Why Canadian mom lost $1.7M on family business
Posted On August 6, 2021
Canadian mom Melissa Smith has lost $2.7 million in a family business failure that she didn’t foresee, but she did anticipate it would happen.
In October 2014, Smith, a certified financial planner, began her second career as a certified family business administrator in the Calgary area.
She was one of several who worked in the same industry with a similar goal of helping families meet their financial goals.
But she was shocked to find out that her business didn’t even make it through its initial phase.
It was a series of “fishing expeditions,” a group of five people who traveled to Alaska and Alaska’s interior to hunt salmon and fish.
They set out on a four-day trip in January 2015 and made about $30,000, according to the lawsuit.
The group then split up.
They had a second, much larger group of four people in Alaska that went hunting in March, but it was canceled.
They ended up spending about $7,000 each in the Alaska trips and on the fishing trips, and $7 million.
Smith had been a certified professional fisheye photographer for a number of years.
She thought she would be doing a variety of work with the same clientele, but that all of her clients had their own business and didn’t have the same expertise.
She didn’t know the difference between a certified business and a non-certified business, so she decided to try to get a business license in her area.
The license process took about six months.
She got the first license and filed paperwork for her second license in April.
Then came the fishing expeditions.
She applied for two licenses and applied for another one, which took another year to process.
She was eventually told her fishing expedtions had been canceled and that she would need to file another application.
In the meantime, she lost $3,000 in her first fishing expedition, she filed for a second license and applied to file for a third license.
The application for the fourth license was denied.
But the final, canceled license application was accepted by the board.
And that was that.
Smith went through another six months of waiting for the license.
She never received a response to her application for a fifth license and then filed for bankruptcy.
That left her with about $1,000 left.
In April of this year, she started a new business, a new family business called A Better Life.
But her husband and two daughters didn’t want the business.
They said they were too busy with work, and they didn’t see the point of it.
Smith started her own company, which she called A Lifeful Life, but her husband’s wife left the business to take care of other family members.
In May, she applied for a new license.
In July, she went through a process to get her business approved.
But a couple months later, her business was canceled again.
This time, she got another license.
And so she continued to try again, but in June she filed a new application for approval.
She also started another business called Belly Up, but again her husband, who was working at a construction company, left the company and the business was never approved.
The bankruptcy continued for about a year.
Smith applied for bankruptcy again, and in September of last year she received a letter from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench stating that she had “exceeded her credit limits.”
She applied for $1 million more to cover her debts.
The letter noted that she’d paid her debts for five years and paid $2 million in interest, and that her debt was now worth $2,600,000.
A few months later in December, she received another letter from Bank of Alberta.
She had defaulted on her debts, and the letter stated that the money was “sufficient to provide her with a minimum monthly payment of $1M,” meaning she would not qualify for a credit line for the next five years.
The letter also said she would have to file a bankruptcy petition.
She didn’t, and instead filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
She said she filed the bankruptcy petition because she was concerned about her finances and because she knew she’d be unable to repay the $1-million debt to Bank of Canada.
She has spent about $500,000 on legal fees and more than $600,00 on her own legal fees.
In March, Smith applied to sell her business to her son, John, who had a family investment in the business, and said she needed $600k to pay the rest of the debts.
She went through the bankruptcy process three times, and each time, her creditors denied her.
In August, Smith filed a motion to have the bankruptcy order stayed, arguing that the bankruptcy court lacked jurisdiction over the bankruptcy because it was a private bankruptcy.
In a filing with the court, Smith argued that she wasn’t the “sole beneficiary of the debt,” and that the debt wasn’t a liability because