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Bob Mackin

More turmoil inside Vancouver’s oldest civic party.

The president of the Non-Partisan Association says he overruled a motion to block the candidacy of a board hopeful.

In an interview with theBreaker.news, Mark Angus said Jane Frost’s name is appearing on the ballot for the Nov. 25 vote “in the best interest of the organization.”

Candidate for NPA board Jane Frost (LinkedIn)

A motion by director Eli Konorti, who has since resigned, was seconded by treasurer David Mawhinney and passed by a slim majority. It called for Frost’s removal from the ballot.

Frost is a former federal government negotiator involved in the B.C. Treaty Commission process. She leads the so-called “Group of Seven” seeking to take over the board of the party which backs five members of Vancouver city council, the biggest bloc on the 2018-elected council. Some board members complained Frost had gained access to inside information only accessible to the board. 

Angus did not get into the details of the complaints against Frost, other than to say “there was some concern by some members that she may have gotten a foot up in going out and contacting different people that should be running. We looked at it. She did not have a membership list.”

Angus received a legal opinion on Nov. 15 from lawyer and former NPA president Paul Barbeau, who called the motion defective. Barbeau’s letter to Angus, obtained by theBreaker.news, advised that the NPA board “give serious consideration to retracting the said motion and expunging it from the record.”

Barbeau wrote that Frost met the requirements for nomination to the board and no formal or informal investigation or inquiry process was initiated or completed.

“No independent assessment has occurred, regarding what (if any) NPA property may have been used by the individual who is the subject of the motion,” wrote Barbeau, the NPA president from 2004 to 2007 and the current president of the BC Liberal Party.

In an internal party email, Angus wrote that Frost may have broken protocol, but did not break any rules. He called the opposition to Frost’s candidacy an overreaction that would “cause nothing but grief for the NPA.”

“If you care about the city and the NPA, show some true leadership and damn the torpedoes, full bore ahead and let’s get this AGM done and move forward,” Angus wrote.

NPA 2018 mayoral candidate Ken Sim (Mackin)

Frost is involved in the so-called Group of Seven bloc, with other board candidates Stephen Molnar, David Pasin, Virginia Richards, Marie Rogers, Alaura Ross and Corey Sue. All seven were endorsed in a Nov. 21 email to party members email from Ken Sim, who lost the 2018 mayoral election by 957 votes to Kennedy Stewart.

Frost has not responded immediately for comment. Konorti has not commented. 

Meanwhile, personal injury lawyer Wes Mussio is also among the contestants for the NPA board and his love of hockey is the main reason.

Mussio has law offices in Vancouver and Nanaimo, where he owns the B.C. Hockey League’s Nanaimo Clippers. While the Clippers are staying put in the Hub City, Mussio is hopeful to bring another junior A BCHL or junior B Pacific Junior Hockey League to Vancouver to fill the void left by the Langley-based Vancouver Giants.

“There are very limited opportunities to play high caliber hockey for boys/men between age 16 and 20 in Vancouver,” Mussio said. “Our children of Vancouver have to go elsewhere to play hockey even during school age due to this gap.”

Mussio was on the Cedar Party city council ticket in 2014, but withdrew because leader Glen Chernen demoted himself to the city council ballot and endorsed independent Bob Kasting for mayor. Kasting later endorsed NPA leader Kirk LaPointe.

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Bob Mackin More turmoil inside Vancouver's oldest civic

Part of Hastings Park in East Vancouver has been transformed into a winter wonderland for Aurora Winter Festival.

A hidden north pole village of light displays and magical characters. Traditional Christmas market huts. Amusement rides. Live bands. Santa’s storytime. Even a skating pond. theBreaker.news got a sneak preview on Nov. 21.

Aurora Winter Festival is open through Jan. 5, 2020, with admission ranging from $12.99 to $59.99 (for a family of four) plus tax and service charge.

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Part of Hastings Park in East Vancouver

One week left in the fall sitting of the British Columbia Legislature. Fundamental promises made in last February’s throne speech remain unfulfilled.

