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The complex web of MLA Drew Barnes and the 11 companies he owns

While researching for an upcoming story, I noticed MLA Drew Barnes claimed as assets, loans to 5 companies. Then I realized they were his own companies.

While researching for an upcoming story, I was browsing through the public disclosure statement that Drew Barnes submitted at the end of 2019. Barnes is the MLA for Cypress–Medicine Hat.

I noticed in the “Assets” section that he claimed as assets, shareholder loans to the following companies:

  • 941203 Alberta Ltd.
  • Chute 9 Roping & Cattle
  • Belcore Holdings Ltd.
  • 1194028 Alberta Ltd.
  • 1401293 Alberta Ltd.

My first reaction was, oh, it must be nice to be able to afford to loan companies money.

But then as I dug deeper into the 21-page document, I realized that some of the companies on the list are listed later as sources of income. In fact, Barnes lists 11 companies in his public disclosure statement as sources of income.

  • 494294 Alberta Inc.
  • 590958 Alberta Inc.
  • 814835 Alberta Ltd.
  • 941703 Alberta Ltd.
  • 1194028 Alberta Ltd.
  • 1401293 Alberta Ltd.
  • Belcore Homes Ltd.
  • Belcore Holdings Ltd.
  • Chute 9 Roping Cattle Inc.
  • Legacy Stucco and Exterior Finishing Ltd.
  • Wayne’s Mini-Storage

Drew Barnes

In the portion of his disclosure where he lists his own income, assets, and liabilities, Barnes includes 4 sources of income:

  • The money he receives as an MLA
  • Salary he receives from 494294 Alberta Inc.
  • Interest and dividends
  • Rental income from related companies.

He then goes on to list 12 rental properties as assets: 1 in Calgary, 1 in Victoria, and 10 in Medicine Hat.

Finally, he also lists in the assets section, shareholder loans to the following companies:

  • 941703 Alberta Ltd. (He had it listed as 941203)
  • Chute 9 Roping & Cattle
  • Belcore Holdings Ltd.
  • 1194028 Alberta Ltd.
  • 1401293 Alberta Ltd.

All of which are in the list above.

In addition to having loans out to these 5 companies, Barnes has listed in his “Liabilities” section, guarantees to the following companies:

  • Belcore Construction
  • Chute 9 Roping
  • 941703 AB Ltd.
  • 494294 AB Ltd.
  • 590948 AB Ltd.

Again, all of which are in the list above. I find it interesting that he has 494294 AB Ltd. listed as his salary source in the assets section but also has a loan guarantee for the same company. He’s the guarantor on the financing for a company that pays his salary.

Weird.

But that’s not all. Not by a long shot.

Frances Barnes

For his spouse’s income, Barnes lists two sources: Alberta Teachers Retirement Fund pension and 494294 AB Inc. And for 494294 AB Inc, his spouse’s income is through interest and dividends, wages from related companies, and rental income from related companies.

Speaking of rental income, you know how I mentioned that Barnes listed 12 rental properties? He listed 26 properties for his spouse (Medicine Hat and Redcliff, AB; Yorkton, Maple Creek, Swift Current, and Regina, SK). He also listed a 12-unit apartment building in Swift Current under her name, as well as some recreational property in Cypress Hills that they lease out.

That brings the rental properties to 39, plus the Cypress Hills leased property.

494294 Alberta Ltd.

The first company listed in Barnes’ disclosure, and which he claims is the source of his salary, is 494294 Alberta Ltd. Its primary source of income is rental properties, and Barnes lists 22 properties in Medicine Hat, 6 properties in Brooks, 1 in Wetaskiwin, 2 in Blairmore, 1 in Barrhead, 3 in St. Paul, 2 in Edmonton, and 1 in Lethbridge, for a total of 38.

Add that to the other 40 rental/leased properties, and we’re up to 78. Keep in mind that some of these are multi-unit apartment buildings, so the actual number of revenue-generating units is much higher.

Also listed as assets are loans to the following businesses:

  • 494294 Alberta Ltd.
  • 814835 Alberta Ltd.
  • 941703 Alberta Ltd.
  • 1192048 Alberta Ltd.
  • 1401293 Alberta Ltd.
  • Belcore Homes
  • Chute 9 Roping
  • Wayne’s Mini Storage

These are all businesses owned by Barnes, as indicated in my original list above. Notice, however, that one of the businesses listed is 494294 Alberta Ltd. So, it loaned money to itself. Oddly, it has no loans to itself listed as liabilities in the disclosure.

