Saturday, June 28, 2008

 

Pilothouse got $300,000., pays one bribe of $30,000., so were there other bribes?

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Look what I found, with a little help from my friends. We were wondering what the rest of the $300,000.00 was used for. What do you think? - BC Mary.
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EYES TRAINED ON OmniTRAX LOBBYISTS IN BRIBERY CASE

By Greg Griffin
Staff Writer
Denver Post (USA) - 06/09/2007


Denver real estate and railroad investor Pat Broe and a colleague dined at a pricey Italian restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia, in December 2003 with the province's minister of finance.
Apparently unknown to them, the downtown restaurant was staked out by undercover federal agents of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who videotaped the meeting, according to Canadian court records.

Police were interested in whether Broe's Denver-based company, OmniTrax Inc., would receive a gift from the finance minister's office for acting as a straw bidder in an auction for British Columbia's provincial railroad, court records reveal.
But if investigators were focused on Broe and former minister Gary Collins, they later lost interest. Neither was ever named a target of the government's investigation, and the details of their conversation at Villa del Lupo restaurant on Dec. 12, 2003, were never released.

OmniTrax officials said in a 2004 statement the company acted properly during the bidding.
Broe and his company, however, remain deeply entangled in the mess.

According to documents filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver, two lobbyists hired by OmniTrax allegedly paid bribes to ministerial aides for information about the bidding. The bribes were worth nearly $30,000, according to published reports based on additional court filings.


{Snip} ...


The case has drawn intense coverage from Canada's newspapers and on the Internet. In addition to a secret videotaping of a high-ranking public official, it features wiretapped phone conversations revealing unguarded political discussions.

OmniTrax is a political player in Canada, where it operates railroads in three provinces and owns the grain-distributing Port of Churchill on Hudson Bay.

{Snip} ...
[Erik] Bornmann and [Brian] Kieran, a former newspaper columnist, were political operatives in Vancouver working for Pilothouse Public Affairs Group. The firm had a contract with OmniTrax, reportedly worth $300,000 Canadian, to help it win the rail bidding. The firm later changed its name to K&E Public Affairs, with Kieran as a partner.

OmniTrax was one of three finalists bidding in 2003 for the government-owned British Columbia Rail, Canada's third- largest railway. The auction was being handled by Collins' office, and Dave Basi was involved.

Late in 2003, one of the bidders, Canadian Pacific Railway, dropped out. CP Rail officials believed the government had already chosen another bidder, Canadian National Railway, as the successful bidder, according to a February court filing by the defense.
Listening in on Basi's phone, investigators learned in November 2003 that OmniTrax was considering dropping out for the same reason, the defense said in its filing. Basi tried to dissuade them.

"It was clearly in the Provincial government's political interest to have an auction with more than one bidder," defense attorneys said. Canadian National won the bidding, paying $1 billion for BC Rail in late November 2003.

Investigators learned that OmniTrax might be given a "consolation prize" for having stayed in the bidding, according to the defense filing. The company was interested in a smaller spur line that also was being privatized, according to the filing, and had requested a meeting between OmniTrax officials and Collins. The Vancouver restaurant meeting followed.

The sale of the spur line was later canceled. Bornmann, 31, is considered the key witness, having made most of the payments, prosecutors have said in documents. Defense attorneys stated in their February court document that "the special prosecutor has advised defense counsel that Mr. Bornmann continues to this day to have the threat of criminal charges brought against him until after he testifies."

Staff writer Greg Griffin can be reached at 303-954-1241 or ggriffin@denverpost.com.

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_6098753

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It bears repeating (and thanks for the reminder from Anonymous today) ...

Friday, September 28, 2007

More LPCBC connections

Anonymous has left a new comment on "Jamie Elmhirst re-visited":

Mary

You might want to start a separate entry for this as it concerns mainly George MacIntosh and his law firm Farris, Vaughn, Wills and Murphy.

First let me begin by correcting two statements anonymous 10:55 made. Firstly the name of the law partner of George MacIntosh at Farris, Vaughn, Wills and Murphy is James Hatton, not Hattan.

Hatton is listed on the firm's website www.farris.com as a specialist in technological law. He served as secretary on the Liberal Party of Canada in BC executive along with Erik Bornmann and Bruce Clark from 2002 to 2004 and then with Jamie Elmhirst and Bruce Clark from 2004 to 2007. On April 1 2005 he was appointed to a governance position with the National Research Council by the Paul Martin government.

