By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Aug 10, 2013
The legal bills keep coming; the files in the folders bloat with documents and time passes.
Yet, the one thing they have been waiting for is elusive: payment for an honest day’s work.
It’s been almost three years since a Richmond-based contractor and some local subcontractors waged a legal battle for payment, and justice, for their work on the formerly Holiday Inn hotel.
They are owed thousands of dollars by the Squamish JV Ltd, the then owner of Holiday Inn Express.
The hotel went into receivership with unpaid debts of $11.7 million on Aug. 31, 2010.
Court documents indicate that the lenders for the project, Servus Credit Union Ltd. and Concentra Financial Services, requested the property be put into receivership because of an outstanding $8.9 million mortgage.
The final sale price of the property was $5.81 million, which left little for contractors and subcontractors, including the District of Squamish, which is owed $94,631.
More than 18 liens were filed by contractors and subcontractors from B.C. in 2010.
Since then, five people joined hands to pursue a legal case.
Coltor Development, along with Granite Art Masonry, Fisher Painting, Pipeline Mechanical has filed a legal case against Squamish JV limited, and the bank to claim some of their money.
Coltor Development, a Richmond-based business, is owed close to $450,000.
“That is a lot of money, and it just hurts the bottom line when you lose that kind of money,” said Kelly Leroux, the vice-president of the Coltor.
Three years later, the court proceedings are at the discovery stage, but he wants to pursue the case.
“We warned them, if we don’t get paid, we are not going to just roll over and go away.” Kelly Leroux, Vice-president of Coltor.
He’s also confident the company will recover some money.
At least for one subcontractor in Squamish, it’s much more than just the money.
This local business owners didn’t want to get his name published, but said he was owed close to $75,000.
There had been inkling the project was in financial trouble, but he kept on working, hoping that he would be paid.
“I’d rather spend $10,000 on payments to lawyers than walk away from it,” he said.
Working hard and not getting paid can be an incredibly frustrating experience for anyone.
Still, by the time financial trouble arise, most people have already committed so much of their time and effort, they just hope things will turn around and they will get paid.
Last month, we reported on how local subcontractors who worked on two Squamish projects are still waiting to be paid.
When developments like Renaissance and Skye went into receivership two years ago, they left in their wake local contractors like Darren Pelling with thousands of dollars in unpaid bills.
The liens he and other contractors filed have proved to be ineffective because the banks get priority over any money in a court-ordered sale.
With money paid off to the mortgage lenders, little, if any, trickles down to contractors and subcontractors.
“At the end of the day, no trades ever got any money,” Pelling said.