Also listed in the assets is a loan to Drew and Frances Barnes. So, Barnes has a shareholder loan to the company that pays his salary, but that same company has a loan out to him?

But wait. There’s more.

According to Edmonton business license records, the rental properties in Edmonton listed in Barnes’s disclosure under 494294 Alberta Ltd. are issued to First Choice Property Management.

The Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce also has a member by the name of First Choice Property Management, located at 1585 Dunmore Road SE. The Facebook page for First Choice was recently deleted.

This company was in the news in 2013. According to a Medicine Hat News article from the front page of their 29 November issue, a tenant of First Choice was issued a mandatory evacuation notice on 21 June of that year, related to a flood in the city. She took the company to court for financial losses and was awarded over $2,000 for rent, deposit, damage to her clothes dryer, and court costs related to the eviction.

In 2014, a home owned by First Choice was gutted by a fire, according to a 2 October 2014 issue of the Medicine Hat News. The renters lost their home on 18 September but still paid rent for October. According to the article, they were trying to recoup the costs of part of September’s rent, part of October’s rent, and the damage deposit. According to the renter, the fire was an electrical issue.

In 2017, 494294 Alberta Inc. was issued an executive officer order from Alberta Health Service’s Environmental Public Health department regarding a rental property in Wetaskiwin. The order was addressed specifically to Barnes, as well as a Kelvin Cowan, who was listed as property manager. In the order, the inspector listed the following conditions of the property:

  • Roof shingles missing and possible roof structure in disrepair
  • “Overhangs” or “jut-out” sections do not appear to be properly supported
  • Exterior steps, landings, and railings are weathered, rotted and in disrepair
  • Interior stairs, landings, and hallways have several areas that are worn-out, damaged and/or in disrepair.
  • Some of the individual apartment balconies are weathered, rotted and/or in disrepair
  • Eavestroughs are plugged up and in disrepair

590958 Alberta Inc.

Another company on his list is 590958 Alberta Inc. It, too, derives its revenue from rental properties, 44 of which are in Medicine Hat, including several multi-unit properties. It also owns 2 in Bow Island, 4 in Brooks, and 6 in Coleman.

That brings the total number of revenue properties that Barnes owns directly or indirectly to 134. And, as mentioned earlier, the number of actual revenue-generating units is much higher, since several properties are townhomes, four-plexes, and apartment buildings.

This company also listed loans as assets to other companies, namely:

  • 814835 Alberta Ltd.
  • 941703 Alberta Ltd.
  • 1041293 Alberta Ltd.
  • 1192048 Alberta Ltd.
  • Belcore Homes Ltd.
  • Chute 9 Roping and Cattle
  • Wayne’s Heating and Mini Storage

Again, these are all companies Barnes owns. He also listed a loan to himself and his spouse as an asset for 590958 Alberta Inc. So that makes two companies he owns that have lent him money. Remember, these are loans, not paycheques.

590958 Alberta Inc. was in the news earlier this week when PressProgress ran a story about one of their properties, where Barnes allegedly threatened a renter with eviction on 1 May, the day that the one-month Alberta eviction ban expired, because he owed nearly $2,000 in deferred rent payments.

814835 Alberta Ltd.

Next on the list is 814835 Alberta Ltd. This one, however, isn’t in the business of rental properties. Instead, it lists “interest” as its main source of income.

For assets, it lists loans to the following companies, again, all owned by Barnes:

  • 494294 Alberta Inc.
  • 814835 Alberta Ltd.
  • 941703 Alberta Ltd.
  • 1194028 Alberta Ltd.
  • Chute 9 Roping Cattle Inc.

Notice the loan to 494294 Alberta Inc. They also received a loan from this company. So they loaned money to 494294 Alberta Inc, who, in turn, loaned money to them?

Barnes also listed the company itself as a loan holder, just like he did for 494294 Alberta Inc, which makes two of his companies that has loaned money to itself.

And like the other two companies listed above, this company also loaned money to Drew and Frances Barnes.

941703 Alberta Ltd.

This is another company that derives its income from rental properties, but it focuses primarily on agricultural land: 20 in the Municipal District of Ranchland and 2 in Cypress County.

