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Judy Rogers’ memo on financing + the Villagegate PR firm + more

January 10th, 2009 · 9 Comments

Oh, I couldn’t resist.

A few more bits and pieces.

1.The story travelling around city hall currently is that the memo from city manager Judy Rogers that laid out the original plan to provide guarantees ($193-million loan guarantee and completion guarantee) for Millennium’s Fortress loan started off with the line: “This is a good-news story.”

I have no verification and have not seen it in person or the entirety of the memo. I’m just letting you know what tales are travelling in the wood-panelled halls of la mairie.

2. No one’s mentioned it yet, but Jim Hoggan, the public-relations wizard, helped plan the roll-out of the Villagegate media briefing. (Sorry, tired phrase, but you knew someone had to come up with it sometime.) Hoggan, as politicos will recall, was a strong supporter of former councillor/mayoral candidate Jim Green and is quite an advocate on environmental issues. He was around all day on Friday, in the mayor’s office prior to the news briefing and at the back of the media throng as Mayor Gregor gave his speech on how awful everything was.

PR types I know in town say that there’s no way that the strategic anonymous leak to the Vancouver Sun Thursday night wasn’t part of an overall media plan to hype the issue and have everyone clamouring at city hall Friday for more news, but the mayor’s office assures us that that is absolutely untrue. (Why would they put out a big news story on a Friday when the day they were planning for, Monday, was obviously a much better choice?) We’ll let the people decide on that.

3. Someone in one post was asking how much security Millennium had put up for the $100 million it has received from the city so far. What I’ve heard from a couple of sources who are not people standing around at bus stops is around $200 million of their assets other than what they’ve built at the village (which is already the security for the existing loan anyway).

4. A number of us old hands at city hall wondered why none of the senior staff most closely connected with the Olympic village were part of the off-the-record briefing from a “senior city manager” whom we are not supposed to name. The head of real estate, Mike Flanigan, who knows more about the finances of this arrangement than anyone, wasn’t there. Neither was Ken Bayne, the current chief finance guy while the city is out looking for someone to replace the departed Estelle Lo. And neither was Jody Andrews, the deputy city manager overseeing the project. Hmm, could it be because they might inadvertently explain to us some of the perhaps valid reasons why the city ended up making the decisions it did? (I have no idea if there are any valid reasons, but it’s hard for me to imagine even the most off-the-rails set of city bureaucrats sitting around going: “This is a nutty, high-risk, potentially catastropic deal, but let’s do it anyway.”)

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Villagegate? I prefer Millennium Watergate.

  • Wagamuffin

    If there were no staff there, I would suggest a Reign of Terror has begun. If this isn’t politicising City Hall, I don’t know what else you would call it.

    And “yes” to the leak—there’s no way the Sun would have run that headline online the day before without someone “high up” giving them the goods. Perhaps Miro knows?

    The mayor can insist all he wants that this wasn’t so but I think he has already proven he is semantically challenged.

  • Scott

    “4. A number of us old hands at city hall wondered why none of the senior staff most closely connected with the Olympic village were part of the off-the-record briefing from a “senior city manager” whom we are not supposed to name. The head of real estate, Mike Flanigan, who knows more about the finances of this arrangement than anyone, wasn’t there. Neither was Ken Bayne, the current chief finance guy while the city is out looking for someone to replace the departed Estelle Lo. And neither was Jody Andrews, the deputy city manager overseeing the project.”

    Something smells rotten in Denmark regarding that scenario.

    If VV is playing politics, it may eventually come back to bite their arse. Everything “eventually” comes out!

  • Joseph Jones

    What prudent person would ever sign a pact with the devil (aka the International Olympic Committee) that includes sections like the two appended?

    These were the signatures on the Host City Contract:
    “The City of Vancouver, hereinafter represented by Mr. Larry CAMPBELL and Ms. Judy ROGERS …” [p. 1]

    “Campbell later conceded that he has bought two units in the development and intends to live in one of them, but denied the purchase had anything to do with his decision to weigh in.” — Christina Montgomery, “Police to probe ‘internal theft’ of athletes’ village documents” The Province (Nov. 12, 2008)

    If all the fat cat promoters of this boondoggle would step up now and buy two units apiece, at the prices they foresaw, other Vancouver residents could forget about that looming tax liability.

