Nunavut senator waits for word on $350,000 NBCC debt
Nunavut Senator Willie Adams says he's still waiting to hear back from the Nunavut Business Credit Corp. to negotiate a long-outstanding debt he owes to the beleaguered Crown agency.
Adams's company, Polar Bear Cave Investments, owes $350,000 to the credit corporation, which handles millions of dollars in loans to Nunavut business ventures.
The corporation has undergone internal changes since late 2007, when Auditor General Sheila Fraser released a scathing audit that cited a "serious breakdown" of the corporation's financial controls.
Adams told CBC News the initial loan was taken out almost 20 years ago for the Nanuq Inn, a hotel and restaurant in Rankin Inlet that closed in 2003.
The principal was paid off three years ago, but Adams said the $350,000 outstanding is interest owed from years of the company not paying its debt.
"I think what I heard that time [was] we didn't pay for five years … $125 a day with interest," he said in an interview.
Adams said he's been trying to work out an agreement for the debt over the past two years. He said he wrote to two Nunavut cabinet ministers, but did not receive a response.
The credit corporation's former board of directors considered writing off the debt before its headquarters moved from Cape Dorset to Iqaluit, Adams added.
"That time they had a board of directors and he was saying that it's going to look at the [interest] and write it off," he said.
"Now they don't have any board of directors for the last two years since the Cape Dorset [office] closed down."
Adams said he still hopes to negotiate the debt, saying he may not be able to pay the full $350,000 amount but he may be able to work something out.
"I got no $350,000 … maybe reduce down to $200,000, something like that, you know?" he said.
Neither the Nunavut government nor the Nunavut Business Credit Corp. have responded to requests by CBC News for comment about Adams' debt or that of others.
Another company, Arctic Express of Iqaluit, is listed as owing about $1 million to the credit corporation. That company's warehouse was destroyed by fire in October, shutting the business down.
The fire was ruled an arson, and RCMP continue to investigate the matter.
One of Arctic Express's owners told CBC News the debt owed to the credit corporation had been paid down to $840,000, adding that the warehouse and its contents were insured.