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Who could the leakers be?

November 14th, 2008 · 14 Comments

Someone took offence at my suggestion that whoever is leaking information about the Olympic loan and/or current city investigations into same is “someone with nothing left to lose.”

Rod wrote: 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?

But there are several people at city hall with nothing left to lose.

Obviously, speculation is rampant at city hall, in the media, among the public, about who would leak this information in the first place. Now there’s also speculation about who leaked the alleged incriminating information about card swipes to Global TV. Charlie Smith at the Georgia Straight wrote the first round of speculation. Don Cayo at the Vancouver Sun asked Mayor Sam Sullivan point blank if he was the leaker and got one of the mayor’s typical intriguing answers.

But in the category of people with nothing to lose (and these names have been circulating widely since day one):

1. Mayor Sam Sullivan

2. His assistant David Hurford, who loves leaking things to the media. He did it extensively in Ottawa when he worked for the feds and he’s done it a fair bit here. He’s particularly fond of leaking to media who aren’t normally at city hall much. (I understand this is an especially popular theory in some circles.)

3. Estelle Lo

I don’t know a thing, like all of you. And sometimes it’s not the direct person with nothing to lose, but someone who’s a supporter or associate, the one most likely to listen to the line “Will no one rid me of this troublesome bishop?” or to feel that their ally has been badly treated and deserves to be revenged.

But it is entirely possible that it’s not political.

Later note:

After I posted this blog about the current speculation, I got this response from David in the comments section, but I’m putting it here to give him a prominent place to refute this:

Hi Frances,

I just read your post about someone impuning my reputation as being a possible source of the leak of in-camera documents. This is troubling and I am not sure why you chose to publish it – particularly in light of the fact there is now a police investigation going on.

This suggestion is untrue. I still have never seen the document in question, I did not attend the six plus hour in-camera session on October 14 and still am not entirely aware of its content. In fact, it is my practice not to attend in-camera meetings.  As Chief of Staff I am able to attend but because I am also Director of Communications and dealing regularly with reporters, there are many confidential things that frankly -I do not want to know. I prefer not to know frankly as I trust elected officials to make these decisions and I trust senior city staff to give their best advice.

I fully support the Mayor’s decision to call the police and we have pledged our cooperation 100%. I hope that helps. You can cross me off the suspect list.


David Hurford,
Office of the Mayor

Categories: Uncategorized

  • david m

    i really appreciate this blog frances, keep up the great work!

  • Ditto – I appreciate you keeping us all up-to-date. I love the blog format for this because I can catch up on the latest scoop on my time. When it comes on the TV or radio news, I’m often not in the mood to listen — I want real news about the economy etc.

    Frances — you have all the material to write a great political thriller novel or screenplay. Why not?

  • Rod

    Due to the formatting of this article, it looks as if I was the one suggesting David was the leak. I was NOT. That was Frances’ suggestion.

  • A Dave

    Perhaps it is fitting that Vancouver’s best hope to reconcile all this back-stabbing nastiness at 12th and Cambie would be to elect for mayor a charismatic tuba player who gives great hugs and has never worked a day at City Hall.

  • T W

    The only term that now applies is:


  • Well, that most certainly is a true denial from the commentor purporting to be Mr. Hurford.

    I did find, however, the following comment from the purported person perhaps even more interesting than the denial that is not deniable:

    “As Chief of Staff I am able to attend but because I am also Director of Communications and dealing regularly with reporters, there are many confidential things that frankly -I do not want to know..


    Does that not mean that there are very likely known knowns that the purported Mr. Hurford does not know, and/or unknowns that he cannot possibly know about unknown, or known, activities of his boss that he should know as Chief of Staff, but doesn’t want to know beause if he did he might be forced to actually answer a direct question from an enquiring reporter?




  • I believe it when David says there are things that he doesn’t want to know at City Hall. It’s actually common practice among PR reps to not be told the whole story. The police often tell their communications people only a few details so that facts can’t come out accidentally.

