ACOA suing Consilient for $7.7M

Rob Antle
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Court Tech firm shuttered its offices in late 2008

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is suing now-shuttered Consilient Technologies Corp. for $7.7 million.

According to court documents, the federal agency is seeking repayment for nine separate funding contributions it made to the company between 2000 and 2008.

ACOA made the last contribution in September 2008, just two months before Consilient was taken over by one of its creditors.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is suing now-shuttered Consilient Technologies Corp. for $7.7 million.

According to court documents, the federal agency is seeking repayment for nine separate funding contributions it made to the company between 2000 and 2008.

ACOA made the last contribution in September 2008, just two months before Consilient was taken over by one of its creditors.

The company's St. John's office closed in mid-November.

Almost all of the cash in question is principal, not interest, according to court documents.

ACOA filed a statement of claim at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court last week seeking repayment of the money.

The federal agency declined comment until a judgment has been made in the matter.

In the past, ACOA officials have said they file lawsuits against insolvent companies to protect the interest of taxpayers.

Agency spokesman Doug Burgess told The Telegram last fall that insolvent companies with a substantial amount of operating loss on their books could be picked up by other companies to reduce their tax liabilities.

He said such court actions could prevent the loss of future tax revenues to the Crown.

Burgess was speaking about another case - not Consilient - at the time.

Meanwhile, Consilient president and CEO Trevor Adey could not be reached for comment.

Before the firm's closure last fall, Consilient was a long-time success story in the local tech sector.

The company was featured in The Wall Street Journal in 2007 for its Push e-mail product, which let regular cellphones send and receive e-mail from up to five accounts.

The same year, Consilient took top honours as the overall winner for the Asia Mobile Innovation Award.

At its peak, Consilient had offices in St. John's, San Francisco and Singapore.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Consilient Technologies, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court The Telegram Wall Street Journal

Geographic location: St. John's, San Francisco, Singapore

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Recent comments

  • Opened Eyes
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    1/2 wit & Darrel: don't let the 25 minutes of CNN you've watched in your life go to your head; Simply because a small-to-medium sized company (having small offices in singapore/san francisco doesn't make Consilient some massive global conglomerate) gets loans and then unfortunately goes out of business doesn't make it criminal. What evidence do you have to support any claim that anyone over there is walking away with a pocket full of cash ? All I see here is the unfortunate circumstances where another NL company, which employed many talented newfoundlanders and allowed them to stay and work in this province, fell victim to tough economic times. The technology sector is extremely competitive, fast moving, and unforgiving. The harsh reality is not everyone playing that game can win, and I'm sure like any business owner, Mr. Adey gave everything he had to that company. I'm all for investigating anything that actually IS suspicious in this case, but not EVERYTHING is scandal simply because your empty like want it to be. Are you THAT bored/angry you need to make unfounded claims like this, undermining the efforts of hardworking people like Mr. Adey and his staff at consilient? Some say ignorance is bliss; in this case, I say it's embarrassing. Do some homework

    • jeff powers
      September 03, 2010 - 17:10

      Sounds like this comment was made by Mr. Trevor Adey himself. Shame on you Trevor. You are a disgrace to all NL's.

    • Den
      October 19, 2010 - 00:08

      Just reading through all your comments. I'm a former Newfoundlander I now live in Asia. I am a business person and I’ve had to leave Newfoundland and I've started a high tech company in Asia. I’m not a fan of Trevor Adey however I do have to give him credit for all that he has accomplished in his career. I think that you all are missing the point T Adey has lost the most from this incident. He was raised well above the shoulders of the highest tier in Canadian business, the BDC and MUN. It’s obvious that he is a very talented individual (you can’t fool all the people all the time). With the loss of the company came the loss of his connections and glory, he is now going to be known for loosing Consilient, costing the tax payer $7M+, and subsequently sued, which may or may not have been his fault (It surely never helped having a teacher as a sales director with no formal sales background). Thus I’m sure that the collapse of his company was the last thing that he wanted. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Mr. Adey a few times and I would have to say that I would surly think that Mr. Adey being as switched on as he is/was would be smart enough not to fill his pockets or allow anyone else in the company to do the same, this creates a paper trail that a 5yr old could follow. Remember this, 5 minutes before the doors were locked any high tech company in the world would have hired him on his credentials alone and perhaps with a salary well exceeding $7.7M CDN in 8 years. Today I’m sure that people and companies have taken a giant step backwards. However, I don’t exactly have my thumb on the pulse half a world away. Just thought you were being a bit harsh. Kind regards, Missing Home