Second, Hatton was not the only person associated with Farris, Vaughn, Wills and Murphy who served with Jamie Elmhirst on the lpcbc executive. Shannon Salter succeeded Erik Bornmann as communications director, serving in that position from 2004 to 2007. When she started in this position she was a UBC law student. Then in 2005 she articled with Farris, Vaughn, Wills and Murphy. Then in March 2007 she joined Farris, Vaughn, Wills and Murphy as an associate, working in their commercial litigation group headed up by George MacIntosh.

MacIntosh who is regarded as one of the leading experts in commercial litigation law, has been with Farris Vaughn, Wills and Murphy since 1974. There is no mention of either MacIntosh or his firm ever having any involvement with criminal law.

This raises the question, why did George MacIntosh agree to represent Erik Bornmann as a client when:(a)MacIntosh's expertise lay in litigation law NOT criminal law and this was a criminal case.(b)there was a potential case of conflict of interest with MacIntosh's partner James Hatton serving on the same lpcbc executive as Eric Bornmann and Bruce Clark, a man Bornmann accused in his statements to police of being involved in the Basi affair.

As it turned out, Erik Bornmann did not get very good representation from George MacIntosh. What kind of a lawyer negotiates an immunity deal for his client without putting it in writing? Perhaps a lawyer who specializes in commercial litigation but is lacking in experience when it comes to criminal law!

For the record, Hatton and Salter both supported Gerard Kennedy in the Liberal leadership race whilst Elmhirst and Clark supported Stephane Dion.

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For the record, Anonymice, your information is very much appreciated. - BC Mary.

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Comments:
Vancouver Sun
"Another Kamloops mill may shut
Cam Fortems, Kamloops Daily News
Published: Saturday, June 28, 2008"

*****It was the bottom line in this article that caught my attention early this Saturday morning******:

"Mackenzie (2 hours north of Prince George), a town of about 5,500, lost 1,500 jobs in pulp and sawmilling."

********************************
********************************

"April 2004"
BC RAIL / CN TRANSACTION UPDATE

"BC Rail will still exist as the British Columbia Railway Company (BCRC) to look after the entities not included in the transaction, which are BCR Properties, Vancouver Wharves/BCR Marine, BCR Captive Insurance, Finlay Navigation, and other small subsidiaries."

NOTE: Finlay Navigation serviced MacKenzie, BC.

*********I wasn't looking for a direct connection between BC RAIL and Mackenzie, BC, but I stumbled across this which started down its path TWO YEARS before the BC Liberals "found" CN Rail to being the winning contender from a field of one*******************:

"Seeking Proposals to Purchase Finlay Navigation Unit
-----------------------------------
BC Rail intends to seek a private operator for its inland marine
transportation business and has appointed Forum Capital Partners
as its financial advisor for the sale of Finlay Navigation............."


Hmmmmm. Could someone remind who the Solicitor-General was when the RCMP raided the legislature? Was it the guy who failed BC forest industry and its workers last week and he had to be transferred to the Housing department by the Premier?

Note: Where Willingdon in Burnaby will house 100 beds for Vancouver street people there is a golden opportunity here to send 5,500 to downtown Mackenzie!
 
I suspect that some of the $300,000 may have been used to lure Jamie Elmhirst away from his job in the provincial government by offering him a more lucrative salary with Pilothouse. Remember Elmhirst joined pilothouse not long after Basi allegedly received the last installment of the $60,000 payment from developers Duncan and Young. Unlike Finance Ministry employee Basi, Environment Ministry employee Elmhirst was in a position to influence the release of the coveted piece of forest land fron the Agricultural Land Reserve. Maybe being put on the Pilothouse payroll was Elmhirst reward for services rendered while in government.
 
Changes to the Federal regulations regarding what an employee/MLA can do after leaving the inner circle of government goes a long way to ensure that there isn't a"culture of entitlement" being enjoyed:

eg. Liberals Sponsorship Scandal

Imposition of a five-year, post-employment prohibition on becoming a lobbyist once a Designated Public Office Holder has left office;

********************

Provincially: For those that the BC Liberals hired to be operatives within the Legislative buildings eg. Basi/Virk/Basi (doing double duty by looking for future pickings of plum jobs with Paul Martin's crew in Ottawa).... leaves them to select a time that is ripe for them, for free, and take what they know to the highest bidder in private companies (ICBC CEO leaves for wind turbine company supplying power to BD Hydro grid?????). They should be under some form of restriction which is more stringent than the hollow one that is required by former MLAs. eg. Graham Bruce with Mike Morton saying "......"If the premier agrees to meet with someone, he's not meeting on the understanding that he's being lobbied," said Morton. "The obligation is on the individual to be sure they're meeting the criteria for the conflict-of-interest act (Graham Bruce) or the lobbyist registrations act (Mark Jiles and Patrick Kinsella)."


