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The Bonfire of the Olympics continues: The Raymond Louie chapter

November 14th, 2008 · 11 Comments

Okay, people, this may be a little incoherent because I’ve had a few glasses of wine — it’s all you can do under these conditions.

But, really, aren’t you finding this Olympic-loan, hunt-for-the-leaker saga is all really like a Tom Wolfe novel? We have the mass media in full hyena mode (I’m one of them, so I’m allowed to say that), irresolvable mysteries, people being torn to shreds, cheap politics of the worst kind on all sides.

So the latest.

B.C. Lee is devastated at the news that his own city secretary, Cecelia Smith, has sworn an affadavit essentially saying that he wasn’t telling the truth about the purloined Olympic-loan documents.

Lee says he hasn’t been able to talk to her about it because she won’t answer his calls — which must be quite awkward considering she’s still technically his assistant. (All councillors share an assistant. Cecelia works for Tim Stevenson, David Cadman and Lee.)

But he claims that what she says in her affadavit is not true. He has said that he went to his office just before 7 p.m. on Oct. 16, just before a public hearing started, and found the missing Olympic-loan documents on his desk — the ones that had gone missing two days earlier after an in-camera meeting. (By the way, I thought that the discovery of the original loss had been followed by an email from the city manager’s office five minutes after that meeting, saying a copy had gone missing and asking for its return. But, no, apparently Judy Rogers herself, along with Southeast False Creek project manager Jody Andrews, went around from office to office, asking people to go through their papers to see if they had picked up a copy by accident.)

Based on that time frame, Global, working on an anonymous tip from someone at city hall, named Raymond Louie as the prime suspect because his card got swiped to enter the councillors’ area around 6 p.m. (Of course, that doesn’t account for the fact that others may have been hanging around there all day, along with other staff. The card swipes don’t record when you leave, only when someone enters.)

But Cecelia’s affadavit says Lee called her to his office sometime between 2 and 3:45 and told her that he had just found the documents.

Lee, who sounded pretty upset and almost tearful at this strange ending to his short political career, said that there is no way he could have been in his office at that time because he was at an environment committee meeting — and all you have to do is check the video to see that he is there. That meeting lasted until 4:45. Lee says he then went to have a talk with staffer Wendy Au, then had dinner, then went back to his office and found the documents there. At that point, he took them strait to deputy city manager James Ridge.

Cecelia’s affadavit says Lee also told her on Oct. 14 that people were concerned about the missing documents. But Lee says Cecelia wouldn’t have been at city hall by the time the in-camera meeting was finished, because it was late by then and staff would have gone home.

“This is a very sad note in my political life,” said Lee.

It’s absolutely baffling as I cannot imagine Cecelia making a false statement.

(If you wish, you can read more about this in other media here and here

I think we can now safely conclude that there is absolutely no way to figure out what the heck is going on here. We have people on all sides swearing up and down to completely contradictory sets of facts. Clearly there is something exceptionally weird going on at city hall — some destructive person or set of people who are pretty intent on leaving 12th and Cambie as a smouldering ruin, for whatever reasons. My guess is someone who figures they have nothing left to lose.

Can’t imagine who that might be.

I think it’s time to ignore all this and go back to the basics. Time to think about who will actually steer Vancouver through the next three years in a good way. I won’t pretend to tell you who that is. We all have different priorities and you’ll all decide what your version of “good” is.

On a lighter and more positive note — didn’t the city look beautiful today? I drove to the CBC at 7 a.m. across the Cambie Bridge and it was stunning. There was a full moon hanging in the air behind the North False Creek towers. The sky was clear and blue after a night of wind. All the glass windows in the downtown reflected the light of the dawn sky. The mountains in the distance were a pale blue.

Sometimes I get bummed out with all the things that aren’t right about Vancouver. But I looked at that scene and thought what a lovely city we have.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • More FABulous wine assisted posts, please!

    My favorite nugget, speculative though it might be:

    “My guess is someone who figures they have nothing left to lose.”


    Whom might that be?

    Or not.


  • Oh, ya…

    And if the saga really was a Tom Wolfe novel(la), I think it might be titled:

    “Bonfire Of The Inanities!”


  • It was a beautiful morning, although the wind tunnel blowing down Alberni Street @ Thurlow was fierce!

  • Wolfe should really work on his plot twists. There’s something to be said for clarity in the narrative.

  • Rod

    How can you argue with a videotape of BC Lee sitting in a meeting at the alleged time?

    I am going to take a wild guess and say no councilor is going to want Cecelia to be there assistant next term…

  • LB

    The video of the council meeting (while limited in its camera angles) shows councillors coming and going throughout the meeting. While Mayor Sullivan seems to disappear most, Councillor Anton’s chair is empty in at least one shot, and Councillor BC Lee is seen returning to his seat 35/36 minutes into the meeting. That would be 2:35pm.

  • Rod

    ” My guess is someone who figures they have nothing left to lose.

    Can’t imagine who that might be”

    If you are implying Sullivan is involved, may I ask how exactly? He can hardly hold papers as is. I don’t imagine he has the dexterity to steal documents or the stealth to plant them in someone’s office. He is in a wheelchair remember? Plus, why would he plant them in Lee’s office, one of his most loyal supporters, and not in one of opposition councilor’s offices.

    The idea that some Joker-like character is behind this, whose only motivation is to cause chaos, is pretty bizarre.

    Haven’t you noticed there is an election going on? It would seem like the simpler explanation is that the leak was politically motivated. So the question is… who benefited?

  • tommi

    Holy Twin Peaks, pass the pinot gris!

  • Dawn Steele

    Has anyone checked the videotape in question?

    Though Frances is right that nothing would give definitive answers at this point – it all still rests on the rather large assumption that the original Globe story was based on Ladner’s copy, and not one of the umpteen other copies that would have been floating around city hall and that could have been leaked by a number of staffers

    I’m afraid, sadly, that it’s too late for measured consideration of the umpteen other serious issues at city hall, school board and parks that might have caused voters to choose one way or another.

    And among others, we have our three former Mayors to especially thank for ensuring this was the only story that dominated the final week of the election – great job, guys!

  • spartikus

    A commenter at the Tyee notes the videotape shows BC Lee’s attendance at the meeting was not uninterrupted and that he’s seen returning at around the “2:35 pm” mark.

  • We should ask Estelle Lo.