CBC News has uncovered that a civil enforcement company was prepared to seize more than $24,000 in property from Calgary mayoral candidate Bill Smith's business earlier this year.
In January, a warrant authorized Consolidated Civil Enforcement, a private company that offers bailiff services, to recover personal property, to "realize the sum of $24,545.60" because the "security agreement" between Smith's professional corporation and RBC Small Business Loans "is now in default."
"It was an error and I'm a little bit embarrassed about it, to be honest with you," Smith told CBC News when asked about the debt.
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"Well, I mean, I would also tell you that people make mistakes and that was an error," said Smith when asked why voters should trust him with the city's finances if he struggles to manage his own.
Smith explained his business address changed and that a bank account was also transferred and wasn't "linked" to pay back the loan, which he said was for "business."
"We moved from Mount Royal Village to Eau Claire, and for some reason the notices went to Mount Royal Village and never got to us in Eau Claire, didn't get forwarded," he said. "So I didn't know we were behind on the payments."
Smith promotes his understanding of business and promises to cut what he calls "out of control spending" by the City of Calgary.
The loans dated back to 2006 and the agreement with RBC was amended twice, in 2011 and 2016. A bailiff's report shown to CBC News reveals that Smith paid the sum owing, in late January, days after Consolidated Civil Enforcement began searching for assets to seize.
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An expert in asset seizure, while not commenting on this specific case, says "as a general rule" asset seizure is not the first course of action for banks.
"Often at the end of the day, the bank's not interested in the particular piece of property, they would much rather have the money," said Chadwick Newcombe, a civil and commercial litigation lawyer. with Kahane Law. "So in my experience, they're quite willing to at least consider some kind of resolution short of seizure."
The report indicates the bailiff showed up at Smith's former business address, the one indicated on the warrant, but did not find Smith there.
"As soon as I got the notice, as soon as I got it, we paid up. It's all paid in full," Smith told CBC News.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, RBC said it does not "comment on client relationships due to privacy and confidentiality."