Saturday, July 30, 2005
A Victoria senior who invested hundreds of thousands of dollars with
embattled investment adviser Ian Thow says he never worried about whether
his money was safe.
Irving Lozier, an 85-year-old retired teacher, said as far as he was
concerned, he was investing with Berkshire Investment Group, where Thow
was employed until May 31.
"[Thow] was a marvellous talker," said Lozier, who is listed in public
documents as being owed $325,000, but said his investment was far more.
"It's something, it's amazing."
Lozier's claim against Thow is one of 58 totalling about $42 million filed
by individuals and companies. On Thursday, a receiver was appointed in the
case. Neither Thow nor his lawyer could be reached for comment Friday.
Brad Goodwin, whose family invested over $1.3 million with Thow, described
him as "the most charming man." "He made you feel so good about having him
as an investment adviser," said the 45-year-old former airline pilot. Now
living on a disability pension, Goodwin said he invested about $568,000
with Thow, although he managed to get much of it back and is now owed
"He worked us and he worked us over and put us under his spell," said
But once Goodwin had handed over all his available money, including a
mortgage taken out on a previously clear-title home, Thow's manner
changed, he said.
Telephone calls were ignored. E-mails went unanswered. And Thow's manner
actually became "ugly," said Goodwin.
While he was with Berkshire, the high-flying Thow had four planes, a
helicopter, flashy cars, a waterfront mansion in rural Saanich and a
Victoria penthouse condo, among other assets valued at more than $20
But apart from the house, it was all financed, and many of those loans are
now being called in.
Those stepping up to reclaim money from Thow range from the wealthy and
successful -- such as Thrifty Foods chairman Alex Campbell, who's claiming
about $4 million -- to people such as Lozier and Goodwin.
Receiver Michael Cheevers of Vancouver's Wolrige Mahon Ltd. said anyone
else owed money by Thow should contact him quickly, and be prepared to
supply copies of all transaction records.
That means they should gather up copies of cheques and backs of cheques --
anything to show money handed over to Thow.
"Our biggest task is to try and account for all the transactions that have
taken place," said Cheevers. "Part of our accounting is who paid how much
to Mr. Thow and when."
The B.C. Supreme Court justice in Vancouver who appointed the receiver --
whose job is to try to get as much of the creditors' money back as
possible -- rejected calls to put Thow into bankruptcy, giving him 30 days
to work out a proposal for repayments. The decision was based in part on
the prospect, raised in court by Thow's lawyer, of a $5-million loan to
Thow from an unnamed third party.
Once Thow's repayment proposal is completed, creditors will be asked to
accept or reject the deal at a meeting that must be held within 21 days.
Berkshire Investment Group, which has dissociated itself from Thow's
"outside business activities," sent no representatives to Thursday's court
Creditors who wish to contact the receiver can call Michael Cheevers, at
604-684-6212, Wolrige Mahon Ltd. 9th Floor, 400 Burrard St., Vancouver.