That brings the number of income properties so far to 157: 134 rental properties, 22 agricultural leases, and 1 recreational property in Cypress Hills.

This company has no loans listed as assets, but it has 7 loans/lines of credits, including through 4 of Barnes’s companies (814835 Alberta Ltd., Chute 9, 590958 Alberta Ltd., and 494294 Alberta Ltd.), as well as the Barneses themselves.

The address registered with this company matches that of Pritchard & Co, who likely was the law firm that registered the business.

1194028 Alberta Ltd.

Fifth on the list is 1194028 Alberta Ltd., yet another rental property company. It owns 2 properties in Redcliff and 5 in Yorkton. That makes 141 residential rental properties, some of which—as I’ve stated—have multiple units.

Barnes didn’t list any loans for this company in the assets section, but he did list several in the liabilities section, including loans through 5 of his companies and through the Barnes themselves.

Even though it’s an Alberta company, it’s address is for an apartment building located in Yorkton; it had a Medicine Hat address when it was registered in 2005.

1401293 Alberta Ltd.

The 6th company on the list—and the last of the numbered companies—is 1401293 Alberta Ltd., also a rental company. It owns 3 rental properties in Vulcan, as well as several units in the Vulcan Shopping Centre.

This company has loans through the Barneses, but also through 2 of the Barneses’ companies: 590598 Alberta Ltd. and 494294 Alberta Ltd. Interestingly, it has also loaned money to 494294 Alberta Ltd., which brings to 3 the total number of companies that loan money to one another.

Belcore Homes Ltd.

Next on the list is Belcore Homes Ltd., located in Redcliff. Barnes has this company as generating income through home construction and sales. He also has 15 homes listed as assets, as well as 2 lots.

It’s not clear whether any of those homes are rental properties or if they’re newly built, waiting for buyers.

This company was in the news last year when Barnes used his MLA Twitter account to post a photo of a sold sign on a Belcore home, which some people interpreted as a conflict of interest: using a government asset to promote one’s own business.

Also, the Edmonton Sun claims that Belcore was sued in 2015 for $450,000, but the details are sparse.

It has no loans as assets, but 1 of the 3 creditors listed in liabilities is Barnes’s spouse.

Belcore Holdings Ltd.

Formerly Belcore Construction, Belcore Holdings Ltd. generates income through property development and sales, as well as 9 rental properties in Medicine Hat.

In case you’ve lost track, that brings the total number of rental properties to 153, not including the Vulcan commercial property, the Cypress Hills recreational property, the 15 Belcore homes, or the 23 agricultural leases.

It has several loans as liabilities, including loans from Belcore Homes and the Barnses directly. Even though it has a loan from Belcore Homes listed as a liability, Belcore Homes doesn’t have a loan to Belcore Holdings listed as an asset.

It also lists unspecified interests in another of Barnes’s companies: Legacy Stucco and Exterior Finish Inc.

Chute 9 Roping Cattle Inc.

Unlike some of the other companies, Chute 9 Roping Cattle Inc. isn’t in the financial business. It focuses on livestock sales and providing livestock for rodeos as revenue generation. It owns no assets, not even property, but it has out loans through several of Barnes’s companies:

  • 494294 Alberta Inc.
  • 590958 Alberta Ltd.
  • 814835 Alberta Ltd.
  • 941703 Alberta Ltd.
  • 1194028 Alberta Inc.
  • Wayne’s Heating and Mini Storage

That being said, entries for 941703 Alberta Ltd. and 1194028 Alberta Inc. show that they have loans through Chute 9, even though those loans aren’t listed as assets under Chute 9’s details.

Like several of the other companies, Chute 9 also has financing through the Barneses themselves.

Legacy Stucco and Exterior Finishing Ltd.

The second to last company is Legacy Stucco and Exterior Finishing Ltd, based in Redcliff, which seems pretty benign, providing sales and services, presumably related to exteriors.

They have no assets listed and have financing through two lenders, one of which is Belcore Holdings. The loan from Belcore is not listed as an asset under Belcore’s details.

Wayne’s Mini-Storage

And finally, Wayne’s Mini-Storage, also known throughout the disclosure as Wayne’s Heating and Mini Storage.

