Ottawa

JC Lacasse, former Golden Oaks owner, appears in court

The man at the centre of failed rent-to-own company Golden Oaks made his first court appearance Wednesday at a personal bankruptcy hearing in Ottawa.
Jean-Claude Lacasse appeared in court Wednesday for a bankruptcy hearing. (CBC)

The man at the centre of failed rent-to-own company Golden Oaks told an Ottawa courtroom he is no longer gambling and has no income of his own.

Making his first court appearance Wednesday at a personal bankruptcy hearing, Jean-Claude Lacasse said he is personally bankrupt and owes more than $14 million in unsecured debt. He said he is now unemployed and living off his wife's salary.

​Lacasse is the former owner of Golden Oaks who filed for bankruptcy in July 2013, leaving more than 100 investors, tenants and contractors at a loss of more than $27 million.

A receiver has been charged with seizing Golden Oaks' assets to help recover some of the loss, but Lacasse himself has avoided appearing in public.

But Lacasse appeared at a court hearing Wednesday, where he sought to be discharged from his bankruptcy. It's the third time Lacasse has filed for personal bankruptcy.

Before declaring bankruptcy, Lacasse had purchased $372,000 in gambling chips between August 2011 and April 11, 2013, according to data from Lacasse's casino membership card.

Lacasse told the court he had only gambled with his own money and not with the company's funds.

The proceeding was adjourned Wednesday until September 2015 because an RCMP investigation into Lacasse and Golden Oaks is still ongoing.

Next Tuesday the receiver in the Golden Oaks case will decide what the next step is in that proceeding. 

Outside the courtroom, Lacasse refused to comment on either case.