Minigoo Fisheries contractors owed $377K

Three contractors who helped build Minigoo Fisheries in P.E.I., the only entirely native-owned lobster processing plant in the Maritimes, say they're owed a combined $377,000.
Minigoo Fisheries is owned by the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq band. ((CBC))
Three contractors who helped build Minigoo Fisheries in P.E.I., the only entirely native-owned lobster processing plant in the Maritimes, say they're owed a combined $377,000.

"If I don't get this money, I don't have enough assets to sell," said Chris Deagle, the owner of Deagle Construction, who says he is owed approximately $140,000.

"I'm not selling my house and living on the street."

Minigoo Fisheries, located on Lennox Island on the north coast of P.E.I. and owned by the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq band, filed for bankruptcy in August and owes creditors $5.8 million.

The largest creditor is the Bank of Montreal, which is owed about $2.7 million; the Lennox Island First Nation is owed almost $1.5 million.

Debts to dozens of other companies range from several hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The contractors spoke publicly for the first time on Thursday.

The plant closed its doors on July 14, laying off workers and removing the company's CEO. Minigoo Fisheries had operated for just four months.

The company was the pride of Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard, who said at the time that it represented a prosperous future for her people. Her spokesperson said on Thursday that Bernard had no comment.

Deagle worked on the project all of last winter while living on Lennox Island.

"All I can do is keep plugging along," he told CBC News. "I tell my creditors and stuff; they know what's going on. I don't know where I'm going to pull $140,000."

Given up being paid in full

Bobby Jamieson, owner of Jamieson Electric and Refrigeration, installed the refrigeration units in the plant and is out $182,000.

"We all went up there and did the plant," he said Thursday. "Nobody knew what they were doing besides the people up there working the job, and we're the people that never got paid.

"Where's the bankruptcy people, and what are they talking about?"

The contractors said they've given up expectations of being paid in full for their work. They're hoping for a meeting of creditors some time in November.

Calls to the trustee for Minigoo Fisheries, Grant Thornton, were not returned Thursday.

Aaron Gallant, co-owner of Watertight Pumping and Heating, was responsible for the plumbing at Minigoo Fisheries. His unpaid bill is about $55,000.

"This is my fifth year in business, and it's pretty well like starting all over again, setting me back five years," Gallant told CBC News. "It's affected everybody — from me, my wife, my kids, guys that work for me, their families, people I owe money to."

When the contractors asked for the money they're owed, they said they all got the same response: "Song and dance," said Gallant.