N.W.T. MLA's debt to Crown corporation slow to drop

·2 min read
Hay River South MLA Rocky Simpson in the legislature in the fall of 2021. Simpson still owes nearly $1.8 million in relation to a loan he defaulted on from the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corp.  (Travis Burke/CBC - image credit)
Hay River South MLA Rocky Simpson in the legislature in the fall of 2021. Simpson still owes nearly $1.8 million in relation to a loan he defaulted on from the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corp. (Travis Burke/CBC - image credit)

A Northwest Territories Crown corporation is applying to sell off more properties owned by MLA Rocky Simpson in an effort to collect on the sizeable debt he owes.

It's been two and a half years since the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation won a $1.9 million judgment against the Hay River North MLA and his company, Concept Energy. The judgment came after Simpson defaulted on a $2 million loan BDIC advanced him and his company in 2011.

Simpson personally guaranteed the loan and put up properties and equipment as security.

Early in the new year, the government will be applying to sell off five more Hay River properties owned by Simpson in an effort to recover some of the money it is owed.

According to a summary in the court file, as of Dec. 6 Simpson still owed BDIC $1,790,872 plus legal fees.

That's after a total of $4,285.56 garnished from Simpson's MLA pay has been applied to the amount owing. Though his gross pay is $4,950 every two weeks, after deductions and a garnishee of $1,037.51, Simpson's take home pay is only $1,507.66.

Properties and equipment sold off last year generated just under a million dollars, but three quarters of it went toward federal taxes owed by Concept and Simpson.

The debt did not become widely known until after Simpson won the Hay River North seat by 28 votes over incumbent Wally Schumann in the 2019 election. Though Simpson and his company contributed to prior elections, according to Elections NWT, he received no contributions and spent no money on his 2019 campaign.

Shortly after he was elected and the debt was revealed by News North, Simpson told CBC he will not be asking the debt to be forgiven and said he was optimistic it could be settled, "hopefully to everyone's satisfaction."

CBC emailed Simpson and left a message for him at his constituency office but did not hear back from him.

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