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HomeMiscellanyHow Rich Coleman and BC Housing snubbed one reporter and all of B.C.’s taxpayers

How Rich Coleman and BC Housing snubbed one reporter and all of B.C.’s taxpayers

Bob Mackin

More about how the sausage is made. 

This time, the BC Housing edition. 

That’s the Crown corporation controlled by Deputy Premier Rich Coleman. Its mandate is to house the poor, but it is under fire for apparently enriching BC Liberal donors. 

Coleman (Mackin)

Two downtown Vancouver projects involving $80 million of public money are under the microscope. The RCMP is investigating one of them.

On March 9, NDP critic David Eby tabled a leaked report in Question Period about BC Housing’s non-tendered, private-public partnership in Chinatown with Wall Financial Corp. theBreaker found BC Housing paid almost $7 million to buy the land, only days after Bruno and Peter Wall donated $400,000 to the BC Liberals in February 2016

On April 5, Postmedia’s Sam Cooper reported the RCMP is investigating the Brenhill land swap after a complaint by South Vancouver Parks Society’s Glen Chernen. Liberal bagman Bob Rennie was on the BC Housing board when the deal was made and his company later marketed the luxury tower component of the land swap.

A March 28, not-for-attribution technical briefing by BC Housing chief financial officer Dan Maxwell at Burnaby headquarters left reporters with more questions than answers about both the Brenhill and Wall deals. 

Coleman was not in attendance, nor was he made available over the phone.  

theBreaker noticed timing inconsistencies in the minutes of a Nov. 23, 2015 board meeting that were provided to reporters. The board rubber-stamped a recommendation to spend $7 million to buy the Wall land,

Wall $36 million to build 172 units and then pay Wall $15.4 million to buy 104 units for social housing rentals. 

Ramsay (BC Housing)

The minutes say that BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay “left the room at 3:56 p.m. due to a conflict.” Ramsay is married to Atira CEO Janice Abbott and the report on the Wall proposal said Atira was the preferred operator of the building. 

The minutes also say Ramsay returned to the meeting four minutes later at 4 p.m.

But, on the first page of the minutes, it says the meeting was called to order at 4 p.m.

The board also gave provisional approval to loan Townline Ventures $23.2 million for its 84-unit, mixed use project at 2513 Clarke Street, the Strand. Townline owner Rick Ilich donated $100,000 to the Liberals on the same February 2016 day as the Walls gave $400,000.

theBreaker asked BC Housing for clarification of the timing discrepancy in the minutes and details and documents about the Townline project. 

BC Housing dawdled and dawdled for almost two weeks until the day the election writ was issued. It used that as an excuse to shut the door on theBreaker

Questions remain unanswered about dubious board minutes and another non-tendered, P3 deal between a Coleman Crown corporation and a big Liberal donor. 

Coleman refused to comment after he was approached by theBreaker, on-camera, outside the April 10 BC Liberal Leader’s Dinner fundraiser. 

The BC Liberals doubled BC Housing’s budget to $1.33 billion for the election year. 

BC Housing’s lack of responsiveness to routine media questions in 2017 recalls similar secretive behaviour by B.C. Pavilion Corporation and Liquor Distribution Branch when those taxpayer-owned companies were controlled by career politician and ex-Mountie Coleman before the 2013 provincial election. 

Below is theBreaker’s March 30-April 11 email exchange with BC Housing’s communications department.

MARCH 30

From: Bob Mackin [mailto:bob@thebreaker.news]
Sent: March-30-17 9:41 AM
To: Ally Skinner-Reynolds; dfreeman@bchousing.com
Subject: media request – Nov. 23, 2015 minutes and Towline

Hello, 

Regarding the Nov. 23, 2015 BC Housing board minutes, would you be able to confer with John Bell to clarify and correct the timing of the meeting?  

It says the meeting was called to order at 4 p.m.

Under Capital Review Committee, it says Shayne Ramsay left the room at 3:56 p.m. due to a conflict. 

