The application to order bankruptcy, filed by the auctioneer’s landlord Hildegard Hammer, who is claiming Can$130,000 in unpaid rent, was granted on October 26. As a result, Ritchies‘ skeleton staff (those who remained following the exodus of 27 employees in July) have been laid off and the two-storey saleroom at 380 King Street East repossessed.
According to court documents, 42-year-old Ritchies have a single secured creditor, Fleet Street Financial Corp. of Toronto, owed approximately Can$300,000, and multiple unsecured creditors with claims totalling at least Can$1.5m, including consignors to an auction held in early June.
Rumours of financial turmoil at the self-styled ‘Canada’s Premier Auction House’ first emerged in the wake of a sale of Canadian art held in association with Sotheby’s on May 25.
Sotheby’s, who subsequently terminated the relationship, agreed to pay all consignors for that sale.
By Roland Arkell