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Chapter 237: The case of the purloined Olympic-loan documents

November 13th, 2008 · 13 Comments

This the latest: One of the city clerks who works with the councillors has sworn an affidavit saying that the missing documents relating the the $100-million Olympic loan turned up in B.C. Lee’s office at a different time than he has said.

Cecelia Smith says B.C. Lee called her into his office around 4 p.m. on Oct. 16, two days after they went missing, and said he had just found the missing documents. on his desk But until now, everyone has said they didn’t turn up until later in the day.

Based on that evidence, city “investigators” had been looking at who came in to the secured area where councillors’ offices were in the early evening. Some mischievous soul at the city, according to a TV report last night, leaked the news that only two councillors had used their card-swipe keys at that point and one of them was Raymond Louie.

So Louie called a news conference today, clearly on the warpath as a result of that little tidbit, after Cecelia called up the Vision campaign and offered to swear an affadavit.

I’ve met Cecelia many times over the years, by the way, and she’s a quiet, professional staffer who doesn’t get embroiled in what can be a pretty gossipy workplace. I was surprised when I heard that it was her, because she’s sort of reserved and it takes a huge amount of guts to basically say that an elected councillor and city investigators have their facts wrong. There is no whistleblower protection at the city.

Besides being another bizarre twist in this whole story, this latest chapter is also another sign of how much damage is being wreaked at city hall. Someone with confidential information about the city investigation is leaking stuff; now low-level city staff are getting involved.

This can’t end well.

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  • T W

    Perhaps the only way now that we will ever get to the truth of this matter is for the incoming mayor to call for a judicial inquiry with subpoena powers. Our elected officials seem to have destroyed good municipal administration in Vancouver in the space of three weeks.

  • I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  • Rob

    TW said “Our elected officials seem to have destroyed good municipal administration in Vancouver in the space of three weeks.”

    NO! It sounds more like the City Hall bureaucracy manipulating members of Council, giving them incomplete information and pressuring them.

  • spartikus

    This doesn’t, er, reflect well on BC Lee.

  • Ben

    I agree with Rob. Bureaucrats have many reasons to dislike significant changes in council. I am thinking systemically but personal politics also play a part. This seems like a case where city managers are playing politics with the tools they have at hand. Control of the flow of information, who learns what and when.

  • independent mind

    It really looks like the city manager Judy Rogers is really going after Vision. If the leak about swipe cards and security tape was false why didn’t she speak up.

  • I don’t think it necessarily has to end badly.

    If Vancouver can bring itself to vote for a mixed council then I think its quite possible that this poor chapter of City Hall can be re-written.

    It will be interesting to see how the story unfolds Saturday.

  • This is all smoke and mirrors, don’t fall for the shiny baubles being waved in front of our eyes. The real story is following the money out of Vancouver City hall and into Millenium and into into VANOC and who knows where else has it gone?

    While we’re in the “fact finding” mood, lets find out where other bits of our money have gone. Remember the “global econonomic crisis” is helping dump gazillions of taxpayer dollars into private corporations (and the Olympics, in our unfortunate case).

    Follow the Money Trail – Part 2: All Good Things Seem to Lead to Liberals

    It will all make compelling reading after the Inquiry is over.

    Let’s get real here. The City of Vancouver does not need to go into any more debt right now. But, I guess with a big space where the City’s Chief Financial Officer, Estelle Lo, used to be, Vancouver’s kind of living Large with our money in these fragile economic times.

    Re: Whistleblowing legislation

    10. Whistleblower (pg. 6) of Brian Foley’s recommendations to settle the strike between CUPE locals 15 & 1004 and the City of Vancouver sets out the new whistleblower language.

    http://www.cupe15.org/documents/VancouverStrikeRecommendations.pdf

    Administrative Report: Whistleblowing Policy.
    Standing Committee on Planning & Environment
    Vancouver City Council, May 15th, 2008

    http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20080515/documents/pe1c.pdf

    Will be interesting to see the new policy being tested out.

  • I think W.I.N. is onto something here….A person or persons sure is trying to make that missing document that is not missing the story for no good reason at all.

    Having said that….there were only two councillors, allegedly, that swiped in during that period….but what, exactly, is so special about them given that other folks also swiped in and/or out during that time. Ludicrous, just ludicrous….and for the TeeVee reporter to stand behind his ‘fair piece’ is the height of ludicrousness to the 39th power.

    .

  • spartikus

    I agree the “hunt for the leaker” is a desperate attempt to change the subject, but sometimes these thing backfire so spectacularly they become an issue unto themselves.

    It was B.C. Lee’s own assistant who signed the affidavit that contradicts his story. I don’t see how he isn’t in big trouble.

  • Colleen

    If there are no whistle blowing rules why bother and as far as negative how much more negative can you get with people dying on your city streets while people step over them. Its also a way of taking the importance away from the real issue why was the tax payer not informed that the city was going to have bailout Olympic Village to the possible tune of $100 million. And not all this distortion when nobody really wants to watch these guys negotiate but rather just be advised of the issues important to taxpayers and what you are planning on doing about it. I’m certain as much as city wants to go on about the leak its really not about that but rather about being shocked they where in negotations.

  • Colleen

    And if there is whistle blowing rules they shouldn’t apply especially when all that was done is alert the public to what they should have been informed of in the first place. So whats the damages? Maybe to their reputations as they will not be seen as having the best interests of the public at heart. Having said that it was their actions that speak loudest or lack of accountability.

  • Colleen

    Anyways sounds like City Hall could use a little shake up or in this case shake down as we go into the election. Falcon and Lander sure were going on about Robertson about nothing I guess its their turn now as things have a way of coming back at you.