In the wake of the Legislature corruption scandal, which eventually led to the retirements of the clerk in May and sergeant-at-arms in October, the NDP government promised new accountability and transparency measures.

Including the expansion of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to finally cover the Legislature.

At his penultimate news conference of the sitting on Nov. 21, Premier John Horgan said the latter was still a work in progress. He gave no hint when the February-promised bill would be tabled.

“We’ve had some challenges when it comes to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, it’s a year since we had what can only be described as an extraordinary day here at the Legislature,” Horgan said, referring to the Nov. 20, 2018 suspension and RCMP investigation, of Craig James and Gary Lenz. “So with that backdrop, the challenge is of coming to a place where all members of the legislature are comfortable with the changes we would make to the role and function of independent officers is a work in progress.”

Despite running in 2017 on a platform that included reforms to the FOI law, Horgan said the vast majority of the public is more interested in gas price and mobile phone billing transparency.

“I’m focusing on the things that matter to people, we’ve been here two years and we’ve addressed almost 80% of the commitments made and we’ve got two years left in the mandate. So, be patient and we’ll clean up that last 20%.”

Listen to highlights from Horgan’s news conference. He remained upbeat despite the lack of a new contract with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the prospect of Unifor drivers and mechanics shutting down the Coast Mountain Bus and SeaBus system on Nov. 27.

Also, listen to several lawmakers pay tribute to Spirit of the West’s late John Mann, who passed away Nov. 20 after a battle with Alzheimer’s. Plus headlines and commentaries.

Click below to listen or go to Apple Podcasts and subscribe. 

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Overdue FOI reforms take a backseat to Horgan's push for gas price and cell phone bill transparency
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One week left in the fall sitting

Bob Mackin

Almost three weeks after Craig James was suspended with pay, RCMP officers seized a wood splitter bought with public funds from his Saanich house, according to documents released by a Provincial Court judge on Nov. 22.

The wood splitter trailer outside Craig James’s house in Saanich last year (Speaker’s Office)

The information to obtain a production order, sworn by RCMP Const. Rafida Yonadim, offers a glimpse into the investigation into the purchase by the disgraced former clerk of the B.C. Legislature of the wood splitter and its trailer that he kept at his house for a year.

James’s oddball purchase was revealed in Speaker Darryl Plecas’s report to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee last January, which explained some of the reasons why Plecas called the RCMP to investigate corruption at the Legislature.

Yonadim’s documents said there were reasonable grounds to believe that James, between Nov. 17, 2017 and Dec. 7, 2018, committed breach of trust to obtain a benefit from the purchase of a trailer and wood splitter paid with public funds, for a purpose other than public good, contrary to section 122 of the Criminal Code.

James retired in May on the eve of a report by former Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin that found he had committed misconduct. Neither James nor Gary Lenz, the retired sergeant-at-arms, have been charged. James and Lenz were both suspended with pay and escorted out of the Parliament Buildings on Nov. 20, 2018.

Lenz retired in October, the week before a report was published that said he had breached the Police Act for lying to McLachlin, who had cleared him of wrongdoing in May. In a news conference on Nov. 26, 2018, they both said they did no wrong and they demanded to return to work.

Gary Lenz (left), ex-speaker Linda Reid and Craig James (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association)

The heavily redacted documents were released after an October-heard application to unseal the file by Postmedia in Surrey Provincial Court.

Yonadim, an officer from the Federal Serious and Organized Crime’s Financial Integrity office, wrote that officers from E Division attended James’s house at 9:50 a.m. on Dec. 7 last year. A tow truck driver loaded the wood splitter onto a flat bed truck and took it to a secure bay at Totem Towing. Police found evidence that it had been used.

The trailer had been returned earlier to the Legislative precinct. The documents say that a black trailer was found parked beside sea containers on the Legislature grounds on Oct. 22, 2018. One of the witnesses interviewed said that “James suddenly returned the trailer because ‘we were pestering the Clerk to… you know… park it back on the ground’.”

