A businessman in Ottawa is claiming to have burned more than $1 million cash in an attempt to avoid having to pay spousal and child support to his ex-wife. The man in question is Bruce McConville, a former mayoral candidate who, ironically, ran on a tough-on-crime platform before he lost his election. His claims that he burned a total of $1,039,000, however, are not flying with Supreme Court judge, Kevin Phillips.

In his latest effort to dodge a court order dictating that he file an affidavit over his finances in order to determine how much he owes in child and spousal support, McConville has claimed that the profits from selling businesses and properties behind his ex-wife's back are gone. Despite a separate court order that he not sell his properties, McConville sold his assets to his accountant, and refused to pay $300,000 to the court as a security. During a contempt motion last week, he told Judge Phillips that he made up to 25 withdrawals from half-dozen bank accounts that totalled the $1,050,000 he made from his secret sales. When asked where the money was, McConville indicated that he "destroyed" it. He was pressed for clarification, and after rambling on, he admitted that he "burnt it" in portions on two separate occasions: $743,000 on September 23rd, and $296,000 on December 15th.

Judge Phillips was alarmed, but grew more and more suspicious when McConville stated that he did not record the burning, and that no witnesses were present. “It’s not something that I would normally do,” McConville explained. “I am not a person that is extremely materialistic. A little goes a long way. I have always been frugal. That’s why my business lasted for 31 years.” On January 28th, Judge Phillips declared that it was "crystal clear" that McConville has "deliberately set out to thwart the court and the proper administration of justice." McConville was sentenced to 30 days in jail, and is required to pay a $2,000 per day fine, which will not count towards his spousal support nor child support, until he gives an honest account of his finances to the court. He was also threatened with future incarceration that would make his current sentence seem like a "walk in the park." 

Judge Phillips pointed out how monumentally McConville has failed his kids, noting, "you have set out to do damage to your children’s future by destroying, on purpose, the financial wherewithal that you had to provide for their best interests.” He then informed him that “it may well be, therefore, that your remaining assets, equity in the home and RRSPs, etc., end up entirely in the hands of [your ex-wife]. If that’s the result you are trying to bring about, then so be it. But you cannot thumb your nose at the court as you have done.” He also urged McConville "to get in compliance because that $2,000 a day is going to run up such that you lose everything."