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HomeBusinessAquilini family among donors to Kennedy Stewart’s re-election campaign

Aquilini family among donors to Kennedy Stewart’s re-election campaign

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Bob Mackin 

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says he raised more than $1.13 million since launching his first campaign four years ago.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart (Twitter)

In a list of people who donated $100 or more released Aug. 8, Stewart’s political party Forward Together says it has received donations from 2,473 people since May 2018.

The disclosure covers the period from May 10, 2018 to June 30, 2022 and discloses 6,480 separate donations averaging $175.01.

For the first half of 2022, Forward Together has received donations from 335 people, on pace to beat the 2021 total of 482 well before the Oct. 15 election day. 

In the last two years alone, Stewart received almost $14,000 in donations from members of the Aquilini family, owners of the Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena, and real estate partners with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, three of the four first nations supporting the Canadian Olympic Committee’s bid to bring the 2030 Winter Olympics to Vancouver. 

The list shows 2021 donations from brothers Francesco ($1,238.07) and Roberto Aquilini ($1,239). Francesco and Roberto Aquilini each gave $1,250 in 2022, along with father Luigi, Roberto’s wife Deanna ($1,250) and Aquilini children Dax, Karsyn, Keely, Pierce and Quinn. 

After coming to power in 2017, the NDP government banned corporate and union donations in provincial and municipal campaigns. Since then, names of prominent donors’ relatives have appeared more frequently on campaign finance lists.

Jim Chu, the former Vancouver Police chief now working as a vice-president of Aquilini Investment Group, is on the list for $1,239 in 2021 and $1,250 in 2022. 

In April, Francesco Aquilini threw his support behind Stewart’s re-election campaign, when he hosted an April 25 fundraiser at the Captain’s Room in Rogers Arena. The event was officially called the Mayor’s Engagement Lunch. Stewart advertised tickets for the event at $600, $900 and $1,250. The latter was considered a  “leadership donor” purchase that includes attendance for all campaign events and is the maximum allowable by individuals under Elections BC rules for the year.

In 2014, Aquilini companies donated $60,000 to Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver, three times as much as they gave the opposition NPA. Aquilini companies donated $12,500 to the Burnaby Citizens’ Association in 2013 and 2017. In 2020, Francesco Aquilini gave $1,200 personally to the NDP-aligned council majority party. 

Aquilini Investment Group and MST Development Corp., the Musqueam-Squamish-Tsleil-Waututh real estate company, plan to redevelop the former B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch site on East Broadway. AIG, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh co-own the Willingdon Lands in Burnaby. 

In 2016, MST hired AIG president David Negrin with the support of Luigi Aquilini. Negrin advised MST on its purchase of the province’s Jericho Lands, after MST combined with Canada Lands Co. to acquire the federal parcel and two other federal properties. 

Negrin donated $1,239 to Stewart in 2021.

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