A Vancouver Island family says it has been caught in the middle after Canada Revenue Agency seized the assets of a horse-drawn trolley business last month.
Chris Anctil and her daughter, Sophia Elrod, fear they could lose an investment of more than $20,000 if two of the tourism trolleys are auctioned off as assets of the Black Beauty company.
In late February, the trolleys, carriages and harnesses were seized. Black Beauty owner Rebecca Spray said the company was behind in paying back taxes to Canada Revenue Agency.
Black Beauty and Anctil and Elrod agree that the trolleys are not owned by the horse-drawn carriage company, which operated in the tourism zone at Menzies and Belleville streets in downtown Victoria.
Elrod, 20, said Monday she gave her mother her college fund of $21,000 to pay for the trolleys on her behalf. The trolleys were custom-made in Ontario and delivered last year.
James Peters of Comox Valley Bailiffs Ltd. said a legal procedure comes into effect when a third party comes forward with a claim on seized assets.
At this time, the trolley ownership claim is being reviewed by Canada Revenue Agency, which is the creditor, he said.
A date has not been set for the auction of Black Beauty assets, Peters said, adding that he is waiting for a determination about the trolleys.
Canada Revenue Agency spokesman David Morgan said he can’t comment on individual matters, but added that if there is a question of ownership of assets, claimants should contact the sheriff involved in the seizure.
Elrod said she was working for Black Beauty when she decided to invest in the trolleys.
Money was transferred from a college fund, established by her parents, to her mother, who sent the money to the Ontario company, Elrod said.
Each blue trolley cost more than $16,000, Elrod said. One trolley and about one-third of the second trolley was paid for by Anctil, she said. The second trolley is partly owned by other parties.
Spray said the two trolleys are considered as one asset, with Anctil holding a 54.3 per cent ownership share.
Elrod said she thought at the time that “if I can own these vehicles, then whatever happens, I can sell them because they retain their value pretty well.
“The little details on them are really beautiful. They are really, really well made. They’ve got nice rubber tires on them.”
Anctil said she has sent paperwork regarding the trolley investment to the bailiff.
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