  • MB

    The Unberable Triteness of Peeing (On Your Opponent)

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Maybe Not-So-Diamond Dave could play back the manure track that he’s made sonorous since his arrival…

    We’re still waiting for that $10 million dollars for CAST from the federal Conservative government that’s been “on it’s way” for the last year…

    Both Hurford and The (also) Nutty One assured us that the money was not only earmarked or a just a guarantee, but that it was almost in the hands of George Abbott, ready for distribution..(never happened, total fabrication)

    And while we’re at it, how ’bout the 2000 members the Sir Spamalot had signed up well-before any race for the NPA nomination…(yet another shovel full..and then some)

    Oh, and, silly me, I almost forgot, while 90% of the city’s hardworking labour force was on strike, and Shammy’s horsemen were ridiculing them behind closed NPA doors, to the disgust of at least two members of caucus, “that never happened, Mr. Tsakumis is misinformed”. Two days later both in my column and in Miro Cernetig’s of the Sun, the same info for all to see…oh, but it never happened…

    Gosh, and how ’bout “Peter Ladner has never told the Mayor that the party’s chances fro re-election are weaker with him (Sam)” (next day…the revelations of a meeting between Sam and Peter with precisely that on the agenda, with Sam half admitting that re-election might be “a challenge”)


    The list of Sir Hurlforth’s “communications” efforts is endless…

    People half expect some spin. Meggs was the best Chief of Staff a Mayor ever had. He gave you the straight goods. If there was a little bit of gin in the mix, okay, we can live with that…but outright bullshit is all that we’ll remember of the Sham’s reign of error.

    God help us if Gregor and Vision can’t make a difference. If they can’t, that’ll make it not since Philip Owen that we had a council that moved Vancouver forward.

    Pray that it won’t be more taxes, in a down economy, and more shooting galleries, that will extend the suffering of Vancouverites across the board, of all strata.

  • Loxy,

    I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that PR people make the conscious choice to go in front of the public to offer purportedly informed opinions on subjects that they do not fully understand due to a wilful lack of knowledge about said subjects.

    (truth be told, this ‘common practice’ is actually one of the major reasons why I never believe anything a spokesmodel has to say on any subject, real or imagined)

    Regardless, that is not the issue here.


    Because Mr. Huford is also the current Mayor’s ‘Chief of Staff’.

    And if, as Chief of Staff, Mr. Huford deliberately kept himself in the dark on matters of import involving the current Mayor and/or the current Mayor’s decisions….


    That probably explains a lot.

    About the performance of the current Mayor’s administration I mean.



  • A.G.T.–

    As for the CASTaway Cash……

    Is it possible that Maximum Lobbyist, Big Johnny R. failed to deliver, bigtime?


  • julia

    has anyone considered who did not have access to the in camera information that may have wanted it – Gregor. Ironic that he was the only one making the details of the deal an issue after the rest of his caucus voted in favour. He was also the only one not bound by confidentiality rules to discuss it in the public realm. Whe may never know who did the deed, but I can bet I know who they did it for and why. And to think we may have this man as mayor for the next 3 years…sigh.

  • Wondering Why???

    Wow, we the taxpayers ,are paying Hurford to check your blog Frances and defend himself? The cost of his salary would be better spent on more ambassadors.

  • julia–

    Let’s leave party politics out of this for a moment and ask ourselves the following:

    Should we, the people ponying up the cash (ie. even if it comes back later it is not now coming from the property endowment fund), know that we are making $100 million dollar loans (ie. this is not a real estate transaction) to a developer that is in trouble that is backed by a hedge fund that is in just as much, if not more, trouble?

    My answer is yes – especially given that the hedge fund is the major backer ($750 million to our ~$300 million) which suggests to me that if, indeed, things were to go sideways that we might be in for a real fight to get back even 1/2 of what the developer has promised us.

    Speaking of which, what, exactly, has the developer promised us?

    Isn’t that something else we should know?