It says on the next page that he returned to the meeting at 4 p.m. (before the Townline Ventures agenda item). 

Could Mr. Bell explain the inconsistency and correct the timing, if he is able? 

On the matter of the BC Housing financing for Townline Ventures’ project at 2513 Clarke St., Port Moody — for $23,228,253 — what is the status of that project and that financing?  

Would you be able to share with me documents about the Townline Ventures matter, similar to those about Brenhill and Wall that were provided at the media briefing? 

Specifically, the board submission, board minutes and agreement with Townline?  

Sincerely,

Bob Mackin

reporter, theBreaker

Cindy Kralj <ckralj@bchousing.org> Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 9:49 AM

To: “bob@thebreaker.news” <bob@thebreaker.news>

Hi Bob,

Ally sent your request my way, so I’ll work on getting the answers for you. Can you please tell me your

deadline?

Thanks,

Cindy Kralj

Senior Communications Specialist

Corporate Communications|BC Housing

Bob Mackin <bob@thebreaker.news> Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 10:06 AM

To: Cindy Kralj <ckralj@bchousing.org>

5 p.m. today. Thank-you.

Cindy Kralj <ckralj@bchousing.org> Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 3:13 PM

To: Bob Mackin <bob@thebreaker.news>

Hi Bob,

Thanks for letting me know your deadline. We’re working on it and I hope to have a response for you by 5 p.m.

If I don’t end up sending you something (I’ll be leaving around 4 p.m.), you’ll get a response from Ally.

Thanks,

Cindy

MARCH 31

Bob Mackin <bob@thebreaker.news> Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 11:50 AM

To: Cindy Kralj <ckralj@bchousing.org>

Hi,

Any info yet?

Thank-you,

—bob

Cindy Kralj <ckralj@bchousing.org> Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 12:05 PM

To: Bob Mackin <bob@thebreaker.news>

Hi Bob,

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to send you anything yet. We’ve been quite busy. I’ll get you something as soon as I can though.

Thanks,

Cindy

APRIL 5

Bob Mackin <bob@thebreaker.news> Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 9:31 AM

To: Cindy Kralj <ckralj@bchousing.org>, mloup@bchousing.org

Any info yet?

Mat Loup <mloup@bchousing.org> Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 9:55 AM

To: Bob Mackin <bob@thebreaker.news>

Nothing yet, I will follow up.

APRIL 10

Bob Mackin <bob@thebreaker.news> Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 3:40 PM

To: Mat Loup <mloup@bchousing.org>, dfreeman@bchousing.com, Ally Skinner-Reynolds <asreynolds@bchousing.org>,

Cindy Kralj <ckralj@bchousing.org>

Hello,

I have not had a reply to my queries about the inconsistency in the November 2015 minutes and the loan to Townline.

It has been almost two weeks. Please see the bottom to refresh your memory.

On a separate matter, in the Statements of Financial Information, there was a $3.4 million payment to Central Park Development Ltd., which is a Bosa company. What was that for?

Sincerely,

Bob Mackin

APRIL 11

Cindy Kralj <ckralj@bchousing.org> Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 9:31 AM

To: Bob Mackin <bob@thebreaker.news>

Hi Bob,

I’m sorry for the delay on this one. I’ll work to get you something as soon as I can.

Thanks,

Cindy

Cindy Kralj <ckralj@bchousing.org> Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 3:58 PM

To: Bob Mackin <bob@thebreaker.news>

Hi Bob,

As background information for you, as you know, the provincial government has entered into a writ period. During this period, we do not provide comment on the campaign promises of any political party, or make comments about government programs, policies and services. Further, as part of our obligation to remain impartial during this time, we will not be offering support beyond pointing you to publicly available data or information.

Thank you,

Cindy Kralj

Senior Communications Specialist

Corporate Communications|BC Housing

 

Nov. 23, 2015 BC Housing by BobMackin on Scribd