Court orders investigation of $3B Sears payout

Superior Court has appointed a litigation investigator to review $3 billion in payments made to Sears Canada shareholders, while the company's pension fund had a nearly $300 million shortfall.

Pensioners hope to recoup money they say has been missing since company went bankrupt

Shoppers enter and leave a Sears retail store in Toronto in October 2017. The Superior Court is appointing a litigation investigator to review $3 billion in payments made to Sears Canada shareholders. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Superior Court has appointed a litigation investigator to review $3 billion in payments made to Sears Canada shareholders, while the company's pension fund had a nearly $300 million shortfall.

The court has ordered litigation investigator Lax O'Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP to look into the claims and report to a committee of creditors with recommendations about litigation to be pursued.

Sears pensioners requested the investigator's appointment in hopes of recouping some of the money they say has been missing since the company filed for bankruptcy last year.

The workers' complaints partially target U.S. hedge fund ESL Investments and its CEO Eddie Lampert, who took control of Sears in 2005 and received some of the $3 billion.

In a blog post, Lampert has previously claimed that Sears had $500 million in cash available for use and no debt after the divided payments were made.

He said his company suffered significant losses from Sears's bankruptcy.

He also blamed former workers for conflating numbers in Sears' retirement plan with health, dental and life insurance that he claims has gone unfunded since 2008.