Frances Bula header image 2

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