|Embattled investment adviser surfaces
|After fleeing Victoria, Ian Thow now faces
bankruptcy hearing in U.S.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Former Victoria investment adviser Ian Thow has surfaced in Seattle, where
he appears to be living after crossing the border last week. A televised
news report from Seattle on Thursday showed Thow, who is under RCMP
investigation for possible securities fraud, saying media reports have
been unfair and that he has been told not to comment.
Vancouver lawyer Katherine Ducey, who represents Richmond's Goodwin
family, which has a claim against Thow, said the U.S. bankruptcy trustee
is working on arranging a creditors' meeting. It is scheduled to be held
on Oct. 13 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Seattle.
"If the meeting happens, I expect we will attend," she said Thursday.
The notice sent to creditors said that the creditors and the trustee will
be able to examine Thow under oath, Ducey said.
Daniel Forsch, bankruptcy trustee in Edmonds, Wash., could not be reached
Thursday. Ducey said he is looking into jurisdictional issues between
Canada and the U.S.
Trustees have been appointed in both Canada and Washington state to deal
with the financial issues surrounding the flamboyant Thow, who failed to
show up in Victoria Monday for a scheduled meeting to propose a way to
settle his debts. An unidentified backer also did not appear to offer $5
million in support.
Total unsecured claims against Thow in Canada amounted to $32 million as
Vancouver trustee Michael Cheevers said that the only major asset to deal
with liabilities is Thow's Saanich Peninsula waterfront home, which has
only $1.5 million to $2 million in equity.
Thow filed for bankruptcy in Washington state last week. He crossed the
border into the U.S. early on Sept. 8. A warrant for his arrest under the
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act has been issued in Canada but it is not an
Richmond creditor Brad Goodwin, Ducey's client, is not planning to go to
Seattle next month for Thow's creditors' meeting. "I don't think he will
show up," he said.
Documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court include many creditors from
Canada. The total liability for Thow listed in the U.S. court stands at
$19.24 million. Of that, $4.8 million is described as secured.
Most of the 118 creditors listed in the U.S. documents are classified as
unsecured, with many claim amounts still "unknown."
Thow is not listed in Seattle's telephone directory. His lawyer did not
return calls on Thursday. A court document states his address as 215 First
Ave. W., a seven-storey, 102-unit apartment building called Metro on
Chris Gerhardt, building property manager, said information is not given
out on tenants. He would not say whether Thow is a renter.
The four-year-old building is north of downtown and close to the water,
Gerhardt said. A couple of two-bedroom apartments are available, with rent
ranging from $1,750 per month for an 855 square-foot-unit to $1,895 for a
Meanwhile, in Victoria, Susan Grennier, co-owner of Parsonage Cafe on
North Park Street, which has a claim of $100,000 against Thow, is hoping
her husband Rob will attend the creditors' meeting in Washington.
The couple had invested with Thow for 15 years, she said. "We considered
him a friend."
Grennier said they live middle-class lives and have worked long hours. "It
took us years and years and years to save that money."
Retired View Royal couple Irving and Joyce Lozier, have a claim of
$325,000 against Thow. Irving Lozier, 85, said their money had been in
Lozier, who taught for 35 years, is trying to take a positive approach.
"We can still live. That is about all that counts." He is optimistic that
some of the money will be recovered.
Reef Condominium Development Ltd. is claiming $522,728. Thow bought a
couple of condominiums, including one commercial unit, said developer A.
Fraser McColl, a principal in the James Bay project. The Reef company
helped finance part of the purchase price.