James had purchased the P.J. D5102 Dump trailer and Wallenstein WX450-L log splitter for a total $13,230.51 in fall 2017. Witnesses interviewed indicated that James had insisted on picking them up himself, with his white 2017 GMC Sierra Crew Cab truck. The trailer could have been delivered to Vancouver Island, but witnesses said James insisted on using his own pickup truck to retrieve it from the Lower Mainland, instead of one owned by the Legislature, because it supposedly had the correct hitch.

“I believe, for James, as clerk of the house, to pick up the trailer and wood splitter, or any equipment on behalf of facilities services, is outside the scope of his duties,” Yonadim wrote.

The infamous wood splitter, photographed on the Legislature grounds on Nov. 20, 2019. (Mackin)

A $65,000 business continuity business plan from Oct. 25, 2017 had contemplated the purchase of equipment in case of a natural disaster, but there was evidence that James did not follow the proper procedures to approve the purchase.

“None of the witnesses police interviewed had seen the trailer prior to the beginning of this investigation,” Yonadim wrote. “I believe that given the totality of all the information learned, James picked up the trailer on his own accord, drove it to his property, kept it there and used it, until he discovered there was an investigation into the whereabouts of the trailer at which point he arranged to bring it back. None of the witnesses police interviewed ever saw a wood splitter on Legislature property after it had been purchased.”

A source with knowledge of the investigation, but not authority to speak publicly, said the wood splitter and trailer are the subject of one of the first reports sent to special prosecutors for their approval to lay charges.

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ITO-2018-7549.pdf by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Postmedia Network Inc v Attorney General of Canada Et Al by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin Almost three weeks after Craig James

Nov. 20, 2018, 11:06 a.m.

NDP Government House Leader and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth stood in the Legislature, to ask for support to immediately and indefinitely suspend the Legislature’s clerk, Craig James, and sergeant-at-arms, Gary Lenz, while under investigation.

The motion passed unanimously.

Mike Farnworth announcing the suspension of the B.C. Legislature clerk and sergeant-at-arms on Nov. 20, 2018. (Hansard TV).

Farnworth didn’t say, but he met the previous evening with the two other party house leaders, BC Liberal Mary Polak and Green Sonia Furstenau, and Speaker Darryl Plecas — who had called the RCMP in months earlier to investigate corruption. Two special prosecutors joined in at the start of October.

James and Lenz were escorted from the Parliament Buildings. They held a news conference the following week, to deny wrongdoing and to demand their jobs back.

In May, James was found in misconduct. In a September report, Lenz was found to have broken the Police Act.

They both retired in disgrace.

The police investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile, Plecas and chief of staff Alan Mullen have shaken-up the Legislature and put it on the road to reform.

Catch-up on the scandal at the B.C. Legislature. Click the headline links below.

The story is far from over. 

What we know about the B.C. Legislature scandal

Analysis: Excluded from FOI law, B.C.’s Legislature was a scandal waiting to happen

More questions than answers about spending by suspended Legislature officials

Plecas’s “final straw” was Clark’s plan to politicize riding offices

Conniving for cash: Plecas report says suspended officials plotted to pad their paycheques

Fact-checking as the suspended Legislature duo responds to the Plecas Report

Plecas eviscerates suspended Legislature duo in rebuttal report

Disgraced clerk Craig James quits, rather than face firing for misconduct

Inside the misconducts of the McLachlin Report: “It is hard to understand what was going through Mr. James’s mind”

Mystery surrounds Craig James’s legal costs and why he was forgiven for ill-gotten gains

B.C. Auditor General quits after discredited report on Legislature spending scandal

Gary Lenz quit because he was going to be fired for “egregious breach of public trust”

Follow theBreaker.news and theBreaker.news Podcast for the latest developments in the Scandal at the Legislature.

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Nov. 20, 2018, 11:06 a.m. NDP Government House

Bob Mackin

The law firm that represents Gary Lenz, the B.C. Legislature’s former Sergeant-at-Arms, has billed taxpayers almost $50,000.

