Capital Pride festival to declare bankruptcy
Annual festival had been investigating what it called 'accounting irregularities'
Ottawa's Capital Pride said Monday the organization has no choice but to declare bankruptcy, months after several suppliers announced that they hadn't been paid.
The festival organizers had announced in September they were investigating "accounting irregularities" in a post-festival review of finances.
Ottawa Police fraud unit investigators have also opened a file into the financial issues at Capital Pride, according to police sources.
In a statement posted on their Facebook page Monday, the festival board of directors said after 29 years, the board "found itself in a financial situation beyond its ability to alter or repair and is now forced to declare bankruptcy."
"The Board of Directors has been working very hard for the last two months to find a viable solution to enable Capital Pride to continue its operations for the sake of the Pride movement, the LGBTQ community and Ottawa residents, but with no success. Operations are now clearly unsustainable," the statement read.
The annual general meeting will go on as planned on Nov. 5, with a revised agenda, the board of directors said in the statement.
In a statement through a spokesman, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said Monday he was disappointed in the news but said he was not aware of the details of any filing.
"Mr. Watson's hope is that the businesses affected by today's news can be paid back what they are owed and that a pride festival can continue to take place in Ottawa going forward," a spokesman wrote in an email to CBC News.
The annual general meeting is slated to be held at Ottawa City Hall Nov. 5 at 6 p.m.
Disputes with suppliers over unpaid bills
Organizers for the annual festival for the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans, two-spirited and questioning community had said this past August's week-long event had broken attendance records.
Guillaume Tasse said he is owed about $42,000 for providing festival infrastructure, including a stage, sound and lighting equipment, tents, toilets, fences and more.
When reached Monday, Tasse said he filed a complaint with police, and now worries he may never see the money he says he's owed.
"Hopefully the police can put some light into it because we don't know, they had the best year so far and they had a great weekend, the weather was perfect… so the fact that they have no money is really a surprise to me," he said.
Sebastien Provost, who owns the production company House of SAS, had also said he was owed about $24,000. CBC News was not able to reach Provost for an update on Monday.
Days after festival organizers announced an investigation was underway in September, they said some companies who supplied goods and services had submitted invoices for amounts that weren't agreed to by the festival's board of directors.
The festival then specifically addressed the situation with House of SAS, saying Provost "significantly exceeded the agreed-upon budget."