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The unsurprising resignation of Estelle Lo

November 17th, 2008 · 22 Comments

This just in from the emails at city hall, messages from both city manager Judy Rogers and Estelle Lo about the chief financial officer’s resignation.

From: Lo, Estelle
To: Sullivan, Sam; Anton, Suzanne; Ball, Elizabeth; Cadman, David; Capri, Kim; Chow, George; Deal, Heather; Ladner, Peter; Lee, B.C.; Louie, Raymond; Stevenson, Tim
Cc: Hurford, David

Sent: Mon Nov 17 09:13:33 2008
Subject: Resignation

Dear Mayor and Council

I would like to thank you for the confidence and support you had given me over the years. I have enjoyed working with you over the past ten years, and appreciate the many long hours and strong leadership you have all contributed. I will miss your smiling faces, the challenges, the exciting projects and will continue to watch Vancouver’s continuing growth.

I wish you all well in your endeavors.


Estelle Lo


From: Rogers, Judy
To: Sullivan, Sam; Anton, Suzanne; Ball, Elizabeth; Cadman, David; Capri, Kim; Chow, George; Deal, Heather; Ladner, Peter; Lee, B.C.; Louie, Raymond; Stevenson, Tim
Cc: Hurford, David; Andrews, Jody; Bayne, Ken; Chu, Jim; Connell, Francie; Holdgate, Ray; McLellan, David; Mundick, Susan; Ramsay, Kevin; Ridge, James; Rudberg, Dave; Timm, Tom; Whitney, Paul (VPL); Coulson, Marg; Best, Laurie; Young, Jennifer; Fast, Roger; Hui, Tony; Kay, Monica; CMT Admin Assts – DL; Thomas, Robin; Imai, Charlene; Fry, Pat
Sent: Mon Nov 17 09:06:07 2008
Subject: Resignation

After approximately ten years as the City’s General Manager of Finance, Estelle Lo has decided to tender her resignation.  She has guided the City through significant changes, and we thank her for her dedicated service to the City.

We wish her the very best in her future endeavours.

Until Ms. Lo’s position is permanently filled, James Ridge will be providing oversight of the department.

Judy Rogers
City Manager
City of Vancouver

Categories: Uncategorized

  • TM

    Where to begin……..I still maintain this is the real smoking gun, not Ladner’s continued – and lame – insistence that Raymond Louie had anything to do with the leak. The leak was a necessary act by someone or people frustrated by the lack of transparency. In my book, they did the only thing they could.

    The real crime here is City Hall’s attempted withholding of the news of Lo’s resignation until after the election. While the strong rumour of it sufficed to concern voters, they should have been given confirmation of her status before the election.

  • George

    The question is, was she pressured to resign and if so by whom. This stinks.

  • Curious Guy

    2 Questions about Estelle Lo’s resignation:
    1. Why did Council and/or the City Manager take away a big chunk of her depatment and reponsibilities in April 2008.
    2. Is she receiving any kind of financial settlement?

    On a related matter:
    Peter Ladner on CBC this morning said that the outgoing City Council at its last meeting will launch an investigation into the City employee’s affidavit used by Raymond Louie to defend himself against being the $100 million loan leaker. Will they also investigate who in “upper management” at City Hall leaked the card swipe info which Global TV used to accuse Louie of being the leaker?

  • A Dave

    Wow, 9:06 am the Monday after Vision’s near sweep! Does the new mayor and council have any say in who gets hired as CFO?

  • Shhh!

    How long before we see Judy Rogers (Close Buddies and City Spy for Gordon Cambell) on her way out?
    My Guess Dec 8th, as it’s unlikely Vision will have much use for her.

  • Dawn Steele

    Wow! What did Ladner & co think would happen if they’d won? Or were they hoping to try & keep this covered up forever?

    And the idea that the source of the leak was someone who stole Ladner’s copy and then took the enormous risk of returning it to Lee’s City Hall office never made any sense to me. If someone had gotten away with stealing Ladner’s copy without being caught, why risk exposing him/herself by trying to return it? Surely any “thief” with common sense would have just dumped it in the fireplace, the office shredder or the nearest park dumpster when they were done?

  • Lolo

    This campaign went low lo lo, lo lo, lo.

    Thank god for the citizens it is over. More will come out about this. Estelle probably had to sign a non-disclosure agreement on this one.

    So will the real employers (The citizens) ever know what happenned? No, probably not.

    This whole thing leaves a grand blemish on the NPA, already branded as the party of the elitists.

    I doubt it will ever matter…

  • Curious Guy

    I agree with Dawn Steele that the stolen and returned Ladner document leak saga is ridiculous. But it was a great way to deflect discussion from substantive questions, like:

    1. Where does the City stand in line for getting its money back, compared to Millenium’s other lenders and creditors?

    2. How much additional might the City have to pay out, if it ends up having to take its land back together with ownership of the Olympic Village buildings? Is there a chance that the City could end up paying a total of $1 billion or more (plus big annual interest costs) for a bunch of units that can’t be sold for anywhere near that amount?

    3. What is the City’s total debt load, and annual interest expense? How much money did the City borow this year and last year?

    4. Wasn’t there a staff report telling Council that the original Millenium deal for the Village had lots of safeguards and no risks for the City? If so, did staff miss something then? Did something go horribly wrong that was no-one’s fault? Could it happen again?

