Nfld. & Labrador

Not his first rodeo: Debt problems plague developer Craig Williams in 2 provinces

Craig Williams, whose Future Group companies have asked for time to restructure debt, has been dealing with similar problems outside the province, documents show.

Williams-owned company in Nova Scotia is in receivership

Craig Williams is the sole director of companies affiliated with the Future Group that are seeking creditor protection. (Future Group)

Craig Williams, the central figure in several financially troubled Future Group companies that are now seeking creditor protection, has had debt problems in two provinces involving other companies, documents show. 

The Future Group is the corporate umbrella that controls Skymark Contracting, Skymark Renovations and three other companies, which together are seeking creditor protection involving about $20 million in combined liabilities. 

But documents on the public record in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia show that Williams has faced similar problems over the last year involving other companies, and that the Future Group's overall financial picture is more complicated than first thought when it sought protection last month. 

In Bedford Nova Scotia, Skymark Homes Nova Scotia Limited, was placed in receivership in January for money it owed on 29 properties in new home construction projects in Halifax Regional Municipality.

As with the Future Group's companies, Williams is the sole director of all the companies. 

Anne Squires of Exit Realty on the Rock is seen shaking hands with Craig Williams in 2013, when he and his Home Team company joined Exit. (Real Estate Magazine )

In December, Toronto-Dominion Bank, which had lent the company $6.75 million in 2013, took action after Williams stopped making payments and closed up shop.

The bank later demanded full payment of the $3.2 million that it was owed. No payment was made.

A month later, a court order made at the request of TD put Skymark Homes Nova Scotia in the hands of a receiver.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, also known as PwC, is now in control and is planning to sell the 29 properties on which TD has security.

Most properties in Halifax area 

Those properties include about 25 vacant housing lots in housing developments in the Halifax-area neighbourhoods of Hammonds Plains, Upper Tantallon and Middle Sackville. The assets also include two finished townhouses.

"We've gotten appraisals on the properties and are preparing a sales package," said Paul Pettigrew, vice-president of PwC Incorporated.

Skymark Homes Nova Scotia, which owns properties like this one, was placed in receivership in January. (Google Street View)

The receiver also had to manage the completion of three partially constructed homes for sale to prearranged buyers.

Tax assessment rolls place the value of the properties at $4 million.

Another lender, Moskowitz Capital Mortgage Fund, is owed $ 1,044,930.

Skymark Homes Nova Scotia also owes another $2,565,663 to 80 unsecured creditors. The vast majority of them are sub-contractors and local supply companies, including $522,850 to two Kent Building Supplies stores. 

Commercial construction firm owed $3 million 

Meanwhile, a sixth company affiliated with the Williams's Future Group has had serious financial problems. A year ago, Baraco-Atlantic Corp. filed a notice it was working on a plan to restructure its debt.

Founded in 2010 with Williams as chief executive officer, Baraco-Atlantic Corp. had about $3 million in liabilities by last May.

Paul Pettigrew, vice-president of PwC, says the company is preparing sales packages for Skymark Nova Scotia properties. (PwC)

A commercial construction and contracting firm, Baraco-Atlantic Corp. had about 10 projects at various stages of completion around that time, court documents show. 

Two secured creditors, Aviva Canada and the Bank of Montreal, were owed about $1.7 million, while unsecured creditors were owed about $1.3 million.

Most of the unsecured debt was owed to sub-contracting firms that had provided such services as electrical, masonry, surveying and construction supplies. 

The company claimed assets of just under $2 million, largely for accounts receivable (money owed) plus about $12,000 in office equipment and tools.

In late November, during a creditors' meeting in St. John's, the proposal was accepted.

Other issues

Williams has had other problems to consider recently. 

Fire destroyed the former Belevedere orphanage last week. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The former Belvedere orphanage — a heritage property, and one of the oldest buildings in St. John's — was destroyed in a fire that broke out in the vacant building in the early hours of April 7. Williams owns the property through a numbered company. 

Williams was also involved with Exit Realty on the Rock, the St. John's real estate company that collapsed in early 2016. 

In an August 2013 news release, Exit Realty boasted that it had hired "the most successful real estate team in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador," while bringing Williams and his company, The Home Team, on board. 

However, by September 2014, he no longer had an active licence to sell real estate. 

Meanwhile, public filings reveal that Williams ran into trouble earlier in his career. 

In 1995, while working as a real estate developer, Williams applied for bankruptcy. At the time, he had liabilities of $986,283.

In January 1996, he was discharged, meaning he was released from his debts.

Skymark Contracting Ltd. and Skymark Renovations Ltd. are among five Future Group companies that filed for creditor protection in March. (Future Group)


Cec Haire


Cec Haire reports for CBC News from St. John's.