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Councillors Critical of Royal Bank in Tugboat Dealings
(Wednesday, October 9/2002)-- Members of the Halifax Tugboat Society feel let down-- even betrayed-- by senior officials of the Royal Bank of Canada , Councillors Len Goucher and Gary Hines said today.
The Councillors said the Society lost valuable time in its fund-raising efforts to purchase the "Theodore Too" tugboat and its related intellectual properties because directors were led to believe by a senior official of the Royal Bank that it might allow the volunteer group to buy out the mortgage on the boat.
"We held several meetings with the Senior Royal Bank official in the Atlantic Region over a four-week period, only to find out in the end that it would be Toronto-- not that person-who would be making the final decision on our effort to buy out the mortgage, " Councillor Goucher said.
"And when the Bank found out that HRM was involved, the mortgage went from $2.2 million to over $3 million-- they added on $800,000 in interest payments. Plus, they wanted HRM or private individuals in the Society to guarantee the loan, " he said.
The Halifax Tugboat Society submitted a bid of $400,000 to buy Theodore Too and its related intellectual properties from the bankrupt Cochran Entertainment. The Royal Bank holds first position on the outstanding loans and the Society learned yesterday that its bid was rejected.
Councillor Hines said today "When those little children cry themselves to sleep at night because we don't have Theodore Tugboat any more, I hope their parents encourage them to know who to do their banking with and who not to."
Councillors Goucher, Hines, John Cunningham and Dawn Sloane, along with a number of prominent business people, formed the Halifax Tugboat Society in early summer in an effort to purchase the floating replica of the children's program character "Theodore Tugboat"and keep it in Halifax for promotional purposes.
Councillor Goucher said Halifax businessman George Armoyan had even offered to provide the Society with a $500,000 interest-free loan in its bid to purchase the vessel, while other local business people on the Society's board volunteered a great deal of their time and effort in trying to keep the vessel in Halifax.
Councillor Len Goucher
Councillor Gary Hines