Manitoba firms sue company featured on Ice Road Truckers

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The company featured in the reality show Ice Road Truckers is being sued for more than $1 million by Manitoba firms it's done business with in the last year.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/08/2018 (1567 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The company featured in the reality show Ice Road Truckers is being sued for more than $1 million by Manitoba firms it’s done business with in the last year.

Ice Road Truckers followed the driving exploits of truckers delivering goods to remote locations in northern Canada over frozen lakes and temporary “ice roads” carved out of the muskeg in the wilderness, according to the trucking blog Overdrive. Now the company doing the hauling, Polar Industries, is being hauled before Court of Queen’s Bench in Winnipeg by plaintiffs saying they’ve been stiffed by the trucking firm based in the RM of Springfield.

Wintec Building Services Inc. says it’s owed $57,435 by Polar Industries Ltd., its president Mark Kohaykewych and Penn-Co Construction for hauling services that Wintec provided for the construction of a school in York Landing, Man.

CANWEST FILES Ice Road Truckers followed the driving exploits of truckers delivering goods to remote locations in northern Canada.

A statement of claim filed by Wintec on Aug. 13 says Polar Industries represented itself as a sub-contractor of Penn-Co Construction. Court documents said Wintec provided hauling services from Feb. 28 to March 19 and submitted an invoice for $57,435 to Penn-Co. Neither the construction company nor Polar Industries have paid up, the statement of claim says. A statement of defence has not yet been filed.

A statement of claim filed by Fox Lake Ventures Ltd. on May 17 says it’s owed $1.2 million by Polar Industries after entering into a joint venture with the trucking company. It says Fox Lake Ventures of Bird, Man., joined up with Polar Industries in November 2017 to haul materials on a winter route from various locations along Provincial Road 280 and ultimately to Churchill under contracts entered into with third parties. They were to share expenses, profits and a bank account but keep their own salaried employees on their own payrolls, court documents say.

After entering into the deal, Fox Lake agreed to invest a further $80,312 to fund some of the initial costs and recoup that from revenue generated by the joint venture, the statement of claim says. Fox Lake, it said, contributed $187,562 in equipment toward the project that was concluded in April. Fox Lake says it incurred $277,085 in payroll expenses plus third-party costs totalling $902,034.

It says Polar Industries signed contracts with parties to provide hauling services without the agreement of the joint venture’s representatives and issued invoices that were made payable to Polar rather than to the joint venture. Court documents say Polar collected funds from third parties for hauling services but refused or neglected to deposit them into the joint venture’s bank. It says Polar Industries did not reimburse Fox Lake for its salary expenses and did not return Fox Lake’s equipment at the end of the project.

A statement of defence filed by Polar Industries denies Fox Lake is entitled to the $1.2 million it’s claiming. It denied that Fox Lake supplied some of the equipment it said was taken. Polar Industries said in its court filing that it had an existing client base prior to the joint venture and such work wasn’t subject to supervision by the joint venture. It says the payroll expenses submitted by Fox Lake were “severely inflated” in relation to the number of workers employed, the daily wage they were paid and their work performance.

Polar Industries was never invoiced by the joint venture and was never directed to deposit funds into the joint bank account after receiving payments from third parties for providing hauling services, the statement of defence said. Polar Industries filed a counter claim for an unspecified amount of damages from the “failed project,” including labour costs, travel and mobilization costs and repairs to damaged equipment. It blames Fox Lake for “inattention and mismanagement of the project” and says Polar Industries suffered damages and is entitled to relief.

Fox Lake responded to the counterclaim, spelling out details of the joint venture agreement and how it says Polar Ventures was in breach of it. It says the counterclaim should be dismissed.

Meanwhile, the History Channel which ran Ice Road Truckers for 11 seasons, has not announced a twelfth season of the show.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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