Battery Plus seeks ouster of receiver

The owner of Battery Plus Inc., ousted from the retail business when it was put into receivership last
November, has filed a motion to have Deloitte & Touche removed as interim receiver and is seeking leave to sue his bank.

The Financial Post
January 25, 2001

Battery Plus seeks ouster of receiver
Wants to sue bank, also
Hollie Shaw

The owner of Battery Plus Inc., ousted from the retail business when it was put into receivership last
November, has filed a motion to have Deloitte & Touche removed as interim receiver and is seeking leave to sue his bank.

Antoine Chahine Badr accuses Deloitte and the Laurentian Bank of Canada of ruining the business he founded in 1992 and smearing his professional reputation.

Battery Plus, a chain of 91 stores based mostly in shopping malls across the country, was petitioned into receivership owing nearly $6.7-million to Laurentian and $1-million to Domenick Bellisario, another secured creditor. Unsecured creditors are owed an estimated $3.6-million, according to court documents.

In a report to court filed prior to the receivership order, Deloitte noted numerous instances of apparent inventory theft and suggested Mr. Badr been diverting cash from his business.

A forensic review revealed Mr. Badr opened accounts at CIBC in early November and deposited close to
$240,000 — money that should have gone to the Laurentian account, the receiver contended.

Deloitte's report said $113,00 worth of Duracell batteries were removed from Battery Plus offices before the receivership order went through and alleges numerous other instances of supposed inventory theft.

The review also revealed Mr. Badr had written cheques totalling $346,000 to cover costs, rather than depositing money from store sales into Laurentian's bank accounts.

Mr. Badr says many of the allegations are false and unsubstantiated. In his motion filed yesterday seeking leave to sue Laurentian, Mr. Badr argues the bank did not negotiate with him in good faith and reneged on key financing promises.

He contends Deloitte has damaged the retailer's relationships with landlords and suppliers since it took over operations in November, and has hurt Battery Plus by failing to re-order inventory.

"The business sales compared to last year are down as much as 75%, even when Deloitte is giving discounts as high as 60%," Mr. Badr wrote in an affidavit. He said Deloitte closed 23 strong locations.

Deloitte has not responded to the motions, but released a statement saying Mr. Badr's allegations are unfounded. The receiver also noted it had entered into an agreement to sell Battery Plus, subject to court approval.

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