Not the way Fitzroy Gordon would want it to Grove.
By Stephen Weir
The first time a grieving Marvette Gordon knew there was serious trouble at her late husband’s radio station was when a letter appeared in her mailbox a few weeks ago. She learned that the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice had placed G98.7 FM under investigative receivership and a Toronto law firm was temporarily running the ship.
The late Fitzroy Gordon’s FM station is now under attack. A former shareholder has convinced the Provincial Courts that there are serious financial problems at the only Caribbean Canadian owned radio station. The law firm Farber & Associates is, for now, managing the affairs of the FM station and examining closely its books.
The Insolvency Insider news-site first reported that Gordon’s Intercity Broadcasting Network, the company that operates radio station G98.7 “was placed in investigative receivership on June 3 on application by Jamrock Broadcasting and Delford Blythe.”
As a minority stakeholder and the former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mr. Blythe is quoted as saying that the station is in serious financial difficulties owing “more than $200,000 to the Canada Revenue Agency; $183,000 to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the federal regulator; and additional sums of more than $165,000 to creditors who have received judgments against the station.”
“This is really a fight between two old friends that has really gotten out of hand,” Courtney Williams told the Camera in a taped interview. “I have known Mr. Gordon for over 30 years. As he was building the station I saw all the highs and all the lows. I saw all the misgivings. He was a man who started with zero dollars and when you have no money you have to do things different.”
“ I can tell you this. The whole thing started when the CFO (Delford Blythe) was removed from office basically because things were faltering and the station went into a situation where it had to be restructured for it to work.”
“After Mr. Gordon died (April, 2019), the former CFO decided to submit, I think, over 300 pages of documents. He went to Gordon’s house and put (the documents) in the mailbox and the wife saw it when she came home.” Neither Mrs. Gordon, nor her lawyers attended the hearing in front of the Honourable Madam Justice Conway.
Shortly after Mrs. Gordon received documents outlining the court action, a team came to the station with a court order allowing them to not only examine the station’s books but, if necessary, to question the employees under oath.
The list of charges that Blythe presented to the courts is both serious and extensive. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has demanded that the station pony up $200,880.00 immediately, and has issued a writ of seizure on the station to the tune of $283,000.00. The Canadian Radio and Television Commission is reported to be owed $183,000 and wants payment by the end of the summer.
The court documents report that the station already owes over $165,000 on two earlier judgments and more is coming due at the end of the year.
Furthermore, Blythe and his company Jamrock Media sued for $2 million for a breach of fiduciary obligations, misappropriation, negligence, taking of corporate opportunity, unjust enrichment, fraud, and oppression of the Applicants’ shareholders rights.
“The station is not a deep pocketed station,” responded Mr. Williams. “The station has solid management because they have been operating for 19-months since Mr. Gordon first took sick. The station isn’t in receivership; they are paying their bills and doing what they have to do. They aren’t going to close the station.”
“This shouldn’t have to be settled by the courts; Delford Blythe knew Fitzroy all his life. If he has a problem he should sit down with Marvette Gordon and work it out. Let’s see how we can make this thing work moving forward”
So who is running the shop while the lawyers talk? The Camera approached two employees and asked. Neither man would say who was in charge and referred us back to the station. Courtney Williams told us that an excellent management team was put in place by Fitzroy Gordon, but would not say who was on team. He did say that everyone would work hard to keep the station Canada’s only Caribbean Canadian owned station.
The Camera attempted to interview Mr. Blythe but was unable to reach him.
Honourable Madam Justice Conway has ordered Farber & Associates to complete the audit of G-98.7’s books by tomorrow. Until she makes a ruling on the case, it will be business as usual at the Kern Road studios in North York.
While the station does have a lot of debts, it is still a valuable commodity. Court records show that two months before the 65-year old owner of the station passed, Bhupinder (Pip) Bolan, offered to buy the station for $5,250,000. Mr. Bolan owns WIN TV and a popular GTA English language radio station.
As well the station is growing in popularity, which bodes well for future advertising sales. It is reported that over the past six months listenership of the G.98. 7 has almost doubled to 108,000 listeners a day.
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