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Former Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths tries to avoid declaring bankruptcy


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http://www.theprovince.com/news/Former+Canucks+owner+Arthur+Griffiths+tries+avoid+declaring+bankruptcy/9812791/story.html

Former Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths tries to avoid declaring bankruptcy
One-time sports mogul owes more than $2 million
BY DAN FUMANO, THE PROVINCE MAY 7, 2014
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9812792.jpg
Arthur Griffiths is shown in 2008 after declaring his candidacy for the provincial Vancouver-West End riding. According to documents filed Monday with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, Griffiths, the former local sports mogul and scion of a famed B.C. business family, has liabilities of $2,092,577 and total assets of $36,970. Photograph by: Jason Payne , PROVINCE

Arthur Robert Griffiths, the former owner of the Vancouver Canucks, has filed for creditor protection in an attempt to reach a settlement with creditors and get out of debt without declaring bankruptcy.

According to documents filed Monday with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, Griffiths, the former local sports mogul and scion of a famed B.C. business family, has liabilities of $2,092,577 and total assets of $36,970.

On Tuesday, Griffiths told The Province that his current situation was largely the result of bad business deals.

“It’s mostly associated with a company I was involved with,” Griffiths said. “The directors of that company left me holding the bag, and they left the country.”

Griffiths said he has been living in Vancouver for about a year now, after some time overseas.

He said he has not declared bankruptcy, but has filed a commercial proposal, which is an attempt to reach a settlement to pay back his creditors.

“The amount of the obligations are amortized over a period of time, and a proposal has been made based on the ability to support those payments,” he said.

If Griffiths’ creditors vote to accept the proposal, he will pay them an agreed-upon amount over the next five years.

If more than half the creditors vote to reject the proposal, Griffiths will go into bankruptcy. This kind of commercial proposal is available only if the debtor is insolvent, said Bill Millar, assistant superintendent of the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.

This week’s proposal was filed by Griffiths’ appointed trustee, Abakhan & Associates, a B.C.-based debt-relief firm.

George Abakhan, the person responsible for Griffiths’ file, said: “Mr. Griffiths has filed it on the basis that he anticipates it will be (accepted). He’s certainly giving as much money as he possibly can under his present circumstances.”

“This is kind of the end of the road, really,” said Abakhan.

Griffiths’ Statement of Affairs, filed Monday with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, lists 11 creditors, including the Canada Revenue Agency, HSBC Bank Canada, and Coast Capital Savings Credit Union. The sworn statement from Griffiths, under the reasons for financial difficulties, reads: “Inability to collect on my contingent liability. My income is insufficient to service the debt load. I can no longer meet my financial obligations as they generally become due.”

B.C. court records show that creditors, including Coast Capital Savings Credit Union and Safeco Mortgage Ltd., have filed civil claims against Griffiths in recent years, in connection with unpaid loans and lines of credit.

The Griffiths family owned the Canucks for more than 20 years, from 1974 when Arthur’s father Frank bought the team, until Arthur Griffiths sold his remaining shares in 1997.

Griffiths was instrumental in the construction of the team’s current downtown arena, General Motors Place (now Rogers Arena).

But Griffiths’ legacy in Vancouver extended far beyond hockey.

He served as the chairman of the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Bid Society, playing a crucial role in bringing the 2010 Olympic Winter Games to B.C. Griffiths also helped bring the NBA to Vancouver, and was the owner of the Vancouver Grizzlies. He founded Canuck Place in 1995, the first free-standing children’s hospice in North America.

He also made a brief foray into B.C. politics, running unsuccessfully in the 2008 provincial election as the Liberal candidate for the Vancouver-West End riding. The Province endorsed Griffiths in his bid for provincial office.

Province sports columnist Tony Gallagher, who covered his first Canucks game for the paper in 1972, said Tuesday the Griffiths family’s sporting legacy in Vancouver is “phenomenal.”

“It’s just so profoundly sad,” Gallagher said. “He just didn’t seem to have the same financial acumen as his dad.”

Gallagher said Griffiths experienced financial troubles ever since the massive cost overruns associated with the construction of GM Place.

“To his credit, he never pandered for any public money (in the construction of the arena), he put it all up by himself,” Gallagher said. “It was a phenomenal endeavour that he did that. Very beneficial to the Vancouver taxpayer.”

On a personal level, Gallagher said Arthur Griffiths “was terrific, just great to deal with. The whole family was.”

