 in Seattle. "We're attempting to get
information, and in essence Mr. Thow has been reluctant to give us
any information on a voluntary basis.
"Whether or not he will have counsel
attending or whether he will take any notice, who knows, but we are
going through the process."
The question dealing with Harris asks
Thow to "please describe your relationship with Tom Harris. Include in
your description the amount of funds you have received from Harris, the
amount of funds you expect to receive from Harris in the future, and the
goods, services or consideration, if any, you provided in return for
Harris' payments to you."
Cheevers would not divulge how much Thow had received.
When asked what kind of documentation he had to prove Harris and Prins
had been sending Thow money, Cheevers replied: "Bank statements." And
when pressed if he had proof of these transactions, he said: "I think I
When reached for comment in Europe, Harris said: "I'd rather not make a
comment about it at this point in time."
Last week, Prins confirmed to the Vancouver Sun he had sent Thow money.
"For rent and stuff like that," he told Sun columnist David Baines,
though he refused to say how much. When asked why he would do this, he
replied, "my heart is a little soft."
Many of Thow's former clients, who have been taking part in the B.C.
Securities Commission's hearing into Thow's activities, were reluctant
to speak on the record. "It's hard to believe because [Harris] helped
organize the group," said one former Thow client.
Harris claims Thow owes him $820,000, while Prins claims $577,000.
Thow, who has neither attended the hearing nor appointed legal counsel
to represent his interests, called former Victoria clients Shirley
Garwood and Ron Black recently. They were among the 17 who received a
settlement from Berkshire.
The securities commission's hearing into Thow's conduct has adjourned
until June 6 in Vancouver.