With the great long list of duly recorded meetings, between registered lobbyists and the Government eg. the Premier and his Ministers and staff, being made available to the public, when will the government take to writing a law that will put the onus on those we elected, to realize that ANY meeting, must be taken as one that has to be made available to the public?

eg. Any record of Jamie Elmhirst being approached by Pilot House?
 
Mary,
You must have considered contacting Greg Griffin...

I wonder if he might be kinda glad to hear from you too?
 
Re: Threat of criminal charges against Bornman

Mary, I think it's time we take a closer look at George Macintosh, the lawyer who represented Erik Bornman. When Macintosh's name last appeared in the news, it was in connection with his being appointed special prosecutor for a case involving the alleged business wrongdoings of Attorney General Wally Oppal's brother. Our asleep at the wheel press failed to utilize the tantalizing headline of "Erik Bornman's lawyer to prosecute Wally Oppal's brother!".
Now George Macintosh is partner in the Vancouver law firm of Farris Vaughn Wills and Murphy. His specialty is corporate litigation and he is considered to be at the top of his field. Presumebly his services come at a high price. This raises the question, why would Erik Bornman pay a high priced corporate litigation specialist to represent him in a criminal matter. Or did Bornman pay Macintosh at all? We don't know if Macintosh was working pro bono or did someone other than Bornman pay for his services? It would be interesting to find out.
We do know that two of Macintosh's partners at Farris Vaughn had extensive political connections. R Hector MacKay-Dunn was a former constituency association president of BC Premier Gordon Campbell. James Hatton served on the lpcbc executive alongside Erik Bornman. It is uncertain whether MacKay-Dunn knew Bornman, but Hatton certainly did. Was Bornman referred to Macintosh by either MacKay-Dunn or Hatton? Since Bornman knew Hatton, it would make no sense for him to hire Hatton's law partner without consulting Hatton first.
Anyway, Bornman did not get very good representation from corporate litigation specialist George Macintosh. Macintosh failed to get a written immunity agreement for Bornman from special prosecutor William Berardino, another corporate litigation specialist. As a result Bornman is now open to prosecution for illegal activities he admitted to police thinking he had an immunity agreement which he really didn't have.
The question is, who was George Macintosh really representing when he agreed to take on Bornman's case. The political connections of his two law partners, one of whom most certainly referred Bornman to Macintosh, suggest that Macintosh might have been looking out for the interests of someone higher up in the political food chain, rather than the interests of his client, Bornman. Keep this in mind, it was while being represented by the law partner of the constituency association president of the premier that Eric Bornman told police that the brother of the, then, deputy premier had told him to bribe David Basi. I hope defense counsel makes good on the promise they made last year to call George Macintosh to the stand. Hopefully, they will call his two politically connected law partners as well.
 
RCMP targeted aides - Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, April 28, 2007

"McCullough argued that police failed to properly investigate the relationship between Brian Kieran, a lobbyist with Pilothouse, and deputy finance minister Paul Taylor.


He asserted that despite Taylor's close relationship with Kieran, RCMP never questioned Taylor whether he gave any documents or information about BC Rail to Kieran or another Pilothouse partner, Erik Bornmann.

"They don't talk to Mr. Taylor about his relationship with Pilothouse," the lawyer said in his sixth day of legal arguments for more disclosure of documents from the special prosecutor.

"Where's the investigation of Taylor? It's not done," McCullough said. "The RCMP should have asked Taylor if he gave any information to Kieran."

McCullough read in court Friday an e-mail dated Aug. 23, 2003 sent from Kieran to another Pilothouse partner, Jamie Elmhirst.

Kieran said he had been fishing that day with "Paul" -- McCullough told the court it was Paul Taylor, then deputy minister to finance minister Gary Collins -- and he "got the real goods" on the B.C. Automobile Dealers Association.

Kieran said in his e-mail that Taylor had talked to Glen Ringdal, then president of the association, who said he needed government relations and Taylor had mentioned Pilothouse.