    • jeff powers
      October 28, 2010 - 03:06

      I am former NL'er as well living away in Toronto and happen to know Mr. Adey a little better than you perhaps on a business and somewhat personal level. He really isn't the brightest man, more of a BS attitude which can fool many. I do not disagree that many of the employee's worked hard for Consilient however, Mr. Adey was barely present for the last few years as many of the employees will contest to. I'd encourage a paper trail be followed. I'm sure it will open many people eyes to his personal spending.

  • ½ wit
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Opened Eyes from Newfoundland... my summarization was for what happens in general and not for this particular case. But it seems you too are overcome with bliss. Your insults provide very strong merit in argument of your rant. Thank you ;)

  • Daniel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    something smells does it? if you knew anything about the company, its products and why it failed, you would definitely say something smells. the fault does not lye with the company, the owners or the management, but instead lies with certain governments who repeatedly allow foreign companies to do business with them and eventually don't respect their international patients or contracts.
    This company operated in good faith, only to have asian powers steal the technology consilient developed, disregard the patents and leave the company with nothing.

    and now, instead of our gov putting pressure on, lets say, china, to respect their international obligations to uphold patent rights, we'd rather sue one of our own, who has already lost everything.

    that seems logical right?
    i would not expect 1/2 wits to understand such simple concepts though.
    pocketing the money ? simple thoughts for simple people.

  • Bert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Nine separate transactions, what a joke!!! If a small business person is looking for funding to start up or expand a business you better come equipped with a letter from God or stay home.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    7.7 million for an program that can send email from from a cell phone ? A program such as this could be written by a IT professional in 45 minutes, if that. Also programs like this are a dime a dozen, how did Consiliant expect to make money on that ? Trevor Adey and Consiliant are a mega failure. And a ??? for you, where is all the equipment and the data that was in that office on Kenmount Rd, in San Francisco and Singapore ? Nobody seems to know. I think police should be brought in immediately and a full investigation conducted. This is public money and the public needs to know what Mr. Adey was doing with it.

  • Darrel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    ACOA leadership is doing a fine job assessing contribution distributions. Get someone in there who has a clue how to perform that role. Obviously, Consilient never needed the cash in the first place, with what... offices in St. John's, San Francisco and Singapore, or did ACOA (taxpayers) pay for those offices ? There needs to be an investigation of wrongdoing here. Something smells.

  • Daniel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    So if i get help starting a business and it fails, I will be sued by the organization thats purpose is to help business's startup and expand?
    why would anyone get money from these fools?

  • Kevin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    The list gets longer
    Osuysey yahts
    signal hill cabinetray
    ict

    Acoa is the cancer of this province evey body knows its easy money
    Scott Anrews or any liberial please reform Acoa
    The telgram please when you write a front page article on these company investigate

  • Jon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I would rather see 20 companies get $50,000.00 than 1 company get $1,000,000.00 from ACOA.

    I know that is more administration for several smaller companies than one large one, but the fact is the smaller businesses in this province account for more employment and growth than the larger ones.

    I would like to see a ROI for all of ACOA's projects.

  • ½ wit
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Daniel from NL says '...why would anyone get money from these fools?' They don't.

    But if you are lucky and you do, follow Consilient's footsteps and move that money offshore, close shop, and walk away with a pocket full of cash.