But the firm retained by ex-Clerk Craig James has not submitted any invoices to the Legislature.

Ex-Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz (left), ex-Speaker Linda Reid and Acting Clerk Kate Ryan-Lloyd (BC Leg)

theBreaker.news confirmed with the Clerk’s office that McEwan Cooper Dennis LLP has been paid $49,966 during the fiscal year that began April 1. As of last week, no invoices had been submitted by James’s lawyers at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.

Procedural clerk Artour Sogomonian said the Legislative Assembly does not disclose the specifics of what legal services were provided, to whom, or for what purpose, in part because solicitor-client privilege applies.

Lenz retired Oct. 1 before the release of a report that found he breached the Police Act by lying to former Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin. Her misconduct investigation cleared Lenz last May. The Police Act investigation by former Vancouver Police deputy chief Doug LePard also found Lenz failed to investigate James’s 2013 bulk removal of liquor from the Legislature.

A year ago, on Nov. 20, 2018, British Columbians were shocked when James and Lenz were both suspended with pay and escorted out of the Parliament Buildings after unanimous vote of the Legislature. The RCMP admitted the duo had been under investigation for several months and special prosecutors David Butcher and Brock Martland had been appointed. Speaker Darryl Plecas had called in the RCMP, after he and chief of staff Alan Mullen found evidence of corruption.

James retired in May on the eve of the release of McLachlin’s report. She found James had committed misconduct by purchasing more than $4,000 in suits and luggage for personal use and by creating a $257,988 retirement allowance for himself. She also cited James for the 2013 booze removal and for keeping a wood splitter and trailer bought with Legislature funds at his house for almost a year.

The RCMP investigation continues. A source familiar with the investigation, but not authorized to speak publicly, told theBreaker.news that the first charge recommendation reports are in the hands of the special prosecutors.

Clerk Craig James swore Christy Clark in as Westside-Kelowna MLA in 2013, near Clark’s Vancouver office. (Facebook)

After the suspensions, Deputy Clerk Kate Ryan-Lloyd became Acting Clerk and Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms Randy Ennis took over from Lenz. Ennis retired at the end of last May. Greg Nelson was appointed Acting Sergeant-at-Arms in October.

In the wake of the Nov. 20, 2018 drama, James and Lenz demanded their jobs back. At a Nov. 26, 2018 news conference at the Fasken law office in Vancouver, a CTV reporter asked James and Lenz who was paying for lawyers Mark Andrews and Gavin Cameron. 

Said James: “There is a policy in the Legislative Assembly whether the legal fees in matters such as this would be borne by the Legislative Assembly. But the policy also exists that at the end of the day, if somebody is found guilty, that money would have to be repaid. It’s like the government’s indemnity program.”

After James finished his answer, Cameron said: “Just to be fair, I don’t think you should take from that that that’s where my fees are being paid from. I’ll leave it at that. But I don’t want that impression.” 

Cameron did not reply to theBreaker.news. Reached by phone Nov. 18, Andrews declined to answer questions about the lack of invoices by his firm to the Legislature.

“I don’t think you have any business asking me any more questions about how [James] is or is not funding his legal fees,” Andrews said. “That’s a privileged, confidential matter and not something which you should be asking about, in my view.”

Speaker Darryl Plecas (left) and chief of staff Alan Mullen (Mackin)

Could the invoices have gone elsewhere in the B.C. government? Sogomonian said no.

I can confirm that any invoices received for legal services provided to the Legislative Assembly, a member or an employee of the Assembly (past or present) would be approved and paid by the Assembly from Vote 1 [Legislative Assembly] funds,” he said. “Such costs would not be transmitted to another party for payment.”

Robert Cooper, on behalf of Lenz, and Cameron, on behalf of James, both appeared in Surrey Provincial court Oct. 9 to argue against an application by Postmedia to unseal the RCMP’s April information to obtain an evidence production order.

The Fasken website says that Andrews is the lead counsel for BC Hydro in the successful defence of the $10.7 billion Site C dam in B.C. and federal cases filed by environmental and aboriginal groups.

