UPDATE: Announcement coming soon on Holman Grand sale

Ryan Ross
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Holman Grand hotel, Charlottetown

There are several offers on the table for the Holman Grand hotel and the provincial government hopes to make an announcement about a buyer soon, says Premier Robert Ghiz.

But when it comes to who is making those offers, Ghiz says he can't divulge any of the parties involved.

"All I can say is I don't operate on rumour and innuendo," he said.

The issue dominated Tuesday's question period and included questions from Opposition Leader Olive Crane about restaurateur Kevin Murphy and former Homburg Invest Inc. chair Mike Arnold's involvement in the sale.

Several weeks ago Homburg Invest Inc., which owns the Holman Grand announced it was closing the hotel because of sustained losses.

Homburg Invest Inc. is a publicly traded company and has been under creditor protection for more than a year as it restructures.

In July, the company announced its intention to sell the hotel.

Meanwhile, Homburg Invest Inc. still owes the provincial government about $16 million it borrowed to build the Holman Grand, along with millions more the company owes private contractors.

The provincial government has a mortgage guarantee on the amount it is owed.

Ghiz said when it comes to a sale, the government is looking to make sure it protects the interest of all taxpayers.

"There are multiple offers and we hope to have an announcement in the near future," he said.

When asked how soon, Ghiz said the announcement could come within days or weeks.

As for any further details about potential deals or how many offers were made to buy the hotel, Ghiz would only say more than one.

With the mortgage guarantee in place, the sale price would have to be high enough to cover the outstanding amount of the loan in order for the province to get its money.

Ghiz said that was the government's priority.

"But again, this is a very complex issue that we're trying our best to put together the best deal for the taxpayers, for the small businesses and the future development of that area," he said.

During question period, opposition innovation critic Hal Perry asked Ghiz to table copies of all documents associated with loans to Dyne Holdings, Richard Homburg, Arnold, Homburg Invest Inc. and on the Homburg financial tower.

Crane said the opposition asked for those documents because the government has a history of not producing information.

"They have a history of doing things and not doing the due diligence on them so we really want to see the documentation and the proof," she said.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

 

 

Organizations: Homburg Invest Inc., Holman Grand hotel, Dyne Holdings

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Recent comments

  • market savy
    November 23, 2012 - 07:48

    Hard to believe that the opposition is so ignorant of how the economy works. Just because a company has a name on it from when it was started it can change hands several times and be owned by different people . Second, when a company is publicly traded as is Homburg Invest it means that the owners ... have shares in the company but do not necessarily have ANY say in the business dealings . they are done by employees of the company. Get some wrong people in the management and we see a situation like we have now with the Holman Hotel. I would have expected the Guardian to have clarified this by now ... guess they are more interested in "sensationalism.

  • Marilla W
    November 21, 2012 - 21:26

    Why is the Liberal Govt. spending our Tax Dollars buying Hotels,??? That is nothing but plain CORRUPTION. Ghizzy and his cronies are UNSUITABLE to run this small Island....

  • poof
    November 21, 2012 - 11:39

    Its almost like it was meant to happen.......

  • hee bee
    November 21, 2012 - 11:24

    I'm so sad to read stories like this and the arrogance of publicly elected officials. Meanwhile Islanders are struggling to make ends meet, deal with the high level of unemployment, low education and oh yeah, if you live in Charlottetown, a huge reduction in clean drinking water. This is why the Harper Government pulled tax dollars out of PEI. Neither federal or provincial government cares about Islanders. Next election, vote Green or NDP, time to re-evaluate what PEI means to Islanders. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • STORM THE GATE
    November 21, 2012 - 11:03

    I think all of us should stick together, march up University Avenue, kick all the criminals out of office and re-elect one of our peers that actually could do some good for this beautiful province. These politicians are nothing less then a criminal organization! Plus, making at least quadruple what the average household income is on PEI. Friggin' suits ruining our economy.

  • jim
    November 21, 2012 - 10:20

    Now answer me this, -does Ghiz wake up every morning and ask himself : "What can I do or say to piss them off today?"or does it come unplanned and natural?