  • Opened Eyes
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    1/2 wit & Darrel: don't let the 25 minutes of CNN you've watched in your life go to your head; Simply because a small-to-medium sized company (having small offices in singapore/san francisco doesn't make Consilient some massive global conglomerate) gets loans and then unfortunately goes out of business doesn't make it criminal. What evidence do you have to support any claim that anyone over there is walking away with a pocket full of cash ? All I see here is the unfortunate circumstances where another NL company, which employed many talented newfoundlanders and allowed them to stay and work in this province, fell victim to tough economic times. The technology sector is extremely competitive, fast moving, and unforgiving. The harsh reality is not everyone playing that game can win, and I'm sure like any business owner, Mr. Adey gave everything he had to that company. I'm all for investigating anything that actually IS suspicious in this case, but not EVERYTHING is scandal simply because your empty like want it to be. Are you THAT bored/angry you need to make unfounded claims like this, undermining the efforts of hardworking people like Mr. Adey and his staff at consilient? Some say ignorance is bliss; in this case, I say it's embarrassing. Do some homework

  • ½ wit
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Opened Eyes from Newfoundland... my summarization was for what happens in general and not for this particular case. But it seems you too are overcome with bliss. Your insults provide very strong merit in argument of your rant. Thank you ;)

  • Daniel
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    something smells does it? if you knew anything about the company, its products and why it failed, you would definitely say something smells. the fault does not lye with the company, the owners or the management, but instead lies with certain governments who repeatedly allow foreign companies to do business with them and eventually don't respect their international patients or contracts.
    This company operated in good faith, only to have asian powers steal the technology consilient developed, disregard the patents and leave the company with nothing.

    and now, instead of our gov putting pressure on, lets say, china, to respect their international obligations to uphold patent rights, we'd rather sue one of our own, who has already lost everything.

    that seems logical right?
    i would not expect 1/2 wits to understand such simple concepts though.
    pocketing the money ? simple thoughts for simple people.

  • Bert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Nine separate transactions, what a joke!!! If a small business person is looking for funding to start up or expand a business you better come equipped with a letter from God or stay home.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    7.7 million for an program that can send email from from a cell phone ? A program such as this could be written by a IT professional in 45 minutes, if that. Also programs like this are a dime a dozen, how did Consiliant expect to make money on that ? Trevor Adey and Consiliant are a mega failure. And a ??? for you, where is all the equipment and the data that was in that office on Kenmount Rd, in San Francisco and Singapore ? Nobody seems to know. I think police should be brought in immediately and a full investigation conducted. This is public money and the public needs to know what Mr. Adey was doing with it.

  • Darrel
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    ACOA leadership is doing a fine job assessing contribution distributions. Get someone in there who has a clue how to perform that role. Obviously, Consilient never needed the cash in the first place, with what... offices in St. John's, San Francisco and Singapore, or did ACOA (taxpayers) pay for those offices ? There needs to be an investigation of wrongdoing here. Something smells.

  • Daniel
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    So if i get help starting a business and it fails, I will be sued by the organization thats purpose is to help business's startup and expand?
    why would anyone get money from these fools?

  • Kevin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    The list gets longer
    Osuysey yahts
    signal hill cabinetray
    ict

    Acoa is the cancer of this province evey body knows its easy money
    Scott Anrews or any liberial please reform Acoa
    The telgram please when you write a front page article on these company investigate

  • Jon
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I would rather see 20 companies get $50,000.00 than 1 company get $1,000,000.00 from ACOA.

    I know that is more administration for several smaller companies than one large one, but the fact is the smaller businesses in this province account for more employment and growth than the larger ones.

    I would like to see a ROI for all of ACOA's projects.

  • ½ wit
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Daniel from NL says '...why would anyone get money from these fools?' They don't.

    But if you are lucky and you do, follow Consilient's footsteps and move that money offshore, close shop, and walk away with a pocket full of cash.