Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Controversial figure Rybachuk dies after snowmobile accident

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Controversial Winnipeg businessman Ray Rybachuk died Sunday while out snowmobiling in the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews, the Free Press has learned.

Multiple sources confirmed Rybachuk's death, which is suspected to have been from a heart attack.

Rybachuk, 42, was out snowmobiling on a trail when it veered off the path into a reed-filled ditch, according to an RCMP account of the incident issued Sunday afternoon.

RCMP did not identify him.

Selkirk RCMP and emergency responders were called to the scene — they didn't specify the location — just after 10 a.m. for what they've now termed was a "snowmobile fatality."

They said a man they found there was responsive but his condition grew worse. They attempted CPR but their efforts to revive him failed.

He was wearing a helmet, RCMP said, adding their investigation continues.

Rybachuk's death comes just a few months after he was arrested, charged and briefly held in custody in connection with a series of incidents at Teaser's Burlesque Palace in St. Boniface that police estimate caused about $50,000 in damage.

A part owner of the building that houses Teasers and the Chalet Hotel, he faced mischief and uttering threats charges.

Between 1994 and 2002, Rybachuk was convicted of money-laundering, possessing proceeds of crime, drug trafficking and assault.

The Winnipeg police intelligence unit identified Rybachuk in 1999 as an associate of the former Los Brovos motorcycle gang, which later became the local chapter of the Hells Angels.

A friend of Rybachuk's said Sunday there's been a "lot of exaggerations" publicized about his criminal past.

After serving time in jail, Rybachuk operated a property management and home renovation business in the North End.

Rybachuk was later a partner in a group that purchased and renovated the Boyd Medical Centre and adjoining property on Portage Avenue downtown and subsequently became embroiled in a dispute with city hall when he erected a giant digital billboard without approval. He was eventually forced to remove the sign.

More recently, he became a partner with one-time Internet pharmacy pioneer Daren Jorgenson in the ownership and renovation of the Royal Albert Hotel.

Jorgenson previously stated he has foreclosed on Rybachuk’s 50 per cent share on the Royal Albert and plans to sell the property.


Updated on Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 6:04 PM CST: Writethru with details on victim.

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