BC Hydro’s financial information returns from 2012 to 2019 show payments totalling $36.49 million to Fasken.

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Bob Mackin The law firm that represents Gary

Bob Mackin

Three investment companies want a B.C. Supreme Court judge to enforce a Chinese court’s decision against the owners of seven residential properties in the Lower Mainland.

Some of the luxury houses owned by Chinese recycling tycoons (BC Assessment)

Shanghai Zhong Jia Xing Hua Chuang Ye Investment LLP, Yangzhou Jia Hua Chuang Ye Investment LLP and Nantong Jian Hua Chuang Ye Investment LLP claim in Nov. 13 filings that Liaoning Muchang International Environmental Protection Industry Co. Ltd., a company owned by West Vancouver’s Bing Bai and his wife Yan Ma, was convicted of breaking China’s environmental laws in October 2018.

“In September 2014, the defendant Bai started ordering this employees to bury approximately 1,500 tons of hazardous waste directly under the soil,” said the court filing by Angel Jingling Wang of Jing Ling Wang Law Corp., a Burnaby lawyer representing the three plaintiff firms.

The company had guaranteed the three plaintiffs that it would not violate laws and regulations, that it would make full disclosure of company information to the plaintiffs and that it would apply to be listed on a public exchange by the end of June 2016.

“The crime impacted [Bai and Ma’s] company and they did not meet profit goals and became disqualified for a public listing due to the crime.”

The statement of claim alleges the investors transferred a total 3,360 million renminbi — more than $600 million Canadian — for 14.93% of shares in Bai and Ma’s hazardous waste and recycling company at Christmastime 2014. The plaintiffs claim permanent resident Bai and Canadian citizen Ma and their adult child Mu Qing Bai, also a Canadian citizen, used some or all of that money to buy real estate in West Vancouver, Vancouver and Richmond. 

The statement of claim says that in March 2017, Liaoning Muchang’s management was arrested by Chinese police. By December 2017, Bai and Ma allegedly stopped sending company financial information to the plaintiffs. Details of the October 2018 convictions and sentencing were not included in the court document, which says a middle level court in China upheld the ruling last March.

(lnmchb.com)

None of the allegations has been proven in court. The defendants have yet to file a response.

The three plaintiffs want enforcement of the Chinese court verdicts or an order that they breached contracts and committed conversion and unjust enrichment. The claim is for the equivalent of $8.39 million Canadian.

Attached to the statement of claim are land titles records that show five properties registered in the name of Yan Ma, one under her pseudonym Sapphire Mar and another 99% owned by Mu Qing Bai, and 1% by Ma. Bai is not named in any of the seven documents. Five of the seven properties were purchased between 2016 and 2019.

Ma’s occupation varies by registration: She is identified as a businesswoman, manager, self-employed or student. The real estate portfolio is currently worth almost $24.7 million, including Bai and Ma’s $6.34 million Gleneagles residence in West Vancouver and Mu Qing Bai’s $2.983 million Caulfeild residence in West Vancouver.

Ma’s name is also on the deed for a $3.09 million house in West Vancouver’s Altamont and a $4.339 million house on Queens Avenue, a $4.45 million house in Shaughnessy in Vancouver, a $2.85 million house in Blundell Road in Richmond and condo on Elmbridge Way in Richmond.

A Chinese business website says Bai and Ma’s company employs more than 200 and is involved in collection, transportation, storage, incineration and landfill of industrial and hazardous waste, chemical and medical waste and electronics.

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Bob Mackin Three investment companies want a B.C.

Bob Mackin

The not-for-profit society behind the Concord Pacific-sponsored new year’s eve fireworks festival owes Vancouver city hall more than $40,000, theBreaker.news has learned.

(Tourism Vancouver)

The Vancouver New Year’s Eve Celebration Society announced on Hallowe’en that it would not ring-in 2020 with a bang at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Instead, it pledged Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver would return on Dec. 31, 2020 in eastern False Creek. A news released mentioned plans for a bigger, better fireworks display next year, but did not mention the society’s finances.