Like most of the others, Wayne’s derives its income from 4 commercial rental properties, one of which has signage that says “Wayne’s Heated Ministorage Ltd.”

It doesn’t have any other assets listed, but it has listed as liabilities, loans through 2 of Barnes’s companies—494294 Alberta Ltd. and 590598 Alberta Ltd.—as well as through Barnes’s spouse.

Phew. I think I got it all.

Okay. I know that was a lot to take in. Here’s a summary.

Barnes draws income through a total number of 181 rental properties:

  • 158 rental properties, including the commercial property in Vulcan
  • 1 income-generating recreational property in Cypress Hills
  • 23 agricultural leases

Remember, these numbers don’t include the total number of revenue-generating units, as several properties are multifamily homes, such as fourplexes and apartment buildings.

These properties are located in 3 provinces:

  • BC: Victoria
  • AB: Medicine Hat, Calgary, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Redcliff, Brooks, Wetaskiwin, Blairemore, Barrhead, St. Paul, Bow Island, Coleman, Vulcan, MD of Ranchland, Cypress County
  • SK: Maple Creek, Swift Current, Regina, Yorkton

They don’t include the 15 Belcore homes in Medicine Hat and Redcliff, as it’s not clear that they’re generating income. Although the 4908 Southlands Blvd SE property has 3 units and has been around since at least 2012, so it’s unlikely a new home, and it does seem like the type of property Barnes would be interested in.

Below is a map showing which companies are lending money and whom they lend it to. The software I used didn’t allow for reciprocal representation (for example, 494294 and 814835 lent money to each other) nor for self-lending (for example, 494294 lent money to itself).

Clear as mud yet?

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

18 replies on “The complex web of MLA Drew Barnes and the 11 companies he owns”

That was fascinating, but also sets of dozens of red flags to me. If possible, this all should be submitted to the CRA to report them for an audit. Especially the parts about loans that only exist on one of the two companies.

Who gives a rip about how Drew Barnes operates his companies? I understand for the MLA payment; but if you put as much research in to ol’ Trudy on how he’s destroying our country and claiming a dictatorship status. That may get you farther then Drew Barnes.

Thank you so much, Kim, for all your work in tracking down the confusing mess of information! I hope you can find out more about the legality of it all.

Thanks, Denise.

I’m afraid that’ll take tax and legal experts to untangle that mess, which will probably be possible only if he opens his books.

He always raised ethical and moral issues while it was a realtor. Just my opinion.

Wow- incredible. The first question that comes to mind is – how can that all be legal?

Why would you assume anything here is illegal? Is it because he legally disclosed all of his assets in full compliance of the law?

So this is old news. Anyone who has lived in Medicine Hat for a long period of time knows all about the “dealings” of Mr. Barnes. Slum land lord does not even come close. I cannot understand how the “Vetting” process that the UCP goes on and on about could ever think that a person with his much in “cooked” books is a sign of positive character.

Fascinating, so we have a government made up of professional intimidator’s like Kenney and Shandro, professional misogynistic Minister’s (check out Jason Nixon history from peace bonds to confrontations of Fish and Wildlife officers as well as his case with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal involving “sexual harassment”) and now a alleged slump landlord who, like Trump, knows how to bend the rules. I would bet Revenue Canada would love to have a look at this guy. I found Legacy Stucco and Exterior in Redcliff of interest. How much stuccoing can go on in a town of 5600 whose primary industry is “green houses”? When did they start stuccoing glass green houses? I grew up in Alberta but have also lived in Ontario and BC, I use to be proud to be an Albertan, Kenney “corruption” has changed all of that. Excellent research, fact checking is so important these days and yet so misunderstood. We now live in a headline driven society and, as a survivor of one epidemic, it is sad that it takes a pandemic crisis to open peoples eyes…

Unfortunately this probably applies to most of our politicians sadly I feel they’re very corrupt I do agree with the statement that it should be turned over to cra

You should check into why he’s no longer a real estate agent. He started in that and got into trouble.

Awarded at being dishonest manipulative and encouraging others to spend more than they should.

I was alerted to the tenant dispute mentioned above by someone familiar with the case, and as I live in Victoria I can attest to the fact that the Victoria address listed in Barnes’ holdings does not exist. A quick Google Maps search brings up a satellite photo that puts that address in a church parking lot.

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