    ************

    Following are extracts from:
    Host City Contract for the XXI Olympic Winter Games in the Year 2010
    http://olympichostcity.vancouver.ca/pdf/Host City Agreement.pdf

    IOC = International Olympic Committee
    OCOG = Organizing Committee of the Games
    NOC = National Olympic Committee

    4. Joint and Several Obligations of the City, the NOC and the OCOG

    The City, the NOC and the OCOG shall be jointly and severally liable for all commitments entered into individually or collectively concerning the planning, organization and staging of the Games, including for all obligations deriving from this Contract, excluding the financial responsibility for the planning, organization and staging of the Games, which shall be entirely assumed, jointly and severally, by the City and the OCOG. To this effect, the IOC may claim against the City, the NOC, and/or the OCOG, as the IOC Executive Board deems fit. [p. 3]

    9. Indemnification and Waiver of Claims Against the IOC

    The City, the NOC and the OCOG undertake to indemnify, hold harmless and exempt the IOC, its officers, members, directors, employees, consultants, agents, contractors (e.g. Olympic sponsors and broadcasters) and other representatives, from all payment in respect of any damages suffered by the IOC, including all costs, loss of revenue, and also damages that the IOC may have to pay to third parties (including but not limited to Olympic sponsors and broadcasters) resulting from all acts or omissions of the City, the NOC and/or the OCOG and their respective officers, members, directors, employees, consultants, agents, contractors and other representatives relating to the Games. No admission of liability will be made by the IOC for damages to be paid to third parties. In such a case, the IOC shall permit the City, the NOC and/or the OCOG to control the defence of the claim made by such third party against the IOC provided that the City, the NOC and/or the OCOG acknowledge(s) (I) the need for continued participation of the IOC in such a claim, (II) that the IOC Executive Board may decide, in its sole reasonable discretion and without this affecting the City, the NOC and/or the OCOG obligations hereunder, not to pursue and/or implement the strategy recommended by the City, the NOC and/or the OCOG for such a defence if the IOC Executive Board considers that such strategy may materially and adversely affect the interests of the IOC. In relation thereto, the IOC may call the City, the NOC and the OCOG before any court of law where the IOC is sued, irrespective of the arbitration clause provided for in Section 68 of this Contract. Furthermore, the City, the NOC and the OCOG hereby waive any claim against the IOC, its officers, members, directors, employees, consultants, agents and other representatives, for any damages, including all costs, resulting from all acts or omissions of the IOC relating to the Games, as well as in the event of any performance, non-performance, violation or termination of this Contract. This indemnification and waiver shall not apply to willful misconduct or gross negligence by the IOC. [p. 4-5]

  • jesse

    “What I’ve heard from a couple of sources who are not people standing around at bus stops is around $200 million of their assets”

    I wonder, though, what these assets will be worth if (when) they will be called upon to cover the shortfall. Call me skeptical if I think it won’t be the full $200MM.

    I am reading a lot about the complexities and intricacies in this obviously complex and intricate deal. Really, can someone explain this to me like they would a child?

  • T W

    I trust our elected officals and senior staff at City Hall had enough foresight to include some exemptions for acts of God such as an earthquake. Considering the poor track record for risk assesment and risk management now portrayed in the Olympic Village fiasco, I am not so sure that they even had enough insight to do so.

  • Denis

    My God, what a bloody mess caused by some folks who just knew in their heads that this could never fail and would make some of them rich. Lots of showy stuff to show others just how smart they were. They had no thought to protect the city taxpayers so went ahead with grandeous plans, but not on their dollars. Yours

  • T W

    At the risk of going off tangent, senior City officials should have read Doug McKay’s inquiry into the Coquihalla Highway (ca 1987). This was a major infrastructure project on a fixed time schedule. Result?: massive cost overruns, poor management structure, lack of experience in managing such a large project and career limiting for ministry staff.

    Is there a parallel ?

    History may judge but after this is all over, I would like to see a modern day Doug McKay take a tilt at unearthing the management and supervisory failures. If we are all to wear hair shirts for this Olympic Village fiasco, I want to know who the knitter was.

  • Wayne

    Lots of intelligent, rational minds would have had a hand in this development. But in the end this entire project (not only the village) was driven by irrational boosterism. That somehow, this 3 week party for people with enough money to take it in, was going to rake in the dough and ratchet Vancouver up a few more notches on some scale or other of great cities.

    It’s just my hunch but it looks like there could be a lot more trouble for the Olympics. If the global economy continues to slide, unemployment rises and household incomes fall through 2009 Vancouver 2010 will be on the top of a lot fewer ‘Must Do’ lists.