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Farmers defrauded in Pigeon King breeding scheme won't see much money

by Chris Daponte

WELLINGTON COUNTY - Area farmers bilked out of millions of dollars in the Pigeon King breeding scheme will recover very little, if any, of that money.

Some of the company's creditors this week received letters from BDO Canada informing them that the liquidation of assets owned by Pigeon King International (PKI) and its founder Arlan Galbraith is now complete.

BDO, the firm in charge of PKI bankruptcy proceedings, sold Galbraith’s home in Cochrane for $225,000, and obtained another $213,000 through the liquidation of his investments, vehicles and other possessions.

After paying professional, administrative and other fees, all that's left is about $130,000 for hundreds of remaining creditors – but only about 100 of those will receive anything at all.

Some creditors that invested tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars are expected to receive a few hundred dollars.

PKI, which employed about 50 people and had offices in Moorefield and Waterloo, declared bankruptcy in 2008, leaving hundreds of thousands of  pige­ons in limbo (the province eventually spent at least $100,000 for the gassing of about 175,000 pigeons) and some inves­tors wondering if they would lose their farms.

BDO documents list 168 Canadian pigeon breed­ers, including at least 15 in Wellington County, and 303 American breeders. Also located within Wellington County were seven of 12 Canadian barns rented by PKI, as well as the homes of at least 12 of the listed 16 company employees.

The documents show total PKI liabilities based in Wellington (for breeders and rented barns) totalled over $1.3-million. But Galbraith operated the business as a sole proprietor until 2007, so the list of total breeders and landlords in Wellington County could be much larger.

In 2010 Galbraith was charged with fraud. Three years later, following a trial in which he represented himself against the advice of the judge, Galbraith was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison.

The BDO plan laid out in this week's letters must be approved by creditors at a meeting on Dec. 16 in Kitchener.


December 4, 2015


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