VANCOUVER — The Canadian government has denied that it is negotiating a US$90-million pre-winter Olympics payment to Intrawest ULC, the operator of the ski resort venue, Whistler Blackcomb.
Deirdre McCracken, a spokeswoman for Heritage Minister James Moore emphasized there is no contract between the Government of Canada and the owners of the venue, New York hedge fund Fortress Investments LL, or its subsidiary Intrawest ULC, which is now in receivership. The New York Post reported last week that Fortress wants the Canadian government to put up US$90 million before the Games start or it will sue. While not commenting on the Post report, Intrawest CEO Bill Jensen issued a statement that the company “has a 2002 agreement with VANOC (the Olympic organizing committee) to host the Winter Olympics at Whistler Blackcomb and have every confidence that VANOC will honour its financial commitments. Intrawest is looking forward to a successful Olympic Games.”
Lenders who helped Fortress Investments acquire Intrawest for $2.75 billion in 2006, and who have not received a $524-million debt payment, which was due late last year, have set a deadline of Feb. 19 — midway through the Games — to foreclose on Intrawest, unless they get more money.