  • Curious Guy

    Another question I hope someone can answer:
    How much money has the City put into Millenium’s $1.1 billion Olympic Village project to date? So far the total includes:
    * $160 million deferred payment for the $190 million land sale (apparently instead of accepting $170 million cash on the barrelhead from Concord Pacific or Wall Financial)
    * $190 million loan guarantee for construction financing
    * $100 million for the latest loan
    * $0.5 million for a project manager to keep an eye on Millenium
    * really big bucks (anyone know how much?) for servicing, infrastructure, and community facilities which the City constructed or is paying for in the Olympic Village neighbourhood

  • df

    I don’t think the leak and the missing document are connected. In mystery film and books, it’s called a Mulligan…a side story not really connected. The leak could easily have come from anyone in the room who took notes.
    I think, as idle speculation, that someone kept the document since they didn’t have time to fully read it at the meeting and wanted to get a deeper understanding of the financial implications for the Vancouver high end real estate market, or other insider information. Like I said just idle speculation, but as Harry Rankin, or Upton Sinclair, used to say, “when nothing else makes sense follow the money trail.”

  • Scott

    Global News tonight confirmed that Vancouver city council authorized up to $100 million but only $30 million had been actually loaned to date to Millennium.

    Essentially the leak has *screwed* the city’s overall negotiating position as Millennium now “knows” that up to $100 million is available and they’ll likely seek the maximum amount available.

    As the reporter stated: “This could be Vancouver’s *most expensive* election ever.”

    And there lies the ultimate problem.

    This sure ain’t over. Lingering questions /investigations certainly will continue surrounding this whole fiasco.

  • Wagatoast

    Why would the NPA bring forward a motion to investigate the affidavit – which is directly related to the missing document – when the police are already investigating the whole situation?

    what a bunch of weak , pathetic political posturing from the NPA. good riddance.

  • df

    Make that a MacGuffin, not a mulligan. Golf isn’t my game.

  • I saw that GlobalTV report too, it is nonsense, just like most of the crap that is flowing from that “news” outlet these days.

    Blaming “leaks” for putting the city on shaky grounds for “negotiations” is just bunk. The attempt to deflect from taxpayers and citizens being able to find out much more about the Millenium deals smells to high heaven. There are some very, very nervous folks running around right now. As Curious Guy points out, there are numerous very important questions to be asked about all of this, as well as much of the big money projects that were rubber stamped by the Sullivan/NPA administration of city hall.

    Taxpayers ALWAYS get the short end of the stick where P3’s are concerned. They are at the back of the bus for payback after shareholders in the corporate entities, such as those involved in this one, creditors and banks. P3’s are simply gravy for those corps’ lucky enough to get them past governments. As has been said, follow the money trail, it will take us where we’ll find the real story. Now, can’t wait for 30 days to pass to get a look at the civic campaign donations to the parties who just ran. That should make for some interesting reading pleasure.

  • julia

    if the millenium deal earns the city truck loads of money – who will be the idiot then? If Vision voted for the deal, who is actually the bad guy here? if we want disclosure – all of the current council should be punished equally but that is not what happened. What happens if Ms. Lo simply got tired of city politics and got a better offer. Who will take responsibility for the outcome of an election based on fabricated information and hype.

  • Joe Just Joe

    Frances it appears your site has been hijacked yet again, it you link to it via google you are re directed to a fake anti-virus site that carries a virus on it. Can you look into the issue and correct it. Many thanks.

  • Dawn Steele

    Global’s really gone out on a limb and put their credibility on the line with their reporting on this issue.

    As the Globe’s Gary Mason pointed out, news like this gets around the developer community very quickly – they all likely knew the important details long before the electorate ever had a clue about what was going on.

    Why do we think these guys spend millions funding political campaigns and wining and dining local mayors and town councillors? Because their shareholders value the democratic process above their return on investment?

  • tommi

    So, if Suzanne Anton were to leak a document that could potentially cost the city/taxpayers millions of dollars more as a result of that leak, would you all be cheering her, too?

  • ptak604

    Is there any evidence that this leak could cost taxpayers millions more? I’d like to see evidence of that before I decide if I should cheer for her. Although if it sunk Peter Ladner, I’d be hard-pressed not to…

  • Wagatoast

    Julia needs to give the NPA spin a rest. Exit polls showed clearly that the $100 million loan was not the reason why the NPA got swept out. There was no “public misunderstanding” or “didn’t get our message out clearly” or whatever kind of claptrap that Elizabeth Ball and Suzanne Anton tried to push. But it’s nice that they’re arrogant enough to think they reason so many of them lost was because the public was “confused.” Awwwwww

    The issue for voters was homelessness, and that’s what the election hinged on. The real question NPA fans should be asking is why did they campaign on crime, an issue that ranks about as high as sidewalk maintenance for most people?

  • George

    Did anyone notice that the resignation email sent by Estelle was after the notice of her resignation sent by Judy Rogers?

    Judy’s email: Sent: Mon Nov 17 09:06:07 2008
    Estelle’s Email: Sent: Mon Nov 17 09:13:33 2008

  • Not running for mayor

    Anyone notice that not all computers have the same time, I get emails from the future and the past all the time. In fact we just had a time change and thanks to unupdated computers everywhere I get lots of emails with the wrong time.