Argos' debt tops $20 million: court report

On the field, the Toronto Argonauts are preparing for their Labour Day showdown with the Ottawa Renegades. Meanwhile, the club has a more menacing foe to tackle away from the gridiron - a debt of more than $20 million.

Documents filed in an Ontario court show the club owing former owner Sherwood Schwarz $17.4 million, according to a Globe and Mail report. The Canadian Football League has been operating the Argos since they revoked the franchise from Schwarz in July.

The report by a court-appointed receiver shows the Argos have $503,456 in assets and just over $20 million in total liabilities.

Among the assets are a $22,000 loan to head coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons, intellectual property, player equipment and office supplies, according to the report.

The debts include $2.6 million owed to the CFL, $120,000 in unpaid taxes and payroll deductions to the federal and provincial governments, $22,000 in deferred salaries and $20,000 to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The league is trying to find a buyer for the franchise. The CFL unveiled a new owner in Hamilton this week, as computer billionaire Bob Young took over the Tiger-Cats.

Any sale of the Argos must be approved by the court overseeing the receivership. All proceeds from the sale would first go to paying off the government and the league. The rest of the money would be divided among the team's other creditors.

If the franchise is sold, it's unlikely Schwarz will receive the bulk of the money he is owed.

In the court report, the receiver said many parties have shown interest in purchasing the Argos.

with files from Canadian Press