  • Not in the Public's eye
    November 21, 2012 - 10:17

    NIce to hear ..BUT..will the name MURPHY be involved,or ARNOLD..or a HOMBURG?..or aknown LIberal.....will it be a deal where the buyer borrows money from the GOVT..at reduced rates or forgivable if it is open more than 5years.....or will it be the dreaded Patronage......when the few benefit from the masses............We have this lovely building in the core of the city ..with what 80-100 rooms...and NO WHERE for the guests to park???......the negotiations are confidential...........but before the papers are signed..it should be scrutenized very closely by the public............2 years of this govt left..the lawyers and the accountanting firms will squeeze very cent out of the province they can in that time peroid.....

  • Corrupt PEI government
    November 21, 2012 - 08:36

    Another corrupt PEI government deal? Wow, so shocked... What do people see in that clown and his administration exactly? Boot in rear end time come the next election for sure.

  • Enough already
    November 21, 2012 - 08:23

    This white elephant should never have been built in the first place. Apart from the fact that it's an eyesore, architecturally shoddy and out of character with the rest of the downtown, it lacked common business sense. No parking provided in an already congested downtown, no real need demonstrated, But my biggest objection was the use of public money to shore up an enterprise that was at the time funded by a wealthy businessman. When are the public going to say enough already, we've had enough of this nonsense? If private enterprise wants to operate in a free market, as they keep saying, they should keep their hands off the public purse. More to the point, our elected officials shouldn't even open that purse. Sure, there may be a business deal. But, yet again, it will be our tax do9llars that will be used to finance it.

  • ira
    November 21, 2012 - 07:40

    -The secret service, that being Ghiz & Roach, are going to sell the Humbug Hotel, --- what ought to be good, --- but then again we will never know the details, because they will not know ----

  • Wayne MacKinnon
    November 21, 2012 - 07:39

    Instead of giving it away to a friend, of a friend for nothing, adding many millions to our provincial debt,modify the operation to accomadate our aging population. Part could be used for hospital patients waiting for long term placement,another section for nursing care ( patients with dementia type issues),and another section for active living seniors. The waiting lists are long for these placements,getting longer every day as our Island population ages. They could purchase their meals through the restaurant,use the swimmming pool for exercise,revitalize the downtown core. Advertise in other parts of Canada,retire and live in Downtown Charlottetown in a Senior Friendly Building. Place a 30-40 year mortgage on the project to keep the rent competitive,so seniors can afford to live there. One hundred percent occupancy year round. Just think how it would revitalize the downtown with a 1000 friendly senior citizens living there, the Confederation Centre would benefit,the Confederation Court Mall to name a few examples. What is the alternative? Another hotel bleeding red ink trying to sustain itself operating at 35-40% occupancy year round,with one hand in the Taxpayer's Pocket like the Rodd's chain of hotels here.This model I am proposing will actually grow tourism on PEI, the senior's family members will come to visit their parents once or twice a year and will need to rent hotel rooms to stay while they are visiting. Or the government can give it away at a loss of $10-$12 million dollars,service the loss at an interest rate of 3-4% accrued over a period of 20 years. Who do you think has been paying the shortfall in operating costs since last Fall when it went into Protection? The taxpayers of PEI.

    • good idea
      November 21, 2012 - 12:00

      That's a really good idea, Wayne! @ problems as i see it though : 1) It makes sense, so the gov't wouldn't go with it; 2) It's not going to benefit a crony by letting them buy a dirt cheap brand new hotel.; 3) Too much competition for the other complex that's going to be built out behind the new Sobeys.

  • worried
    November 21, 2012 - 07:36

    Oh dear, brace yourself , -- Ghiz & Roach tangoen with Humbug again, ---and neither of the two knows how to dance with the wolves--- wonder how much we will get 'took' this time? Not likely to find out anything, this government is a secret operation -and why should they care, they have the HST on us, designed to give them millions to play with. - for the love of God, why did people vote for this guy in the first place------------.

