by BETTER FARMING STAFF
A Cochrane, Ontario area resident is paying $225,000 for the former home of the founder of a failed pigeon breeding scheme.
The resident was one of four who delivered bids in the living room of the house on the property Arlan Galbraith had named Sacred Dove Ranch. Bids for the 300-acre property began at $100,000.
About 30 to 40 people attended the sale, held today, says Kingsley Gardner, vice-president of Gardner Auctions Inc. The London, Ontario firm handled the sale.
Gardner says the buyer did not want his name disclosed.
Creditors petitioned Galbraith into personal bankruptcy in 2009, more than a year after the failure of his Waterloo-based pigeon breeding business, Pigeon King International. The collapse of the business left hundreds of pigeon breeders on both sides of the border millions of dollars out of pocket and saddled with thousands of worthless birds.
Creditors identified the sale of Galbraith’s home near Cochrane as a top priority at a January meeting in Kitchener. The sale amount was $75,000 less than what Galbraith had estimated the property’s net realizable value in a document supplied to the trustee, BDO Canada Ltd.
Staff Sgt. Dale Roe of the Waterloo Regional Police Service’s fraud squad says an investigation into the business dealings of PKI is ongoing. The police service and the RCMP have been investigating the business since 2008. No charges have been laid. Roe would not say whether individuals are also being investigated: “It wouldn’t be proper for me to say beyond that scope.”
He says he is not aware of Galbraith’s current whereabouts. “I’m not sure if our investigators are aware of it or not. They may well be, I don’t know.”
Susan Taves, a spokesperson and vice president of BDO has said creditors will be updated regarding the payout of funds once these are realized from the sale of the property. No funds have been paid out to date, she wrote in a June e-mail.
There are about 550 former pigeon breeders and holding barn operators who could file claims against Galbraith and another 450 with claims against PKI. Preliminary reports for the bankruptcies indicate there are 123 claims filed against PKI, of which 58 are from Canadian breeders and 50 from U.S. breeders for nearly $39 million. The reports also indicate that 35 Canadian and six U.S. breeders filed personal claims against Galbraith for more than $15 million.
Kingsley says the Cochrane property sale will close before mid-December, which is when the new owner is scheduled to take possession. BF