Friday, July 15, 2011

It always seems impossible until it's done

If you want to be a success at everything, predict failure. Tell yourself, “this will never work,” and most likely, you will be 100% right.

When Eiger Capital Corp. first defaulted, and then denied its default and mounted a defense based on court process in Belize, it was tempting to throw in the towel. A recovery effort against a company with holdings in different jurisdictions is not simple or easy.

In this case, Voyageur members have taken to heart a saying made famous by Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Voyageur has maintained constant communication with the membership through this whole process. Its only goal is the recovery of assets. Actions are underway to apply the judgment won in May in jurisdictions where Merendon has operated in the past.  Giving up is not an option.  

Article “Judgment payout unlikely” by Alison Macgregor, The Montreal Gazette, July 8, 2011

Alison Macgregor quotes Florida lawyer Ivan Reich as saying: “I think the money is gone, to be honest with you. I don’t know where the other assets are.” 

Here are the facts - We respect the view of Mr. Reich, but we have a different opinion. We believe that further actions towards recovery are worthwhile, at least in the jurisdictions where Merendon did business.

Alison Macgregor also quotes Ivan Reich as saying: “You can get a judgment in another country but if they don’t have assets there, what do you do with it?” 

Here are the facts - We agree, and that is why we wonder at the value of these judgments in the US and Canada. There are no assets of Merendon Mining in either country.

Alison Macgregor wrote - "Voyageur claims it is unable to return $65 million invested by close to 1,000 Canadian members, mostly from Quebec and Alberta, in a clutch of offshore funds."
Here are the facts - Voyageur members have not invested $65 million. That being said, regardless of the amount, Voyageur is committed to recovery.

Alison Macgregor wrote - "The Jarmans, the family that controls Voyageur, have trumpeted the May 24 Belize court ruling as a major step forward in their purported attempts to recover the missing investments."

Here is a question - Is it “trumpeting” to privately inform concerned members about the court judgment? Voyageur went public with the fact that it had won a judgment, only after this reporter stated she could find no evidence of any ruling.

Alison Macgregor wrote - "Although the ruling appears to be a victory, of sorts, it is only one of a growing list of court rulings against Sorenson and his assets, which have been frozen by U.S. and Canadian court orders."

Here are the facts - The May 24th judgment is the first ruling in a jurisdiction where Merendon actually has assets.

Alison Macgregor also quotes Ivan Reich as saying: “Why would Gary Sorenson turn money over to these people instead of anybody else?” ... “Why not to the Alberta Securities Commission to get him off the hook? ... Why wouldn’t he turn it over to the SEC in the U.S.?” 

Here are the facts - The judgment in Belize did not involve Gary Sorenson “turning over money”. The court case was hard-fought, taking over 12 months and requiring more than $120,000 in legal fees. The court case was the result of a standard legal procedure to get a debt recognized in the proper jurisdiction, when the debtor refuses to acknowledge the debt owing.

Alison Macgregor wrote - "He said (Ivan Reich) the Jarmans would have trouble enforcing the ruling in the U.S. or Canada, where courts have given control of the assets there to Reich and Quilling."

Here are the facts - He is right! But, there are no assets in Canada or the US as far as we know, which is why we haven't wasted money trying to litigate in either of these countries.

Alison Macgregor wrote - "He (Ivan Reich) was equally skeptical of the Jarmans’ purported plan to take control of Merendon’s operations in Ecuador: “To be quite honest with you, unless they’ve got the equivalent of the mob or the ability to bribe public officials down there, I don’t really see a whole lot going on.” - Ivan Reich

Here are the facts - Ecuador has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 1996. Business is not conducted with the help of the mob, and one doesn’t take over companies through bribery. The “Superintendencia de Companias” in this country recognizes registered contracts and rightful legal claim.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

7. Light at end of legal tunnel

Reading through all of the press generated by one newspaper, it has been easy to lose perspective as to what is really at the heart of this story.
With all of the claims made by this one particular reporter and her largely unnamed, uncorroborated sources, we have had two different pieces of advice. Say nothing – too many issues are still open before the courts and authorities in different jurisdictions; or launch a law suit and sue for defamation. So what is the best course of action to take for the Voyageur members? 
The real question is - What is at the heart of this matter?
An investors club was founded in 2000 to help people keep track of their money. We followed it as it went into international investments - we followed it as it came back. In some cases between 2000 and 2010, following the money trail for our members turned into forcibly recovering it - acting in the strength of a club and doing what no individual investor could do when it comes to applying legal pressure internationally.
In this case, we're still chasing the money.
Voyageur members lent money to our two companies, for the express purpose of financing Merendon.
We made sure the loans were documented, and registered. We also tried to make sure there was meaningful, enforceable security.
When Eiger Capital Corp. defaulted, RHD and Balmain sought to collect on the security pledged against their loan, namely the Merendon shares.
There was one small but serious wrinkle: Eiger Capital Corp. denied there was a default.
RHD and Balmain were forced to go to court in the jurisdiction where Eiger is registered. As a result, we're now concluding our 4th trip to Belize in 10 months, and things are finally looking somewhat optimistic. We have one important win behind us, and a few more procedural questions underway.
Legal procedures in any country can seem like a long, dark tunnel. We're finally getting to the end of that tunnel now. In what should have been headline news (in my humble opinion), our two companies were awarded a judgment against Eiger for over $70 million as of May 31st 2011. The amount keeps climbing, because we are owed interest until the debt is paid.
Belize doesn't have an online system for posting judgments, as far as I know, so if you want to see a copy of the judgment, you will have to contact me personally. Our members have already received a scanned copy. Of course, one legal victory is not the end of the matter - recovering the money is what it's all about!
So while we have proved that Eiger owes Voyageur members the money (which should put to rest the insinuations that "the Jarman family" has done other things with the money, like start a school for 65 students) now we have to collect enough Eiger assets to repay members what they are owed.
That story still goes on, and our job as far as Voyageur members are concerned, is to keep reporting "just the facts" on our private web site. That's what an investors club is all about, and that's all we are going to do until we've followed the money to the end.