Two West Island senior homes owe at least $26 million

Future of eldercare centres uncertain

By Robert Frank
www.thesuburban.com

The fate of seniors living at two insolvent seniors residences in Dollard des Ormeaux could be decided later this week.

On Nov. 17, the owners of Château Dollard filed a notice under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act that they will make a proposal as to how they will deal with their creditors. Quebec Superior Court has given them until Jan. 27 to file the proposal.

At the same time, another court decision about Résidence Château Royal has compounded Château Dollard’s uncertainty.

Judge Jean-François de Grandpré issued a judgment, Jan. 13, involving two board members who guaranteed a loan to Château Royal.

Quebec government records show that both seniors residences shared the same, two-member board of directors: Zanzibaran-Canadian chartered accountant Amir Kassam of Toronto; and former Beaconsfield, Quebec, resident Dr. Beheram Kachra.

Both signed a “commitment letter” July 16, 2008, ten days after Dr. Kachra resigned as cardiologist at the Lakeshore General Hospital.

Justice de Grandpré affirmed in his decision that this makes them personally responsible for a $15 million loan that Kingsett Canadian Real Estate Income made to Château Royal—a loan which is currently in default. Shares in the company that owns Chateau Dollard also were put up as security, tying the fate of the two residences more closely.

Trouble surfaced there in January 2010, when a Revenue Quebec employee showed up at Châteaux Dollard and Royal, trying to collect unpaid goods and services taxes. Then, in July 2010, Gaz Métropolitain further distressed the elderly residents by sending bailiffs to hand out court judgments ordering them to pay 25 per cent of their monthly rent directly to the energy utility so it could recoup $8,086 in unpaid bills.

Château Dollard’s court-appointed receiver, Éric St. Amour of Price Waterhouse Coopers, told The Suburban in an interview that, for now, “the residents are ok.”

He explained that the residence is technically not bankrupt and is therefore “carrying on business as usual.”

He added that as receivers for the insolvent firm, “We don’t have control of operations. We make sure that we manage the cash to ensure that all the care that the residents are entitled to is received.”

He added that the court has given him the power to supervise the sale of the property.

“In the meantime, all the tenants are healthy. The property is taken care of and their health and nutritional needs are looked after.”

Mr. St. Amour said that DeloitteTouche was appointed as receiver for Château Royal, which is incorporated as a separate company from Château Dollard. 

Update: The January 13 Quebec Superior Court judgement was written by Justice Jean-François de Grandpré and not by Justice Louis J. Gouin, who issued the November 3 receivership order.

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