Eugene Melnyk goes to court to get jet back
Aviation company put lien on plane over alleged $700K debt
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk was forced to go to court to get his company's private jet back from an aviation company that was holding it over an unpaid debt.
According to court documents filed in July, Flightpath Charter Airways claimed it was owed $693,524.19 for the operation, maintenance and storage of the Bombardier Challenger 604 business jet belonging to Clean Beauty Collective — a company Melnyk owns.
Flightpath placed a lien against the plane in an effort to recoup its money.
"Flightpath commenced an application to sell Mr. Melnyk's aircraft with the intent to pay off creditors who have not been paid," said Flightpath's lawyer, Heather Devine, in an emailed statement to CBC.
In the legal filings, Flightpath said it believed Melnyk's company also owed money to a host of other companies including the Ottawa International Airport Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Ottawa-based navigation company NAV Canada.
The companies refused to provide a comment to CBC on the matter.
"For months, [Melnyk] flew the aircraft, incurred third party expenses, and demanded that [Flightpath] manage and operate the aircraft but failed to pay for insurance, NAV Canada, fuel, pilots, pilot training, maintenance, storage and repair expenditures without explanation, and without justification," said court documents filed by Flightpath.
Amounts 'inflated,' court docs claim
Melnyk's company disputes the amounts owing, calling them "incorrect and inflated" in a court filing.
In an email to CBC, Melnyk's lawyer, Robert Brush, acknowledged a "dispute developed over Flightpath's invoices," but Melnyk's company "voluntarily paid into court the full amount of money that Flightpath claims it is owed."
That money "will sit in an account controlled by the court until a judge rules on the dispute," Brush wrote.
Devine confirmed Wednesday that her client's application to sell the plane had been withdrawn.
It's unclear whether Melnyk has since used the plane.
U.S. casino suing Melnyk
Meanwhile, a casino in Connecticut is currently suing Melnyk for more than $900,000.
On July 9, Mohegan Sun filed a lawsuit in Uncasville, Conn., claiming Melnyk tried and failed to pay them with bank drafts over a winter weekend in 2017.
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The casino wants that money back, plus $15,000 in damages, costs and interest.
Melnyk's lawyer, Sheldon Plener, said in an email to CBC that he expects a "swift result" to what's a nearly two-and-a-half-year-old dispute, and wouldn't comment further.
None of the allegations regarding the plane or casino dispute has been proven in court.