POLITICS

Christopher Phillips, Man With U.S. Military Links, Arrested In Ottawa

01/21/2015 06:04 EST | Updated 03/23/2015 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - Christopher Phillips, arrested Wednesday after the dramatic overnight evacuation of an Ottawa hotel, has a past that includes an acrimonious split from a former Olympic gymnast and a bankruptcy marked by debts of nearly $4.7 million.

It appears Phillips has links to the U.S. military. Bankruptcy documents say that he received tens of thousands of dollars in "military disability" payments between 2006 and 2008.

Ottawa police arrested Phillips, 42, on the sixth floor of the east-end Chimo Hotel as part of an overnight investigation linked to the evacuation of two areas in Halifax where police found a large quantity of mysterious chemicals — some of which they've described as "volatile" and "dangerous."

Police in Ottawa carefully and quietly evacuated the hotel under cover of darkness before arresting the man without incident Wednesday morning. Phillips has not been charged.

Neither the RCMP nor Ottawa police have identified Phillips — an ophthalmologist by trade — but the manager of his ex-wife said police told her the suspect's identity.

Nick Furris said Shannon Miller, a former Olympic gymnast for the U.S., was told by police that her ex-husband was arrested in the incident.

"Upon hearing the recent news surrounding Christopher Phillips, my prayers immediately go to the safety of those around him," Miller said in a statement.

"I'm thankful that the brave men and women of the Ottawa police department and other law enforcement agencies were able to apprehend him and defuse the situation."

Phillips and Miller were married in a lavish ceremony in Oklahoma City in June 1999. The nuptials — covered by People magazine and the television show "Extra" — featured many of her teammates from the squad that won the team gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

The marriage lasted only seven years. Miller filed for divorce in May 2004 in Massachusetts. The case dragged on for more than two years as the couple fought over money, according to a 2006 report published on NewsOK.com.

Phillips has made a number of allegations about Miller. She in turn has called the marriage "a painful experience."

Two years after the divorce, Phillips abruptly closed his laser eye surgery business in Seattle and filed for bankruptcy on July 2, 2008.

The Canadian Press obtained U.S. bankruptcy court documents that show Phillips claimed assets of $962,109 and liabilities of nearly $4.7 million. The documents also show Phillips was sued by an Illinois company called Prairie Eye Centre for breach of contract.

The Canadian Press has also obtained records from that court case.

Prairie Eye Centre alleged that Phillips posted his resume on the Academy of Ophthalmology website in the summer of 2006 while he was still licensed to practice medicine in Massachusetts. Phillips signed an employment contract with the company and was supposed to start work that November. Prairie Eye Centre said it went to "considerable effort and expense" to find Phillips a place to live, print his business cards and promote its new hire.

But less than two months before his first day of work, Phillips told Prairie Eye Centre that he no longer wanted to work for them, according to the court document. So the company sued Phillips to recoup what it already had spent on him.

Phillips later left the United States and moved to Nova Scotia. His LinkedIn profile lists him as the manager of Neurology and Sleep Medicine Associates Inc.

Nova Scotia corporate documents show the president and director of the company is Dr. Gosia Phillips, his current wife. The company's address — 43 Parkedge Cr. in Dartmouth — is one of the homes being investigated by the RCMP.

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