© Guardian photo
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.