Embattled Canadian Entrepreneur Admits Past Mistakes But Remains Puzzled by Attempts at Character Assassination
MARKHAM, ON, Dec. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadian entrepreneur and respected war veteran, Ryan Mitchell, President of Pure Water Box Corp., stands by his record. Recently, Mr. Mitchell was the subject of a scornful front-page report in the Beatrice Daily Sun that questioned Mr. Mitchell's integrity and character in light of his recent attempt to rebuild bankrupt manufacturer Dempster Industries in Beatrice, Nebraska.
Mr. Mitchell, who invested over one million dollars in the company to bring jobs to the area, sought additional loan support from Beatrice city council plus the State of Nebraska to further his redevelopment efforts.
However, following several initial meetings that were warm and cordial, Mr. Mitchell was investigated and then firmly rebuffed by the mayor of Beatrice and its council. The investigation findings were subsequently leaked by an unknown individual to the Beatrice Daily Sun. According to Mr. Mitchell, the front-page article (November 20, 2013) that was based on the leaked information, used innuendo and an incomplete presentation of the facts to imply improper behaviour.
"Three issues from my past were dredged up by persons unknown who, for some reason, don't want me to rebuild Dempsters. Then the Sun decided to further cast doubt upon my efforts by printing a story which, to be charitable, was a deliberate attempt at character assassination. To my mind, the paper has a minimum duty to report in a fair and balanced manner, to at least hear me out. Unfortunately that just didn't happen."
Mr. Mitchell tried to contact the paper to tell his side of the story after the reporter left a message on Mr. Mitchell's phone on November 19, 2013. Mitchell maintains the reporter, Chris Dunker, left the message knowing that Mr. Mitchell was not available in the brief period prior to the time the article went to press.
"My phone clearly indicated that I was unavailable and yet they went to print anyways. Afterwards, I tried to reach his editor three times. And each time the editor called me back and left a message on my phone I, in turn, called him right back every time he left a message. And each time I called back, he was unavailable and not in the building. Clearly, he did not want to talk to me. The question is why?"
In the interests of fair and balanced journalism, here is Mr. Mitchell's candid response to the main issues raised in the Beatrice Daily Sun's story:
"First, with regard to the CIBC loan court settlement mentioned in the story, I had serious questions around the administration of the credit line in question which I legally challenged upon advice from my attorney. In the end, the court did not uphold my position and I agreed to pay the bank the contested amount, including interest. I did not default on monies owed, nor was I trying to somehow defraud the bank or anything of the sort. I was merely standing up for my rights by pointing out what I thought were major discrepancies in the way the bank dealt with the proper discharge of a mortgage property I owned and the active credit line associated with it. Any fair-minded person who reviews the entire court case will see that what I say is absolutely true. Maybe I could have found a better way to handle it. I don't know. But too many people these days, when it comes to the banks, just sit back and allow themselves to be intimidated when they think they have been wronged by a bank. I'm not one of them."
"Second, with regards to the original share sales of Pure Water Box Corp., my Director and I sold shares under the friend and family exemption (NI 45-106). The exemption, to put it mildly, is very vague and "loose". And at the time, we believed that everybody we sold shares to qualified. Under this assumption, I unwittingly sold shares to several individuals who the regulators, in the end, said did not qualify. They were identified in a required report we filed (Report of Exempt Distribution, pursuant to Part 6 of NI 45-106). Basically, I take responsibility for two errors: First, we were late filing a report. My legal counsel was not aware that the filing period for reports required by the Saskatchewan securities act was 15 days instead of the usual 30, which we were advised. Second, there were people we sold shares to that they said we shouldn't have: I simply assumed that a subsection (Part 6 of NI 45-106) of the securities act in the province of Saskatchewan was exactly the same as the one in Ontario. This subsection defined who was eligible as an investor and who wasn't. As it turned out, the subsection in Saskatchewan had subtle differences, which I honestly wasn't aware of. As president, that was a huge error on my part. Anyways, because of my error, we proactively offered to pay back any investor who requested their funds returned and we agreed to pay a nominal fine. There was no attempt at evasion, or circumvention of the law, it was just an honest mistake. I've been around long enough to know that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but I'm only human and I do make mistakes. For the record, I have not taken any personal salary, fees, or reimbursement for personal expenses from the company."
"Third, the allegation that I encouraged Canadians to "…skirt the country's tax laws" is patently false and misleading. Canadian tax laws give Canadians tax advantages for donations made to charities and I actively promoted those strategies. Now, these strategies are fully compliant with Canadian tax law. In fact, several Canadian tax payers have challenged the Canada Revenue Agency's treatment of these giving strategies in Canada's Tax Court and have won a full and complete consent to judgment in favour of the taxpayer from the Tax Court of Canada (cite Navatos v. the Queen). Finally, the Daily Sun got their facts all wrong when they stated a "…lawsuit between the CRA and Global Learning Gifting Initiative is pending in the Canadian federal courts." The real story is there are certain tax payers suing the CRA in the Tax Court of Canada, but the Global Learning Gifting Initiative is not party to any current Canadian federal litigation, nor am I."
"For the record, those are the facts. And I am not, as the Beatrice Daily Sun might put it: haunted by my past. Quite the contrary, I am proud of my business relationships and I will go 'to the wall' to defend my reputation and the reputations of individuals who work with me. That said, I have to say that for the life of me I am puzzled why a local council of a community that is obviously hurting for jobs would go to these lengths to poison a relationship with somebody who was genuinely interested in bringing jobs back to the community. I really am stunned."
"To the citizens of Beatrice I have only one thing to say: 'Don't forget to vote.'"
SOURCE Pure Water Box Corp.For further information:
Michelle Peters, Media Relations