Kevin O’Leary is worth millions; here’s why he can’t pay off his $500K election debt

Months after dropping out of the Conservative leadership race, Kevin O'Leary's campaign still owes more than half a million dollars. Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Kevin O’Leary, an accomplished Canadian businessman who is worth around $400 million, is still trying to pay off his election debt after a failed attempt to run as the Conservative leader.

The Shark Tank star announced his bid for in Conservative leadership race in January 2017 but dropped out in April. After he quit the race, he endorsed Quebec MP Maxime Bernier, whose campaign also owes money.

READ MORE: Kevin O’Leary drops out of Conservative leadership race

Both candidates lost the Conservative race to Andrew Scheer.

According to Elections Canada records, O’Leary’s campaign owes a total of $529,184. So why doesn’t the millionaire pay it off himself?

Elections Canada puts a cap on how much a candidate can contribute to their own campaign, so O’Leary has to gather new donations to pay it off.

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“A leadership contestant is permitted to give a total of $25,000 in contributions, loans and loan guarantees to his or her campaign,” Elections Canada states.

Records shows, he owes thousands of dollars to Winnipeg venue, the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, $700 to a P.E.I craft beer producer and $300 to a cheese boutique in Toronto (just to name a few).

The fees have to be paid off within three years of the end of the race.

READ MORE: Ex-Tory MP Dean Del Mastro jailed after losing appeal in election overspending case

O’Leary isn’t the only candidate in the red after the Conservative race.

Bernier, who was a frontrunner in the race and backed by O’Leary when he dropped out, owes around $250,397, according to Elections Canada. And Conservative MP Lisa Raitt owes $11,591.

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Global News reached out to O’Leary for a comment but did not hear back at the time of publication.

WATCH: Kevin O’Leary finishes in 11th place in the Conservative leadership race

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Kevin O’Leary finishes in 11th place in the Conservative leadership race

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