  • Marie
    November 21, 2012 - 07:04

    Another pocket lining snowjob by OUR elected officials who don't think they need to keep the pions updated when they blow mega millions on garbage. Watch the loss of tax payer funds and small business losses, not only on the build, but on the sale. Who will get an early Xmas present on this sale...shall I guess??? And a premier with the audacity to say "All I can say is I don't operate on rumour and innuendo,". Could also add "I don't operate on truth, reality and transparency either." Pirates....at least kiss me first!!!

  • Planb'd again?
    November 21, 2012 - 06:59

    Here's a possible headline: Planb'd Again! And if we think God made things this way, we're more crazy than we look, and we look pretty crazy. What we should be looking at is implicit policy (beyond the stated goals of our politicians) and systemic corruption. Let's face it folks, it appears like we've been planb'd again . . .

  • the truth
    November 21, 2012 - 06:27

    sOUNDS INTERESTING, - DOES 'THE NEW DEAL' INVOLVE THE mALL AS WELL?? IF SO IT WILL BE THE 5TH TIME THE TAXPAYERS GET A CHANCE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THAT 'ADVENTURE', - WAY BACK FROM WHEM THE OLD HOLMAN STORE WAS CONVERTED, AND ON THROUGH BANKRUPCY AND RE-ALIGNMENT OF DEBT AND WHAT ALL IT WAS CALLED, CADC WAS THE FACILITATOR THROUGH THE YEAR. THE TAXPAYERS HAVE 'BOUGHT' THE CONFEDERATION MALL AND DYNE OVER AND VOER AGAIN, BUT NEVER GOTTEN A DEED, ----- NOW WE ARE IN FOR AN OTHER ROUND, IT SOUNDS LIKE, --- AMAZING HOW MANY COMFORTABLE LIVES A LEACH CAN HAVE--- WHILE LIVING OFF THE REST OF US-

  • nick
    November 21, 2012 - 06:19

    Does it not make you sick seeing Ghjiz attacking Crane, instead of snawered the question? He thinks he is cute, but in essence he is attaching all of us, that believe in (and pay for) open forthright government in a democratic setting. Too bad he cannot be fired for not doing his job. He never did his job, unable to really, but we are stuck with this performance for years yet.

  • Justine Thyme
    November 21, 2012 - 02:17

    Ghiz says he doesn't operate on rumour and innuendo, isn't that a fact, he operates on not telling us anything!

  • don
    November 20, 2012 - 21:46

    i can see we are going to on the hook for millions as this way they can buy the hotel for only a few cents on the dollar. i wonder how many meetings with dizzy did it take to set up the deal.

  • don
    November 20, 2012 - 19:44

    What dizzy needs to know is when you are asked a question and you are mature you will answer it but when he is corned he attacks with childish remarks I think after listening to him and Ronnie are twins both immature children who were bullies growing up and still have not matured into adult hood they like giving snide remarks to others and they say they are here for the people “needs a shovel” they are here for the pay and wait till Dec when they can get a pay raise if thy cared they will turn it down it may not be much in one way but it adds up. They all get free cars, free gas, and other perks. You take Carolyn Bertram $110,000 a year plus a free car why can’t she and others drive their own cars like everyone else and save us the tax payer’s money? Will they NO. Will they take the pay raise YES? Does that show they care yes for their families not your so while you are going to turn down your heat and go to the food bank they have steak and turn up the heat? This government will go down in history as the most disgraceful in Canadian history and I’m sure your children and grandchildren will be so proud “NOT” they will be ashamed of you all.

  • concernedislander
    November 20, 2012 - 18:50

    Ah yes another failed pei venture more tax dollars lost oh the shock off it all and off course the opposition wants too know where and how the money was spent , now heres and idea. why dont the opposition do ah trade off ,open there books when they were last in power and gave all the tax dollars away to the many failed companies and there card toters, not gonna happen from either side but sure is sickening to listen to the opposition like they have never done the like off it ,it will be great when the day comes if ever that the tax payer can see where and what all the dollars are spent on even though as and island our amount paid in is very little too the amount ottawa sends every year maybe some day,

