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Controversial Cape Breton musician Ashley MacIsaac staged another non-performance for the Halifax media yesterday.

The 25-year-old fiddler left about a dozen journalists in limbo at a downtown Halifax office tower yesterday when he did not appear at the first meeting of creditors after he filed for bankruptcy last month.

Mr. MacIsaac, who has become known as the bad boy of fiddling after several controversial shows -- including a profanity-laced rant in Halifax recently -- told bankruptcy trustee Paul Goodman by telephone he couldn't attend the meeting because he is touring with a band in the southern United States.

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Mr. Goodman told reporters after the brief creditors' meeting that he accepted the musician's reason for not attending the session, which involved only one creditor -- the federal Department of Revenue and Customs. The revenue branch says Mr. MacIsaac owes the government of Canada $180,000.

Mr. MacIsaac's absence won't slow down the trustee in seizing assets to satisfy creditors who say they are owed more than $300,000. Mr. MacIsaac's statement of affairs values his assets at $119,000.

Mr. Goodman said the trustee would be able to seize Mr. MacIsaac's Cape Breton home, his vehicles and other household goods to deal with his debts. However, Mr. MacIsaac will be able to hold on to his fiddles, which he values at about $1,000, under a Nova Scotia law that prevents a trustee from seizing a worker's trade tools.

Mr. Goodman said it is important that Mr. MacIsaac, who has estimated his monthly income at about $4,000, continue to make money to pay off his debts.

"I'd prefer to have the surplus income to the fiddles," he said.

He said Mr. MacIsaac, who has released five compact discs in the past eight years, including the hit Hi, How Are You Today in 1995, appears to have got into trouble financially because he did not deduct income tax from advances paid to him by his company, Ancient Music Ltd. Mr. MacIsaac said in his statement of affairs that he doesn't have any investments, such as registered retirement savings plans.

Mr. Goodman said Mr. MacIsaac's other debts, including $13,000 owed on his Visa credit card, are not unusual. He said the fact that only one creditor showed up at the meeting -- Chrysler Canada also notified the trustee that the musician owes the car company $58,000 on a vehicle -- indicates that creditors had little interest in the proceedings.

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"I think the only issue is that this chap's name is Ashley MacIsaac," Mr. Goodman said.

Mr. MacIsaac set off a media frenzy in January. His bizarre, profanity-filled performance at a Halifax rave on New Year's Eve led to the cancellation of several concerts and other performances for the fiddler, who has been hailed as a musical genius.

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