Hacienda Sarria owes creditors more than $1M, bankruptcy documents show
KITCHENER -- A popular wedding venue owes couples and other creditors more than $1 million, according to bankruptcy documents.
Hacienda Sarria closed for good last month, leaving many wondering if they would get their deposits back on their weddings.
A preliminary report from BDO, the company handling the bankruptcy, showed the company owes more than $1 million. The report also said the company had been struggling for years and the president hadn't been paid since 2018.
The report was presented to creditors at a virtual three-hour meeting on Tuesday morning.
Mitch Taylor, who is one of those creditors, called the meeting painful.
"The main hope and understanding was that we would have some sort of clarity in terms of where the deposits went and ultimately the standing of the company," Taylor said.
Taylor said he was disappointed after the meeting. He and his fiancee are among 90 couples affected by the venue's closure, hoping to get their deposit back.
A number of companies, including caterers, are also listed as unsecured creditors.
"The main tone of the meeting was fact findings," said Mike Braga, the insolvency trustee handling the case for BDO. "We had a lot of individuals that had a lot of great questions that came up at this meeting that we are mandated to go back and try to get some answers."
The report also said the venue's financial struggles worsened when pandemic restrictions went into place back in March.
BDO said the building was leased from a family member. When the pandemic started, rent was negotiated down from $16,500 a month to just over $4,000. The report also said 37 workers were laid off temporarily and the company secured a $40,000 loan under the Canada Emergency Business Account Program.
But, those cost-saving attempts weren't enough.
"The company received a demand for payment from a key vendor. The demand indicated that failure to pay the amount of approximately $123,000 before Oct. 23, 2020 would result in the suspension of further services," the report said.
It also said Hacienda Sarria wouldn't be able to continue operating without this key vendor.
"This creditor demand, coupled with a lack of revenue, ongoing costs and uncertainty on future event sizes resulted in the company filing for bankruptcy on Oct. 21," the report said.
"Bankruptcies take a long time," Braga said. "This is one first step in that process to get these individuals the answers that they're looking for."
Taylor said he and others will continue trying to get their money back.
"The consensus is to stay strong and united together and to not back down from this," he said.
CTV News reached out to Nadine Doyle, president of Hacienda Sarria. She said she was able to attend the meeting and doesn't wish to comment.