The Calgary-based company said the protection would allow it to pursue a court-supervised sale or refinancing in the development phase of the project, after its main lender, Bridging Finance, was placed in receivership in April. “Earlier this month, the court named Bridging Finance receiver PriceWaterhouseCoopers called a $ 149 million loan to A2A from Bridging Finance. To protect against the liquidation of the company’s assets, A2A obtained creditor protection on Friday night, ”the company said in a statement. out on Wednesday.
Questions surround the founder of the company
A2A Rail said the refinancing process would not involve the company’s founder, Sean McCoshen, but would instead be led by a third-party consultant.
An investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission revealed numerous financial irregularities surrounding McCoshen’s relationship with Bridging. The founder’s name has been removed from the A2A Rail website.
According to the commission’s investigation, one of McCoshen’s companies made undisclosed payments of $ 19.5 million to the personal checking account of Bridging CEO David Sharpe during the same period that Bridging loaned more than $ 100 million to other McCoshen companies.
Millions of dollars pledged for the A2A rail also went to McCoshen’s personal bank account and to a seemingly independent company he controls.
Sharpe closed his personal account just days after commission enforcement staff questioned him about his relationship with McCoshen.
The receiver also alleged that Sharpe asked a Bridging employee to delete emails containing the search term “Sean McCoshen”. Sharpe has since been dismissed from his post by the receiver.
A Globe and Mail investigation also raised questions about McCoshen’s connections, describing the Winnipeg businessman as having a “vague and unverifiable resume” and as someone who is followed by controversy.
A2A Rail said that despite going into receivership from its lender, the company continues to believe its plan is sound. He continues to work towards full funding.
CBC News has contacted A2A Rail and McCoshen to request an interview, but has yet to receive a response.
In September 2020, then-US President Donald Trump issued a permit authorizing the 2,570-kilometer rail project. If built, it would connect Fort McMurray, across the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, to Delta Junction in Alaska, where it would connect to existing rail and continue to ports near Anchorage.
The company had estimated that the project could carry goods, or even passengers, by 2026.