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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Businessman dies snowmobiling

Rybachuk had checkered past around city

Posted: 11/25/2013 3:19 AM

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Ray Rybachuk

PHOTO COURTESY OF CBC Enlarge Image

Ray Rybachuk

Winnipeg businessman Ray Rybachuk died Sunday while out snowmobiling in the RM 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 on a trail when his snowmobile slowly veered off the path into a reed-filled ditch, states an RCMP account of the incident issued Sunday afternoon.

The RCMP did not confirm the snowmobile driver's identity.

Selkirk RCMP and emergency responders were called to the scene -- the Mounties 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 was responsive but his condition grew worse. They attempted CPR, but their efforts to revive him failed.

He was wearing a helmet, RCMP said.

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

On July 18, he was accused of climbing on the roof of the Chalet Hotel, a building he partly owned, and using a chainsaw to damage the building's roof. Two days earlier, Rybachuk was accused of destroying all the toilets in the hotel's washrooms.

Rybachuk faced charges of mischief and uttering threats.

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

The Winnipeg police intelligence unit identified him 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 jail time, Rybachuk operated a property-management and home-renovation business in the North End.

He was later a partner in a group that purchased and renovated the Boyd Medical Centre and adjoining downtown property on Portage Avenue 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.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 25, 2013 A3

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