The e-mail said Taylor told Ringdal he would have to pay about $50,000 a year for good government relations work, so Kieran suggested charging $6,000 a month, plus $1,500 a month in expenses, to the association for Pilothouse's services."

"......Kieran and Taylor live next door to each other on Pender Island."



********************************

Deputy Finance Minister suggests $50,000 a year; Kieran replies to Automobile Dealers Association with $90,000 (monthly fee including a stipend of expenses).

If that's Kieran's maximum rate then the Denver railroad company's contract of $300,000 - $60,000 alleged bribe = $240,000; minus $90,000 yearly lobbyist fee, leaves $150,000 under the table not accounted for.

The nice thing about living on a deserted gulf island, is the fact that emails, snail mail, phone calls are not a requirement for carrying out a healthy discussion between one neighbour and another.
 
I don't know if I like the way this topic is starting to name names which includes lawyers close to the Premier's election team.

How does mentioning R Hector MacKay-Dunn help answer anything to do with the BC Legislature being raided?

Although ........ it is interesting to follow where R Hector MacKay-Dunn sits, with the Premier. For example there's Leading Edge Endowment Fund
launched by the Government of British Columbia On April 18, 2002 which encourages social and economic development in B.C."

The page of who the Board of Directors are includes their Bio which is kind of neat.

R Hector MacKay-Dunn is a also a dirctor of Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Corporation where "they apply a strategic and specialized approach to commercializing products for complex therapeutic categories." and "Genome British Columbia" also known simply as Genome BC*****!!!!

Hassan Khosrowshahi, another director of LEEF, is the chairman of Inwest Investments Ltd. In 2002, his company purchased "Drug Royalty Inc." which participates in the pharmaceutical industry by purchasing rights to drugs worldwide in return for royalties."
-------------------------------

I suppose, all of this goes to keeping the costs of drugs DOWN for the guy on the street.

Wasn't there some uproar with the BC Liberal Government wanting to shut down Therapeutics Initiative which is at arms length from government, pharmaceutical industry and other vested interest groups.

Oh Yeah, I remember now, it was "When Dr. Blair Speaks.....

......We Listen
" Posted by The Gazetteer:

"the government of Gordon Campbell wants to kill the funding for a pre-existing program called the "Therapeutics Initiative"."


Gazetteer suggests at the bottom of his post that we should do a search on lobbyist in "Health" and "Pharma" ..... who shows up as being active?....Genome BC.

Just a coincident, doesn't mean anything.

I don't know. Just what do they talk about at these meetings, do they ever digress from the topics at hand and talk about other, more importants items that are not on the Agenda?
 
NVGrumps, you might want to check the archives of this website for September 28 2007. There are some interesting comments there including one about a company called "Engene" that R. Hector MacKay-Dunn is involved with, According to their website www.engeneinc.com they receive funding from the National Research Council. And guess who has been sitting on the National Research Council since 2005 but MacKay-Dunn's colleague at Farris Vaughn, James Hatton, an appointee of the Paul Martin government.
 
I was just watching the CanWest Global morning news when I heard anchorman Steve Darling announce that the BC Rail corruption trial was scheduled to start today. I wonder where they get their information from. Their sources don't seem to be very up to date.
 
Anonymous 7:12,

I'm not in the legal profession associated indirectly or otherwise with the goings on in the hallowed halls of Justice Bennett's where she is presideing over the Breach of Trust of Basi/Virk, I'm not even a a "Philadelphia lawyer" (n. A shrewd attorney adept at the discovery and manipulation of legal technicalities.)

I'm just one of those plain old baby boomers retiring Adams and Eves, one of those voters that political party operators need when it comes to being on the bankwagon (misspelling intended) to be lolled and swayed by Party politics do gooders (operatives) proving that they can run our governments, cleaner, if they only had an additional 2.4 cents being placed into General Revenue coffers.

When the Sponsorship Scandal broke, so too did my allegiance to Paul Martin, even though he was never the author of the Federal Liberals "entitlement" clause.

Premier Cambpell's crew? I'm surprised they haven't thrown in the towel, based simply on their New Era promise of being Open and Transparent, and started swabbing the decks as though they were getting ready for a Boston Tea Party.

Politicians are a very small percentage of total voters whether it be provincial or federal and yet it seems to me, that the moment that they become an MLA or an MP, the values that showed that they were equal to the challenge of being our representative now rate themselves at zero.

The BC Liberals could do all taxpayers a service by volunteering to go before the courts and make their statements as to how they managed to hire two guys, maybe more, that ended up abusing their trust (MLAs).

