Embee Diamonds building to be sold after failure to pay back taxes

By Shane O'Neill
February 14, 2017 - 10:10am

Prince Albert city council is moving forward with the sale of 1203 Central Ave.

The city acquired the property under the Tax Title Enforcement Act on Feb. 10, 2017. According to a report released by city administration, MFN & MB Holdings Inc., the parent company of Embee Diamond Technologies and previous minority owner of 1203 Central Ave., failed to pay $176,046 in taxes to date.

Ward 3 councillor Evert Botha is chief operating officer of Embee Diamonds and made a brief statement on behalf of the company after Monday’s meeting of council.

“We are working with our stakeholders and our partners, the majority partners in the property, and the bank, to find a speedy resolve which will see the property taxes squared up,” he said.

He explained as COO of Embee, he is a minority partner of MFN & MB Holdings Inc., which in turn was a minority partner in the ownership of the property, until it was acquired by the city. According to Botha, the business is not at risk of closing and they intend to remain at their current location.

“We have made some payments over the years, in fact late last year, the market slowed down a little bit, we couldn’t keep up [with the payments],” Botha explained. “We’re at the junction now where we have made alternative plans and we’ll hopefully be able to make an announcement in the coming days.”

When asked about the background to the issue and how the tax bill got to be in excess of $170,000, Botha explained the issues go back to when the company started and pre-dates the existing mayor and council.

“A lot of that is penalties,” he said. “We’ve been through a particularly challenging time, we started the business in the downturn of 2008-2009. We knew the risks that were at hand. Right now all we want to do is get this cleared up.”

Botha acknowledged concerns during the last municipal election. When asked why a candidate with a substantial unpaid tax bill to the city was allowed to run at all, Botha said the company is a job creator in the city. He said with six employees, as well as five residential properties in the city, they do pay tax.

According to Botha, he and the other owners of the company plan to clear up the tax bill, or purchase the property again if it goes to auction.

 

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