Thunder Bay

Finlandia Association of Thunder Bay votes to dissolve, liquidate

Thunder Bay’s Finlandia Association - which owns and operates the famous Hoito restaurant on Bay Street - has voted to dissolve and liquidate all its assets.

Organization faces debt of more than $1M

In a special meeting, the membership of the Finlandia Association of Thunder Bay voted to liquidate the assets of the corporation. (Amy Hadley/CBC)

Thunder Bay's Finlandia Association - which owns and operates the famous Hoito restaurant on Bay Street - has voted to dissolve and liquidate all its assets.

According to a media release issued by the association, a "convincing majority" voted to voluntarily dissolve the association, appoint Grant Thornton Limited as liquidator, and appoint Kevin Vesa and Derek Parks as inspectors.

The vote comes as the association faces more than $1 million in debt.

In the media release, the association breaks down what's owed: the Hoito is in debt just over $300,000, while the association itself owes about $480,000 to the Hoito for expenses incurred since 2010.

The association owes about $190,000 to RBC, about $160,000 to Thunder Bay Ventures, $33,000 in city taxes, along with various other, unspecified debts.

The association states it missed a bi-weekly payment to RBC in March, which amounted to less than $2,000, due to a loss of revenue associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association states this was the first payment to RBC it had missed, and had asked RBC to defer it. RBC denied the request on March 30.

RBC later told the association it doesn't qualify for the Canadian Emergency Business Account funds, and suggested the association examine other options including liquidation, the media release stated.

The association asked again for a deferral of loan payments, and was again denied.

On April 13, the association said, RBC "demanded a plan of repaying the debt back by the 27th of April."

The association said it sought legal advice, and tight timelines "forced onto the association and the current pandemic" prompted the board to decide to move forward with liquidation.

Liquidation needed the approval of membership, and 10 days notice was needed for a special general meeting where that vote could be held.

The association stated that information was sent to RBC on April 27. The bank responded, the association states, by saying that if members didn't approve liquidation, RBC could "force the association into bankruptcy."

No timeline for the dissolution and liquidation process has been provided.

When contacted by CBC News, an RBC spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, citing client privacy.

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