“I really feel sad for him, I think a lot of people do.”

dfumano@theprovince.com

twitter.com/fumano

© Copyright © The Province

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Compare Arthur to that slimeball in Edmonton, who flew to Seattle to put pressure on the City of Edmonton to have his arena built, or the many other owners who tried the same. He built GM Place with his money, brought the Grizzlies to Vancouver, as well as starting the Canuck Place facility all under his tenure as an owner. Too bad many more of them weren't like him. Very unfortunate, but he'll get back on his feet, and hopefully track the scumbags down that bailed on him.

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"has liabilities of $2,092,577 and total assets of $36,970"

...And he's trying to avoid bankruptcy?

Too late, dude.

That's the diffence between him and you. He refuses to accept that and instead is willing to take personal responsiblity for his debts. He will succeed and he will be back in the saddle. This much I can guarantee you. You will have to look far and wide to find a much more honorable person in the business world.
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Uh...his family had a media empire. Is this his personal finances, because I'm pretty sure the rest of the Griffiths clan still has millions.

If he invested that poorly, wow.

If I had hundreds of millions. Most of my money would be tied up in real estate.

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Uh...his family had a media empire. Is this his personal finances, because I'm pretty sure the rest of the Griffiths clan still has millions.

If he invested that poorly, wow.

If I had hundreds of millions. Most of my money would be tied up in real estate.

A good chunk of mine would too, including owning an island somewhere.

Then I want to run a VC firm. I think I would be very good at that, if I have the dough....

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Good man. He lost a lot of money with the Canucks too during the late 90's dark ages.

Getting NBA team was bad idea and no doubt he lost alot of money from it. He didn't have clue about basketball and the team was so awful and never stood chance because of who was running Grizzlies. Got greedy instead of focusing on Canucks.

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Uh...his family had a media empire. Is this his personal finances, because I'm pretty sure the rest of the Griffiths clan still has millions.

If he invested that poorly, wow.

If I had hundreds of millions. Most of my money would be tied up in real estate.

The key phrase is "his family had a media empire". They no longer have one. His father, Frank, once owned WIC (Western International Communications) that included CNNW and Chan TV(now Global). WIC was sold sold to CanWest which was bought up by Shaw. Corus Entertainment is part of Shaw and they own CKNW and specialty tv channels.

How much of the millions earned by the sale of WIC went to Arthur? Who knows. The other members of the Griffiths family have no obligation to bail out Arthur.

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That's the diffence between him and you. He refuses to accept that and instead is willing to take personal responsiblity for his debts. He will succeed and he will be back in the saddle. This much I can guarantee you. You will have to look far and wide to find a much more honorable person in the business world.

What the...?

There are a number of differences between him and me. One being that I'm not bankrupt, and don't over-extend myself.

And one difference between myself and you is that I realize that honor in the business world is not an automatic recipe for success. If anything, it can be a deterrent to wealth. Just ask any of the millionaires we bailed out with taxpayer dollars.

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The key phrase is "his family had a media empire". They no longer have one. His father, Frank, once owned WIC (Western International Communications) that included CNNW and Chan TV(now Global). WIC was sold sold to CanWest which was bought up by Shaw. Corus Entertainment is part of Shaw and they own CKNW and specialty tv channels.

How much of the millions earned by the sale of WIC went to Arthur? Who knows. The other members of the Griffiths family have no obligation to bail out Arthur.

I'm just curious how much money that he burned through, because it couldn't be the entire family fortune.

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I'm just curious how much money that he burned through, because it couldn't be the entire family fortune.

Well we really have no idea what the "Family fortune" ever was. Owning a few radio stations without an idea of the debt load on them doesnt tell us much.The Canucks lost a lot of money for a fair number of years while they owned them and he overextended himself in paying for the new arena and entering the NBA, so much so that he was forced to sell everything. There is a good possibility that the fortune by the time he sold was near nothing.

I like him. He seems like a good guy and I hope he comes out of this as well as possible.

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The fact that he paid for the new arena entirely out of his pockets is another factor in his downfall probably. How many teams in major leagues basically hold the city hostage demanding them to pay for new facilities or they will move? Demanding tax incentives, free land etc etc etc. Happens all the time. Even Uber Billionaire Paul Allen had Washington state pay for the then new Football stadium the Seahawks play in by holding a statewide vote and issuing bonds so he could build it with practically no money out of pocket (the bonds have now been paid back in full and the people who purchased those bonds did well on the returns) and that guy has far more money then the Griffiths ever dreamed of having.

EDIT: The bonds have not been paid back as the remainder of them mature in 2021. The 2% tax on hotel rooms in King county will expire with the bonds.

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