Neil's financial troubles over

Sens winger Chris Neil settled accounts with his creditors in a London courtroom Wednesday. Ottawa...

Sens winger Chris Neil settled accounts with his creditors in a London courtroom Wednesday. Ottawa Sun file photo

CHIP MARTIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:22 PM ET

A four-year struggle with creditors that left Ottawa Senators tough guy Chris Neil with a financial black eye came to an end Wednesday in a London courtroom.

"This is the end of it, it's all over," said Owen Sound trustee William Courage of BDO Canada Ltd., after he submitted final trustee and legal bills to the Superior Court of Justice.

Deputy registrar Robert Stevens of the court's bankruptcy and insolvency division, approved the accounts with little comment in a short proceeding.

Neil, a winger for the NHL team now earning $2 million a year in a four year pact, had Courage deal with creditors to whom the construction firm he operated with his brothers in Grey County owed $2.4 million.

Under a formal "proposal" to avert bankruptcy, more than 40 unsecured creditors agreed to accept about 20 cents on the dollar. Final cheques to them were cut last year.

In a report dated February this year, Courage noted secured creditors owed $321,139 had not been paid.

On Wednesday, Courage filed a motion asking for payment of the trustee "in excess of 7 1/2 per cent of the amount remaining...after the claims of secured creditors have been paid."

Courage said that as of Wednesday they still had not been paid to the best of his knowledge.

"Unsecured creditors accepted what they agreed to be paid," he said of the group that was owed a bit more than $2 million. Some of them told The Free Press earlier this week they couldn't understand why they had to accept cents on the dollar from a millionaire hockey star.

For his part, Flesherton-born Neil insisted his financial issues connected to Neil Bros. Construction are in the past.

"I did all the legal stuff I had to do," he told the Ottawa Sun, referring to the proposal to creditors they adopted by majority vote.

A proposal is an alternative to bankruptcy and lets creditors have some say in what they will see.

"I paid back all the debt I owed, according to the proposal," he said.

Neil said he was on the hook "for everything" in the financial troubles encountered in 2006, despite it being a family business.

Secured creditors for his firm that primarily did excavation work were mainly financial services firms, while unsecured ones included construction and aggregates, mechanical, concrete and other firms across Grey and neighbouring counties. Among the unsecured creditors were the Royal Bank and Scotiabank, each for more than $200,000. A Kitchener-based farm co-operative, FS Partners, was the largest creditor at $902,386.

-- with files from Bruce Garrioch

chip.martin@sunmedia.ca


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