A GNWT Crown corporation is a step closer to recouping the nearly $2 million its owed by Hay River South MLA Rocky Simpson after his son RJ Simpson, two-term MLA for Hay River North, was given the green light to buy two properties put up for sale in a bid to pay off years-old debts.
In civil court in Yellowknife on Dec. 20, Justice Karan Shaner okayed the sale of a pair of Hay River lots to RJ Simpson for $41,500.
Ninety per cent of the revenue generated from the sale will go to the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation (NWT BDIC), a branch of the territorial government that took the senior Simpson and his company Concept Energy Services Ltd. to court over an unpaid business loan dating back to 2011.
In June, Shaner ordered Rocky and his Hay River-based companies to cough up $1,885,955 in outstanding debts to NWT BDIC. Concept Energy failed to make payments to the corporation for over two years, defaulting on the loan in 2017.
Rocky’s Concept Energy also owes just over $1.1 million to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), court documents show.
The Hay River lots are just some of Rocky’s personal property assets put up for sale after NWT BDIC and the CRA both filed writs of seizure and sale against the newly-elected MLA and his companies in an effort to recoup monies owed.
In signing off on the sale to RJ, Shaner also approved the future sale of several other properties and assets, including Concept Energy work trailers, trucks and equipment.
The value of the assets, along with the terms of how the purchases will pan out, are outlined in a consent order between NWT BDIC, and Rocky Simpson and Concept Energy.
Douglas McNiven, representing NWT BDIC, said the two sides worked out the order despite doubts early on.
“We were anticipating the worst but we ended up with much more through co-operation,” McNiven told Shaner in NWT Supreme Court last week.
RJ Simpson will pay more than asking price for two properties
Garth Wallbridge, the lawyer for Rocky Simpson and Concept Energy, told NNSL Media his client has wanted to resolve the debt in a “co-operative fashion,” since early on in the court proceedings.
“That has been Mr. Simpson’s position from the beginning with his creditors, in this case the BDIC and the CRA — to allow them to obtain the largest amount of monies possible to satisfy the various debts,” said Wallbridge.
Lots 99 and 100 in Hay River, now approved for RJ’s purchase, were originally appraised by realtors at a total value of $$41,300, court documents show.
RJ Simpson made an offer above the asking price — $200 more — “so there can’t be any suggestion of favouritism,” Wallbridge told NNSL Media.
Wallbridge said RJ has been living on the lots he’s purchasing. “That’s his home. (RJ) was basically renting the lots from his dad, now he’s buying them, and now the BDIC is going to (receive) a bit of revenue having sold the lots,” said Wallbridge.
RJ Simpson submitted an offer to purchase the lots on Nov. 24, documents show.
Simpson’s wages being garnished
The sale of Rocky Simpson’s personal property assets is one of two methods being used to collect the MLA’s large debt.
Rocky now faces reduced paychecks after BDIC obtained a garnishing order to collect on the $1.9 million debt.
CBC North reported on Dec. 19 that in the last two paychecks received by Rocky, just over $900 has been deducted from each.
Every two weeks, the Hay River South MLA brings in $4,593 in gross pay, reported CBC North.
Rocky Simpson, who unseated Hay River South incumbent Wally Schumann in October, did not publicly disclose his debt to voters during the 2019 territorial election. He has since maintained that the debt, a “business thing,” won’t hinder his ability to serve his constituents.
With Rocky Simpson now given the go-ahead to sell off properties and assets included in the order, Wallbridge says he expects to wrap up the remaining sales within the next three to six months.
NNSL Media was not able to reach Rocky Simpson for comment.