    • Chester L
      November 21, 2012 - 04:11

      The View from Martinvale........ And it continues 1. Excellent comment from " Concerned Islander " therein lies the problem. 2. Accountability, Transparency, Honesty and Ethics..... 3. PEI needs " Recall Legislation " and for one our PC MLA is for it and I salute his position.... 4. Their needs to be a " Legislative overhaul in how we do the Business of Government and have Taxpayer input on the Holman like deals " which happen on both sides of our Political system ie Libs or Conservs. 5. Unless a new way of doing Government Business is sought after we will continue to bankrupt our children and grandchildren's rightful inheritance . 6. The Public Troughing must be eliminated and those elected must be held personally accountable for mis-use and abusive authority of Tax Payers revenue. 7. The personal playground and overt indulgence by SOME of those elected who are in the political arena for their own personal gain at taxpayers expense must be changed...........so recall is the answer..What is it going to be?? 8. Bad Government, incompetent caretakers, poor management skills, no business experience......leads to chaos and high end troughing..........Needs to stop and currently has no limitations on excessive behaviour...........shocking on all sides.

  • AD
    November 20, 2012 - 18:30

    Can anyone tell me why when the Premier was questioned about this in the Legislature, his reply was a personal attack on the Opposition Leader's character? I mean really, our province is bailing out the leaky dory....we need to focus on the issues here, not listen to useless cat fights!

    • politicians
      November 20, 2012 - 18:51

      Politicians always avoid answering awkward questions by sidetracking the issue - answer something similar (but not the actual question), attack the questioner, ask a question in return, etc. That's why Question Period looks on the surface like a democratic process where the truth can be found, but in reality is nothing of the sort!

  • Not right
    November 20, 2012 - 17:36

    Homburg is (apparently) major investor/shareholder in all Redwater Rustic Grille restaurants - locations Calgary and Charlottetown. Is there not some way to garnish his cut from the Charlottetown restaurant profits to give to the unpaid PEI businesses he shafted? Action item: Ghiz

  • Watcher
    November 20, 2012 - 17:14

    Rumor on the street the secret buyer is none other than ............. you guessed it ........... Homberg ! How's that grab ya ? Makes sense .......... its just a round about way to actually give them X amount without having to actually give it ot them. You call it a loan for 16Mill ......... they default ........... buy it back for 8 mill. Thanks for the donation.

  • Wanna Bet?
    November 20, 2012 - 15:56

    I bet $16 000 000 Dr. David Suzuki will not be getting a ghiz of a deal on the Holman. Any takers?

    • Craig Blanchard
      November 20, 2012 - 17:26

      I'm sure Suzuki could buy the hotel without taxpayers loans. If he's a little shy, I'm have no doubt his buddy Al can make up the difference by checking for cash under his many cushions. Michael Moore could throw in a couple of million, if Suzuki decides he doesn't want to take all the risk. BAHAHAHA! SUUURE!

  • golftan
    November 20, 2012 - 15:29

    Has anybody raised the fact that while the Provincial Government was giving money to the Holman Grand Project, that money was being donated to the Confed. Centre which is now the Homburg Theatre? If not - how has this not been raised?

    • Craig Blanchard
      November 20, 2012 - 17:29

      Are you from the island? Yeah yeah we've noticed that.

    • tom paine
      November 20, 2012 - 17:32

      yes, I raised this issue at the time in the guardian comments section. Nobody cared. Gov't gives money to Homburg. Homburg gives money to Confed Ctr and gets a tunnel built. Wonderful.

    • Craig Blanchard
      November 20, 2012 - 17:41

      I'm sure the present situation would override any naming rights.

  • Part-time Islander
    November 20, 2012 - 15:07

    When will the government smarten up and cease making these inane investments? Also, when will the Homburg name be removed from the Confederation Centre? Yes, a contribution to the centre was made to achieve this naming opportunity but really, the name on the theatre really is in VERY POOR TASTE when the same company (and various connected persons) owe the PEOPLE of PEI $16M - just think of all the good things the province could do for its people with $16M!!!

    • I heard
      November 20, 2012 - 15:59

      I heard last year that the name of the theater is legally locked in for about a decade.