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Rink rats

December 8, 2010

Kamloops

Kamloops Daily News reporter Cam Fortems is angling for a big award with his long three-part story on local developer Mike Rink. The series wrapped yesterday and is a study in in-depth reporting.

The series began on Saturday:

Mike Rink and his wife Marnie McEachern arrived in Kamloops from Regina 30 years ago in a pickup full of tools and pulling a trailer

Over the next 25 years, Rink would progress from building single-family homes to developing some of Kamloops most recognizable buildings, moving people downtown and growing a successful company.

more…

On Saturday, Fortems wrote about Rink’s big impact on Kamloops and his knack for attracting controversy. Fortems spoke to Rink’s sisters for the stories and even uncovers the interesting nugget that Rink was at one point a Moonie, which leads into this defining quote: “I’m not afraid of looking at things. It’s my nature.” And Fortems reports that Rink’s company has sought creditor protection after falling into an $85 million debt hole. Despite that and other quotes, Rink declined to sit for an in-depth interview. Instead, the Daily News reports Rink “provided comments on a number of aspects of this series.”

Part two, which came out Monday, told the tale of Rink’s business associates, many of whom are waiting in line for their money.

In the age of information, contractors working for Rink didn’t have to look hard to find his multimillion-dollar failings and credit problems earlier this decade, when contractors such as Silbernagel were forced to accept thousands of dollars less than they were owed.

Researching Rink’s ability to pay was even easier than finding newspaper stories about the past.

A number of contractors owed money in the financial crisis of New Future Group said they’d heard from others on the job site about late or incomplete payments before they even started on the job.

more…

And part three asks if Rink’s business got too big too fast at just the wrong time.

Fortems writes that a year after lenders foreclosed on one of Rink’s projects, the developer was making plans, and had a partner, for another.

While constructing the seniors’ projects, he was also in personal bankruptcy proceedings, according to federal bankruptcy and insolvency records. He entered bankruptcy in July 2006 and was discharged after filing a plan accepted by creditors in May the next year.

While he was discharged, he continued to deal with the legal proceedings until as recently as January this year, according to court records.

But as impressive as his rebound and development of the Renaissance projects was, they went over budget, said his sister and former business partner Ann Sheridan, who worked with him in 2004 and 2005.

more…

Fortems also writes that Rink’s plans were significantly leveraged and that Rink was paying interest rates as high as 17 per cent.

The entire series features a dizzying array of sources, documents and companies and is a great feat of business reporting. I can only guess how long the story took, but it offers an insiders look at the property boom that gripped dozens of B.C. communities in the mid-2000s.

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Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Leave a comment (the button’s up top by the headline) and I’ll duly update the post.

Seen something else I should know about? Want to write a post? Have better photos than the Creative Commons Flickr pool ones I use? E-mail bclocalreporter(at)gmail.com.

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Photo courtesy of US Mission Canada via Flickr
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