What we have before us is Erik Bornman agreeing that he did pass on cash to two aides via a third one.

Its obvious to me that what we need is a trial involving Bornman, get it over and done with, and move on from there.
 
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Anonymouse 8:30,

Nice surprise, eh?

Well ... I guess Steve Darling could be considered correct inasmuch as June 30 was mentioned a while ago as the much-anticipated launch date for the BCRail Corruption Trial.

Only problem is: it didn't happen. I even checked out today's Supreme Court listings after receiving your message and nope, Case #23299 isn't on that list.

Dang!

But I hope it won't be much longer before you can announce that this agonizing wait is finally over.

.
 
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All this information,so nicely sourced, on MacKay-Dunn, Hatton, Paul Martin, Big Pharma connections and more, provides rich pickin's for anyone with the time and imagination to investigate further.

And NVG, it does lead almost unavoidably into the land-mined realm of partisan affiliations.

The BCRail Corruption Case itself could lead us to question political affiliations because there's no doubt: we had one 77-person political group forming government while facing a 2-person Opposition of another political group.

But ...

... the longer we can keep paranoid political viewpoints OUT of our discussion, the farther ahead we will be in understanding what happened to BCRail. That's been my view from Day One.

I figure we're all in this together, all of us asking pretty much the same questions:

* who decided to sell BCRail?
* why did they want to sell BC Rail?
* who developed the sales plan?
* when was the idea first floated?
* which Ministry was in charge?
* which Ministry conducted negotiations?
* where are the Minutes of all those meetings?
* who gave the step-by-step OKs as the agreement developed?
* who gave the final stamp of approval?
* why wasn't the deal given public approval before it was signed?
* who signed the final agreement?
* why is the final agreement still secret?
* is this a binding agreement or is CN free of certain obligations after 5 years?
* was B.C. paid for BCRail?
* if so, how much? Was it $1Billion or $199Million?
* date and format of payment?
* is there a buy-back clause?
* what are the buy-back terms?

These are some of the questions which any person of any political party might ask. That's why I think it's possible to provide that information in a spirit of co-operation, knowing that we're all in this together, all of us hoping for the best.

It could be said this way: I hope that one day soon, we could all pile onto a long line of BCRail Passenger trains and set off together, regardless of political parties, to celebrate the return of BCRail to public ownership ...

WooHooo!

Man, that would be a ride in which "party" would mean only one thing.
I'll bring the peanuts.

So please keep that information coming.

And Happy First o'July, everyone!

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The way that the public service is set up, it would appear that if Basi/Virk were troubled by the police raiding the BC Legislature, then it would be their immediate managers who would sort things out.

Did they (the managers)? and if so, maybe the elected political bosses are not involved in the BC Rail corruption trial at all.

Standards of Conduct for Public Service Employees

Public Service Oath


Examples of conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

an employee uses government property or the employee’s position, office or government affiliation to pursue personal interests;
an employee is in a situation where the employee is under obligation to a person who might benefit from or seek to gain special consideration or favour;
an employee, in the performance of official duties, gives preferential treatment to an individual, corporation or organization, including a non-profit organization, in which the employee, or a relative or friend of the employee, has an interest, financial or otherwise;
an employee benefits from, or is reasonably perceived by the public to have benefited from, the use of information acquired solely by reason of the employee’s employment;
an employee benefits from, or is reasonably perceived by the public to have benefited from, a government transaction over which the employee can influence decisions (for example, investments, sales, purchases, borrowing, grants, contracts, regulatory or discretionary approvals, appointments);
an employee requests or accepts from an individual, corporation or organization, directly or indirectly, a personal gift or benefit that arises out of their employment in the public service, other than:
the exchange of hospitality between persons doing business together,
tokens exchanged as part of protocol,
the normal presentation of gifts to persons participating in public functions, or
the normal exchange of gifts between friends.
an employee solicits or accepts gifts, donations or free services for work-related leisure activities other than in situations outlined above.

 
To answer the original question of "Were there other bribes", we know that there was at least one. Pilothouse paid money to the mayor of Quesnel, via cheque made out to his driving school, in order to get his public support for the sale of BCRail. Check your archives for May 3 2007
 
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Well done, Anonymous 10:22,

Thanks!

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G West,

You suggested, a while ago -- way up toward the top of this thread -- that I contact the author of this Denver newspaper article.

I did. I e.mailed him at the address given at the end of his story.

Sorry to say, there's been no reply yet.


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