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Furrier Bankrupt

http://www.torontos TorontoAndGTA/ 2008/06/18/ 5910621-sun. html

Fur is flying again as furrier Paul Magder tries to fend off collection firms looking for the city fines he has been unable to afford for almost 15 years.

"I call this persecution, " the weary Magder said yesterday.

Forced into bankruptcy after years of championing Sunday shopping, he insists a Crown attorney promised that he would be left alone, despite running up $500,000 in fines plus $1 million in court costs.

But within a year collection agencies demanded the fines be paid, Magder said.

They've never stopped, with an "occasional wave of calls," plus letters, he and his son, Paul, said in interviews.

Demands ranged from hundreds of dollars to $40,000.

Some callers want Magder to pay personal fines, but most try to tap the bone-dry accounts of long-defunct Paul Magder Furs Ltd.

"It doesn't exist anymore," he said from the Spadina building he still calls home.

There, sons Paul and Glen continue the family business under another name, with their dad as general manager.

Believing he was a victim of the anti-fur lobby, Magder Sr. said he was the only one bankrupt among several big-name merchants who fought the law on Sunday closings in the 1980s.

"I'm 72 years old," he said.

"I've been through a lot."

He said the provincial NDP government took him to court in a bid to collect the fines.

Magder said he is still bothered that creditors and individuals lost money due to his bankruptcy.

His store and stock were padlocked Nov. 9, 1993.

Paul Jr. said the collection agencies' demands "are very upsetting to him. It strikes a raw nerve.

"You can't reason with them," he said.

"I try to refer them to the trustees, but they don't want to hear anything .. they want to be paid."

Once a trustee in bankruptcy takes over a company, a previous owner "can't do anything any more," Magder's son said.

"He's talked to his lawyer and a couple of city councillors to see if they can do something," Paul Jr. said.

"It's just not acceptable," said lawyer Tim Danson, who defended Magder.

"What they did was profoundly unfair and they're still harassing him."

Danson said he is trying to get City Hall to curb the agencies.

City officials could not be reached late yesterday.

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