Vancouver House: Can we squeeze a few more FD Element staff on the guest list?
When it came to the Olympic hosting, Mayor Gregor Robertson made big promises that the hundreds of prime seats the City of Vancouver bought for Olympic competitions and the wads of cash wasted on Vancouver House would pay off big for taxpayers.
The payoff it seems went to Vision Vancouver political insiders and pals (see a photo from the party). The fact is that in spite of the best efforts of several reporters including 24 Hours' Bob Mackin, the City and the Vancouver Economic Development Commission has refused to provide detailed lists of who got free tickets during the 2010 Games. Information requests to the VEDC's acting CEO have received no response after several weeks. And furthermore, the City's showcase pavilion – the dud venue known as Vancouver House – was in effect turned into a gathering place for Vision to fête political supporters.
Back on March 4th CityCaucus.com requested the list of invitees to the series of private receptions held at Vancouver House. We just received the response last Friday – that's June 18th! And lo and behold, it's 32 pages of blacked-out sheets. Apparently Vancouverites are not allowed to see who Vision invited to these taxpayer-funded bashes.
A city news release sent out prior to the opening stated that Vancouver House would "play host to a number of international business leaders at events coordinated through the Vancouver Economic Development Commission... to encourage new investment." That didn't happen however. Instead we saw Vancouver House host locals, including a labour night (Feb. 16), Filipino-Canadian night (Feb. 18) and Indo-Canadian night (Feb. 22).
One company that scored big was FD Element, the company we reported had registered "mayorofvancouver.ca" for Gregor Robertson and was hired by the Mayor's office to build his website. According to the guest list, they attended so many events the company practically had its office moved to Vancouver House.
While it's not unusual for sitting governments to throw parties for friends, it is unusual that they would make an effort to hide this information from the public. Furthermore, it's pretty clear that during all those days and nights Vancouver House was closed to the public for these private parties, not a lot of "international business leaders" were present.
In fact, it appears that no international business leaders ever attended these events at all.
So what did Vancouver get for what they spent on Vancouver House? Apparently a whole lot of photographs of Gregor Robertson. Robertson's office hired a full time photographer to tag along with Gregor during the Games.
CityCaucus.com plans to challenge the decision not to release the names on the Vancouver House guest list, and we'll provide it to our readers as soon as we are able.
- post by Mike