A Las Vegas luxury hotel and casino is rolling the dice that a Canadian court will force Victoria Grizzlies president Len Barrie pay more than $2 million allegedly owed.
The Bellagio, a 4,000-room hotel known for its massive musical water fountain and high stakes poker lounge, says Barrie hasn’t paid back $1.5 million USD he borrowed while in Vegas four years ago.
The hotel is seeking payment, including 18 per cent interest per year and legal costs, as per a credit agreement the former Bear Mountain CEO signed to get the funds.
According to a court documents filed in Vancouver Supreme Court on Dec. 16, Barrie visited the hotel for three days in May, 2008. He negotiated for the loan, saying he could repay it with assets held in his account at the HSBC bank in Victoria, the institution that now controls Bear Mountain Resort.
But when Bellagio tried to get it’s money from the bank, it wasn’t there.
According to the statement of claim, Barrie paid down $420,000 USD on the loan, reducing his debt to $1 million. But Barrie made no more payments, according to court documents, and the interest continued adding up.
That debt doubled after the Bellagio took its case to a Nevada court, which ordered Barrie to pay more than $2.1 million USD, including about $640,000 in interest and about $400,000 in legal fees.
The hotel has brought its fight with Barrie to Canada, and is suing the former NHL hockey player for more than $2.2 million (Canadian dollars) in B.C. Supreme Court.
The Vancouver lawyer representing the Bellagio, William Ferguson, said on Friday he hasn’t received a response from Barrie’s lawyers. But he also wasn’t sure if Barrie had yet been served with a notice of claim.
After receiving notice, Barrie and his lawyers will have 21 days to respond. The allegations in the Bellagio’s statement of claim haven’t been proven in a Canadian court.
The Gazette was unable to immediately reach Barrie, however he told the Times Colonist that he didn’t agree with the amount he is being charged on the loan and that he intended to negotiate a lesser amount to repay.
Barrie hasn’t filed a statement of defense with the Vancouver court. Now the head coach and and owner of the Junior A Victoria Grizzlies, Barrie was ousted as president of Bear Mountain in March 2010, after HSBC bank had the resort placed under creditor protection.
Barrie is scheduled to appear in Victoria court, on an matter unrelated to the Bellagio civil lawsuit, on Feb. 23, for failing to file corporate tax returns on behalf of Bear Mountain in 2008 and 2009.
On the charge of “failure to comply with the Income Tax Act,” Barrie could face fines of between $1,000 and $25,000 and up to 12 months in jail.