Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Tampa Bay Lightning co-owner Len Barrie leaves angry investors and creditors in his wake

Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper did a story for Wednesday's edition about the continuing saga of former Tampa Bay Lightning co-owner Len Barrie, who is facing lots of problems in connection with the bankruptcy of his Bear Mountain Resort, money from which he allegedly used to help purchase the Lightning.

The story also contains a list of NHL investors who put money into Bear Mountain and, according to the story, likely will not see any financial relief from the bankruptcy proceeding.

The story was written by David Shoalts and Eric Duhatschek:

"TORONTO and GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Len Barrie's misadventure in leading the Bear Mountain golf resort and real-estate development into bankruptcy left more than 100 angry investors and creditors in its wake, including 18 current and former National Hockey League players who lost a total of more than $13-million.

"Sean Burke, goaltender coach for the Phoenix Coyotes, is one of the unfortunate 18, having lost more than $600,000. What angers him more than losing the money is the impression Barrie, who used his share of Bear Mountain to help buy part of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008, is not going to face any consequences.

"How does a guy get away with being able to build something to that level, with everybody else's money, and then not be accountable at the end of the day?" Burke said. "He's walking away with a hell of a lot more than he ever walked in [with], whereas everybody else is walking away with nothing."

"Burke and his fellow investors will see nothing from the bankruptcy settlement. The majority of Bear Mountain was taken over by its biggest creditor, HSBC Canada, last fall.

"The bank agreed to pay a group of unsecured creditors $500 each with a promise that if a sale of the assets exceeded $195-million in the next three years, some of the excess would go to them. No such promises were made to the investors.

"However, on Friday afternoon in a Victoria courtroom, Barrie, 41, will have to provide answers for at least some of his actions at the nearby resort. He is facing charges under the Income Tax Act for not filing tax returns for 2008 and 2009 for Bear Mountain Projects, a small company connected to Bear Mountain Master Partnership, the parent company of the development.

"There may be more trouble on the horizon for the former NHL player and owner. In addition to a Canada Revenue Agency investigation, the RCMP's commercial crime unit on Vancouver Island is interviewing people connected with Barrie and Bear Mountain.

"Scott Bye, a former member of Bear Mountain's executive committee, confirmed Tuesday he was interviewed by the RCMP, as did another source who did not want to be identified.

"In September of 2009, several months before Bear Mountain wobbled into bankruptcy protection, Bye said Barrie admitted using company funds to buy his share of the Lightning.

"Barrie denied any wrongdoing at the time and did so again Tuesday. He also said the tax returns in question are now filed. "Everything should be done and filed," Barrie said.

"Barrie added that he is not aware of an RCMP investigation. The RCMP did not respond to a request for comment.

"As for Burke and the other unhappy investors, Barrie said that is just the way the ball bounces in the real-estate game. Bear Mountain was caught in the vise of the recession, which dried up bank credit, and falling real-estate prices.

"No one's very happy," Barrie said. "What can you do? The world blew up. It was one of those things that happens. It didn't work out.

"I don't think Sean Burke understands everything. You've just got to start all over again. Things were great for eight years and then the world blew up."

"What Burke doesn't understand is how Barrie can maintain what appears to be an upscale lifestyle in the wake of the resort's collapse and the loss of so much money.

"Basically, what he did was turn all this into his own personal bank account," Burke said. "At the end of the day, when all is said and done, he just funded a lifestyle for himself with everybody else's money. He was able to buy an NHL hockey club. He was able to do other investments around B.C. And here you've got these investors, ex-hockey players, who lost anywhere between $650,000 to a million."

"Burke says he's come to terms with the fact that his investment is lost for good.

"Okay, I lost some money," Burke said. "I've lost money in other investments. You go into investments, you know there's some risk."

"Barrie still has a home at Bear Mountain that was worth millions of dollars at one time. It was thought to be under foreclosure proceedings, but Barrie said Tuesday it is not even for sale.

"We'll see," he replied when asked if it could wind up on the block.

"As for whether he made a deal with HSBC in connection with the loans in excess of $300-million the bank made to Bear Mountain, Barrie declined to comment.

"Burke is waiting to see what happens next for Barrie.

"My opinion with Lennie is, I hope he hasn't done anything that lands him in jail," Burke said. "But if that's the case, then you walk away and say, well, it's a lesson in investing."

Here is a list of NHL investors and what they invested:

Mike Vernon $2-million (plus $7.6-million loan guarantee with HSBC)

Ray Whitney $3-million

Mike Sillinger $1.4-million

Rob Blake $600,000

Sean Burke $600,000

Trevor Kidd $600,000

Scott Mellanby $600,000

Joe Nieuwendyk $600,000

Gary Roberts $600,000

Brian Savage $600,000

Ryan Smyth $600,000

Brian Carlin $600,000

Wes Walz $500,000

Jeff Finley $300,000

Todd Simpson $300,000

Matt Pettinger $150,000

Rob Niedermayer Unknown

Greg Adams Unknown

Source: Supreme Court of British Columbia

Former Tampa Bay Lightning co-owner Len Barrie leaves angry investors and creditors in his wake 01/26/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 6:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games

    Minors

    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.