City hall spokeswoman Ellie Lambert told theBreaker.news that City of Vancouver invoiced the society $41,560 last June for traffic management and engineering operational support.

“The invoice had been sent to the NYE Society and we are awaiting payment,” Lambert said.

Standard terms are payment within 30 days. No interest has been charged to date, she said. Taxpayers took care of the $60,016 in policing costs. 

Vancouver Convention Centre was the host venue on Dec. 31, 2018-Jan. 1, 2019. In addition to the free outdoor spectacle, organizers sold passes to indoor events for $59 to $159.

B.C. Pavilion Corporation spokesman Duncan Blomfield declined to release the amount owing.

“We can confirm PavCo did not provide a grant for the event,” Blomfield said.

theBreaker.news sought an interview with Dani Pretto, the society’s chair. Instead, spokeswoman Heather McKenzie-Beck sent a statement that said the new venue at False Creek will offer more  opportunities for revenue and long-term financial stability.

“We’re currently working closely with our partners and stakeholders to ensure that there is a plan in place for any balances that are currently outstanding, and look forward to putting on yet another free community celebration in 2020/21,” McKenzie-Beck said.

The society originally planned to launch Dec. 31, 2014, but organizers fell $100,000 short of meeting their $300,000 goal. When they started 2016 with a blast, they laid claim to the largest public new year’s eve event in Canada. A year later, the federal agency behind Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations kicked-in $226,000.

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Bob Mackin The not-for-profit society behind the Concord

Wing-Tung Ho was born in 1997, the year that the United Kingdom handed Hong Kong back to China. 

She studies in Taiwan, where she has organized mass-protests against Mainland China’s efforts to erode Hong Kong’s free economy, free press and rule of law. 

Hong Konger Wing-Tung Ho, a student activist in Taiwan, at the Hong Kong: Now What?! forum in Vancouver (Mackin)

“I don’t think the situation of Hong Kong or Taiwan is positive,” Ho said.

“One country, two systems is clearly a lie of China, Hong Kong people, or everyone else in the world, should not believe any promise from China.”

With protests reaching the six-month mark, Ho was in Vancouver Nov. 11-12 to speak to members of the Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement and Canadian Friends of Hong Kong.

She sat down for an exclusive interview with theBreaker.news Podcast host Bob Mackin, who asked about the escalating violence. Ho said Hong Kongers are afraid of police brutality and ultimately don’t want to let Beijing make their city the next Xinjiang or Tibet.  

“We have to show that we want to protect our people, we want to protect every protester on the streets, we want to protect every citizen,” Ho said.

“The protesters don’t have much weapons, all they have is some umbrellas, some fire. It can’t compare to the police.”

Meanwhile, the first anniversary of the revelation of the Scandal at the B.C. Legislature is Nov. 20.

Gary Lenz (left), ex-speaker Linda Reid and Craig James (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association)

On that day, in 2018, lawmakers voted unanimously to immediately suspend Clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz. James and Lenz were walked off the property. Within hours, British Columbians learned that the RCMP had been investigating for several months and two special prosecutors had been appointed.

But, in a bizarre twist, the opposition BC Liberals and some of their allies in the press gallery targeted the whistleblowers, Speaker Darryl Plecas and Chief of Staff Alan Mullen. In late January, Plecas released a report through the Legislative Assembly Management Committee that shed light on the years of corruption that cost taxpayers in the millions of dollars.

One year later, separate investigations found James committed misconduct and Lenz in breach of duty. Despite claiming their innocence and demanding their jobs back, they both retired in disgrace.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues and special prosecutors are pondering charges. British Columbians are waiting for the NDP government to deliver promised integrity measures, such as adding the Legislature to the freedom of information law.

Listen to highlights of the last 12 months on this special edition of theBreaker.news Podcast.

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Six months of Hong Kong anti-government protests, one year since Scandal at the B.C. Legislature
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Wing-Tung Ho was born in 1997, the

Bob Mackin

A philanthropist who is one of the biggest shareholders in the Vancouver company planning to market Chinese-built electric cars is suing a fellow investor for defamation after being blamed for her losses.

