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HomeBusinessExclusive: Peter Wall connections abound in Hector Bremner’s list of campaign donors

Exclusive: Peter Wall connections abound in Hector Bremner’s list of campaign donors

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Bob Mackin

Relatives of the Vancouver developer behind a billboard and Facebook campaign that promoted Hector Bremner for mayor are on the list of donors for the Yes Vancouver Party.

The new party reported Oct. 8 that it raised $176,581.60 from 529 donors.

Three of those donors are Peter Wall’s ex-wife Charlotte, daughter Sonya and grandson Colin Wall. They donated $1,200 each.

Charlotte Wall was a director of Wall Financial Corp. from 1989 to 2017 and Sonya Wall is on the board of trustees for the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of B.C.

Graphics from the Peter Wall-financed Facebook campaign.

Peter Wall secretly spent $85,000 on the “Vancouverites for Affordable Housing” pro-Bremner campaign, which ran before local election disclosure requirements and third-party spending limits applied Sept. 22.

The list of donors also includes Michael Redekop and Randy Redekop at $1,200 each. Michael Redekop is president of Quadra Homes and a director of Wall Financial, the company Peter Wall co-founded with cousin Peter Redekop in 1960.

One of Wall’s flagship projects is at Shannon Estate and Mews, where the company built high-end apartment blocks on the grounds of the 1925 heritage mansion originally built by sugar tycoon B.T. Rogers and later owned by horse racing aficionado Austin Taylor. Bremner has been an advocate of replacing mansions with apartments. 

Wall was a major corporate donor of Vision Vancouver and the BC Liberals until the NDP enacted campaign finance reform last year.

David Gruber, a Wall Financial director and lawyer with Bennett Jones, said he “did not have instructions to communicate on Peter’s behalf on this.”

Nobody at Wall Financial replied for comment.

Dermod Travis of IntegrityBC said it will be up to Elections BC to confirm whether political donations from multiple family members were really from their individual assets.

“If somebody asks you to make a political donation and that they will reimburse you for it, bad things can happen to you. SNC-Lavalin [which was caught reimbursing employees for political donations] can speak to the issue quite well,” Travis said. “I suspect there will be some interest after Oct. 20 in examining some of the disclosures of candidates in Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District.”

Other notable $1,200 donors to Bremner’s party include developer Ryan Beedie, New Coast Realty agent Tariqul Malik, Wesgroup executive vice-president Beau Jarvis, members of the Wesgroup ownership family, Peeter, David, Michael and Elizabeth Wesik, Granville Entertainment’s Blaine Culling and One Hospitality’s Vance Campbell, and Coromandel Properties’ Jerry Zhong.

Coromandel is marketing its eight-storey, Winston at South Oak luxury condo tower in Hong Kong. Part of the land was previously zoned for a single-family house. 

The list also shows a $1,200 donation from Tarsem Gill. A man named Tarsem Singh Gill, who is an associate of Bremner friend and ex-Ross Street Temple president Raj Bhela, is accused in a long-running, $40 million real estate fraud case.

Brothers Paul and Sergio Zen donated $1,200 each. According to 2011 B.C. Supreme Court filings, their family owns companies that supplied the aluminum rail on 80 to 90% of the high-rise buildings in the Lower Mainland, including the Shangri-La Hotel and the Olympic Athletes Village.

Another $1,200 donor is Shelley Prpich of Shelley Prpich Autobrokers. Until March 2013, when he unsuccessfully ran for the BC Liberals in New Westminster, Bremner held an auto dealer’s licence.

Brian and Marlene Fehr hosted an Aug. 1 fundraiser for Bremner at a West End penthouse worth more than $9 million. They donated $1,200 each, in-kind, to the both the party’s city hall and school board campaigns. Brian Fehr is a billionaire named recently to the Order of B.C.

Other donors included: Yes campaign svengali Mark Marissen, ex-BC Liberal caucus communications head Lorne Mayencourt, Progressive Group lobbyist Cynthia Shore ($1,200 each); lobbyist Mark Jiles, ex-BC Liberal Youth president Sebastian Zein, and Tina Oliver, the real estate agent who sold the Dunbar house where ex-premier Christy Clark lives ($600 each). BC Liberal MLA Sam Sullivan gave $600 for the Yes school board candidate.

New provincial laws cap individual donations at $1,200 from B.C. residents who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Corporations and unions are no longer allowed to donate.

Robertson (left) and Bremner (CoV)

Ex-Burnaby NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, the perceived frontrunner for the mayoralty, has reported $192,253.39 in donations to his mayoral campaign from 1,459 donors.

Former Vision Vancouver board member Shauna Sylvester’s mayoral campaign claimed it raised $101,737. The Ken Sim-led NPA reported $837,207 in donations from 4,460 individuals.

Official disclosure reports must be submitted to Elections BC within 90 days of the election.

The Fred Harding-led Vancouver 1st and Wai Young-led Coalition Vancouver are not releasing their donors’ lists. Both parties have been linked to the Canada Wenzhou Friendship Society. The Communist Party of China-friendly society is under RCMP investigation for a WeChat message that offered a $20 “transportation subsidy” to vote for recommended candidates in Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond.

Meanwhile, the conflict of interest investigation of Bremner under the city’s code of conduct was dismissed Oct. 16.

Lawyer Henry Wood, who was retained by city hall in May, had originally planned to tender his findings by mid-September, before the election period. Bremner was alleged to have mixed his civic duties with his job as the vice-president of the Pace Group lobbying and public relations firm.

Wood’s report is officially confidential under the city’s code of conduct.

“Hector has said he has no secrets, he should be more than willing to provide the necessary release so it can be released,” Travis said. “Here’s an opportunity for him to give the city his okay for the report to be released.”

Bremner rival Glen Chernen, who is running for city council with Coalition Vancouver, complained in 2017 about Bremner’s failure to disclose to the lobbyist registry that he had worked as an aide to BC Liberal cabinet ministers, including Deputy Premier Rich Coleman.

Bremner’s $2,000 February fine was overturned in August on a technicality. Registrar Michael McEvoy publicly urged Attorney General David Eby to close a loophole to ensure ex-public office holders do not evade detection.

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