Friday, May 24, 2013

Spendthrifts Ballem and Hayden exposed by Canadian Taxpayers' Federation

So what if the Ottawa Senators are out of the Stanley Cup playoffs? 

Their logo is that of a Centurion and they play in Kanata, not Ottawa. 

Anyways, the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL campaign is being played under a big, fat asterisk. 

In a matter of days, the worst-kept secret will be made official. The Kanata Centurions will be the opposition for the Vancouver Canucks at B.C. Place Stadium in the NHL’s Stadium Series of shinny gargantuan gimmick in 2014. An NHL advance crew was in B.C. Place earlier in May to plan logistics for the event, expected to draw up to 59,000. They even measured where the temporary rink will go on the synthetic turf surface. 
"Petro Penny"

Who was more entertaining and productive than Daniel Alfredsson this week? Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation's B.C. office. He scored a pair of hat-tricks on the Freedom of Information front against spending sprees by Vision Vancouver and B.C. Pavilion Corporation bigwigs.

First he scored expense reports for Vancouver city manager Penny Ballem, chief of staff Mike Magee and Mayor Gregor Robertson’s sidekick Kevin Quinlan.  

Among Ballem’s expenses are tanks of gas purchased in Whistler, where she has a cabin with her partner Marion Lay. 

Mayor Gregor Robertson was not interested in answering my questions about Ballem's spending when I saw him at the media-invited opening ceremony of the Society for Information Display convention on May 21 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Robertson claimed he had to get to a tour of the convention floor and didn't have time to answer my lone question about Ballem's spending. Luckily, CKNW's Janet Brown cornered Robertson a day later, but his answers were a tad weak.

Then Bateman notched a hat-trick and a bonus marker over the expense reports of PavCo poobahs. 

CEO Dana Hayden bills taxpayers $2,200 a month for her Vancouver accommodation and spent $50 on fuel to travel to Langley to meet with PavCo chair and Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender (the Surrey-Fleetwood Liberal MLA-elect). 
"Harbour Air Hayden"

Fassbender’s city hall claims to be environmentally sustainable. Instead of using a phone or Skype, Hayden drove all the way to Langley. 

In September 2012, when Coal Harbour neighbours were meeting with PavCo officials to complain about floatplane noise and fumes, Hayden was commuting to Victoria.

“Harbour Air” Hayden’s expense report shows flights on Sept. 10, 13, 17, 20, 24 and 27. The first three were for $160.82 each and the other three $168.32 each.

Howard “Was He Pushed Or Did He Jump?” Crosley became B.C. Place Stadium’s ex-general manager on May 21. Hayden sent a memo to staff a week after the provincial election to announce Crosley’s departure after 15 years at the helm. 

Crosley’s expenses include $115.65 on June 11, 2011 for maintenance at Morrey Nissan, $42.46 for tire repair for a Nissan Rogue on March 22, 2011 and $224.48 for tire purchase for a Nissan Rogue on March 26, 2011. 

Crosley was replaced by Ken Cretney, the Vancouver Convention Centre general manager who was elevated to chief operating officer of PavCo. 

Warren Buckley’s departure from the CEO role in summer 2012 opened the door for Hayden. 
His expense report shows a $41.54 meal on Sept. 6, 2011 for a peacemaking meeting with Josh Blair of Telus and then-CEO Paul Barber of the Bell-sponsored Vancouver Whitecaps. 

That was three weeks before the reopening of B.C. Place, which was supposed to become Telus Park. The government eventually paid the Liberal-friendly telecom $15.2 million.

A $69.55 meal expense on March 25, 2011 shows Buckley lunched with John Christison of the Washington State Convention Centre. During the 1990s, Buckley and Christison were partners in a consultancy that was called, wait for it, Buckley-Christison. 

Buckley said he was invited to visit the Seattle Sounders and met Christison for a tour of his facility, and to discuss convention business and industry trends, “but certainly no connection to Buckley-Christison.” 

“I never participated in the practice and earned no fees at all," Buckley once told me. "He did continue however to use my surname.”

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