Megan Martin, also known as Li Ma, filed the lawsuit Nov. 8 in B.C. Supreme Court against Shaughnessy resident Yan Wang, aka Marisa Wang.

Foundation CEO Genesa Greening, Megan Martin (second from left) Megan Martin, chair Karim Kassam and senior director Carleen Pauliuk (B.C. Women’s Health Foundation)

Martin claims that Wang published an article under the pseudonym Ma Mingda on WeChat and four Chinese-language websites that alleged Martin had “colluded with westerners to deceive compatriots” to invest in Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. (EVC).

EVC went public on the Nasdaq over-the-counter exchange in September 2017. In October 2017, Zongshen Industrial Group Co. Ltd. of Chongqing, China agreed to build 75,000 of its single-passenger Solo electric cars. A Nov. 8 EVC news release said the company plans to begin the Solo rollout in 2020 in Los Angeles.

Martin’s statement of claim said she learned of EVC in 2015 and the company became known as an investment opportunity among certain members of the Lower Mainland’s Chinese community in 2016 and 2017. Martin said she was introduced to Wang by a mutual acquaintance and, in turn, introduced Wang to EVC CEO Jerry Kroll in October 2017.

Martin claimed Wang wanted to invest $4 million in EVC, but she urged her to invest less than that. Shortly after the introduction to Kroll, Martin left on a trip to Europe, but discovered upon her return that Wang had decided to invest $1 million.

“The defendant seemed excited and pleased that she had been able to negotiate a reduced price for her shares,” according to Martin’s court filing. “The defendant thanked the plaintiff for the introduction.”

But, in July and August 2019, EVC’s share price dropped and Martin claims that Wang’s mood changed for the worse. On Oct. 3, according to Martin, Wang sent a fictitious article that she vowed to publish if Martin did not repay her investment. That article claimed Martin had sold her own shares and made a fortune, while duping others to invest in EVC.

EVC Solo

“Since Oct. 4, the defendant has embarked on a public campaign of defamation of the plaintiff,” said Martin’s filing.

None of the allegations has been proven in court. Wang has yet to file a response.

The company’s year-end report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for 2018 said Martin, her husband Yuan Sheng Zhang and their son Bo Hong Zhang together owned 14.4% (or 5.4 million shares) in EVC. Only Kroll (27.7%) and COO Henry Reisner (8.5%) owned more shares.

In 2015, Martin’s family donated $500,000 to the Richmond Hospital Foundation to buy imaging equipment. In October, Martin donated $200,000 to the B.C. Women’s Health Foundation.

The EVC board of directors includes retired Liberal Senator Jack Austin, who was president of the Canada China Business Council from 1993 to 2000, and Joanne Yan, who was involved in the Zongshen Industrial Group Co. Ltd. 49% purchase of Harbour Air. 

Last May, theBreaker.news reported that a numbered company, whose sole director is Martin, became the registered owner of a Sidaway Road mansion that was once used as an illegal casino. The transaction happened after the Director of Civil Forfeiture applied in June 2017 to seize the property from its previous owner.

On Nov. 12, EVC was trading at $2.12 per share. Prices have been on a rollercoaster over the past year. After peaking at $4.55 on Oct. 29, 2018, EVC (which trades under the symbol SOLO) plummeted to $1.35 by Feb. 12, 2019. But, two days later, it rallied to $4.81. Zongshen’s Chongqing production facility opened Feb. 22. 

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, EVC reported a net $5.3 million loss. EVC filings to the SEC said it envisions a base $19,888 price for the Solo. As of March 29, it had completed in-house production of 50 Solos and its Chinese partner had completed production of 20 pre-mass production models. The company’s showroom is in the Meccanica building near the Olympic Village. 

Kroll was a 2017 candidate for the B.C. Green Party in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, where he finished a distant second behind the NDP’s Melanie Mark.

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Bob Mackin A philanthropist who is one of