Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Meeting on tap to address native investment firm's woes

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THE battle between dissident tribal council shareholders and the management of Tribal Councils Investment Group may come to a head as early as next Wednesday.

A special shareholders meeting has been called that the dissident group initially requested with the stated intention of electing an entirely new board of directors for the $100-million enterprise.

TCIG is owned equally by the seven tribal councils in Manitoba.

Representatives of three of them -- the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council, Keewatin Tribal Council and West Region Tribal Council -- have all launched legal action against the company, each of them claiming, among other things, the company is carrying out business "in a manner that unfairly disregards" the interests of the stakeholders.

The original requisition for a special shareholder meeting listed only four agenda items: the removal of all current directors; shrinking the board from 10 to seven; election of a new slate of directors; and full disclosure to the board of the company's business.

But the agenda the company has presented included several additional items including addressing "certain liquidity and debt-reduction initiatives."

As has been reported in the Free Press, after having experienced a good run with profitable investments and strong operating companies, TCIG has lately run into a string of setbacks and rather than dividend-producing profits, it has suffered losses for a couple of years running.

In the meeting notice under the heading "to discuss certain liquidity and debt-reduction initiatives," the proposed items to be discussed include sale of assets, sale of the company to a third party and the consideration of an initial public offering.

Sources have suggested management of the company's current outstanding debt is becoming more of an issue. Another of those agenda items is "the consideration of a 'cash call' of the shareholders of the corporation to pay out all the current debt-holders... by April 2, 2013."

A spokesman for TCIG confirmed the scheduling of the meeting. Representatives of the tribal councils declined to comment.

But in the past it has been made clear the purpose of the special meeting -- and the lawsuits that have been filed -- were at least partially in an effort to oust current management, led by CEO Allan McLeod.

Another of the agenda items in place for the special shareholder meeting is to discuss the buyout of all management contracts.

As has been previously reported, McLeod has a contract, paying him more than $1 million per year, that ensures his employment until 2025.

In communication with the tribal councils regarding the upcoming meeting, Frank Turner, the current chairman of the board, stated, "I sincerely hope the outcome of the meeting will make continued litigation unnecessary."

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 19, 2013 B5

History

Updated on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:13 PM CDT: Corrects 2103 to 2013

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