The lid has finally been taken off the private list of Vision donors
Exactly as we arrived at the 500-day mark since Vision Vancouver last divulged who is paying down their $240,000 campaign debt from the 2008 election, lo and behold the City's governing party releases its list of campaign donors on a hot summer day just prior to a long weekend. CityCaucus.com has been urging Vision to live up to its promise of openness and transparency, and its former calls for continuous disclosure. We're pleased to announce that we will officially stop our CityCaucus.com COUNT-UP CLOCK™ at 500 days.
At first glance what do we see from Vision Vancouver's financial declaration? Without question, it's a huge amount of money that Vision have raised in the past 15 months. For an organization who is on the record as decrying the amount of money spent on civic campaigns, Vision Vancouver have taken campaign spending into stratospheric heights. Having raised $433,000 in the past 500 days, Vision Vancouver have single-handedly raised the bar for the cost of civic elections in BC.
Secondly, there is the matter of how Vision have flouted the rules of the Vancouver Charter, which clearly states that if you have raised money to pay down an outstanding election campaign debt, you must report it within 30 days. The Ministry of Rural and Community Development was written to consider the matter of Vision's non-compliance, and the Minister's response was to file any complaints directly with the Vancouver Police Department's Financial Crime Unit. That unit is headed up by Sergeant Mark Johnstone.
The most interesting details of Vision's disclosure statement are those that are left out. For example, we can see that Vision Vancouver paid over $14,000 as interest on the $240K debt. Who did they pay that interest to? Was it perhaps some of Vision's better known bankrollers such as Renewal Partners, or was it a bank such as VanCity? Would a bank even consider a quarter million dollar loan to a political party with virtually no assets? As we've asked before, who was holding Vision Vancouver's debt?
Another detail one notes when looking at the numbers is how much Vision Vancouver spends on operations. After paying down their debt they've spent another $180,000 in 15 months. This means with salaries and other costs the party is burning through almost $12,000 per month! Look at the bottom line on page 2, and you can see that Vision only has just over $10,000 left in the bank. That means unless they can get developers to write more cheques immediately, Vision will be in the red again by Labour Day!
The poor old NPA may not be raising any money, but according to their financial statement read at their recent AGM, they have almost $20,000 in the bank. That means even with all the money Vision have raised, the NPA still has more cash!
For the many developers who've donated to Vision a thorny problem arises now that we know who gave to Vision, when they gave to Vision and how much they donated. Since the NPA has Vision's donor list, and will most likely squeeze the same developers for an equivalent donation as election season heats up. So if you are a developer who gave a $10,000 donation, suddenly it becomes $20,000. Wow.
Most of us just want to know who gave to Vision, which these documents happily provide in spades – click to view the full financial disclosure.
Here are a few of the corporations and business entities who through their donations have been supporting backyard chickens, STIR, the ramming in of HEAT shelters, cuts to arts funding, cuts to park and community centre budgets, massive severance payments to senior public servants, a new bike lane on Dunsmuir without consultation and the new lane coming to Hornby Street, new bee hives atop City Hall, costly etiquette booklets, untendered PR contracts, free Olympic tickets for friends and insiders, tax breaks for developers, extravagent inaugural ceremonies, the unceremonious firing of award winning employees, costly social housing on the oceanfront, VIP access to city-built rental housing, a lack of openness and transparency, councillors jet setting on the taxpayers dime, an unfocused political agenda and an overall lack of consultation at City Hall:
- Aquilini Development $10,000
- Bastion Development Corp $7,500
- Cannacord Capital Corporation $25,000
- Canadian Metropolitan Properties $6,500
- Concert Properties $8,000
- Cressey Development $2,500
- Delta Land Development $2,500
- Earnscliffe BC $3,600
- Emaar Properties $5,300
- Femo Construction $3,000
- Holborn Holdings $5,000
- Imperial Parking Corp. $2,800
- Intracorp Projects $10,000
- Jim Green and Associates $400
- Living Balance International Trading Ltd $10,000
- Loblaw Properties $2,500
- Omni Property MGT Services Ltd $2,500
- Oxford Properties $800
- Park Lane Homes $6,500
- Pattison Outdoor $2,500
- PCI Holdings $6,500
- PCL Constructors $2,000
- Polygon Homes $2000
- Prospero Properties $5,000
- Renewal Partners $2,500
- Rising Tide Consultants $2,300
- Rize Alliance Properties $2,500
- Salient Development $1,500
- Salt Spring Roasting Company $5,000
- SFU Community Trust $500
- Shato Holdings $2,500
- Sinocom Systems $1,500
- Southwest Contracting $2,000
- Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tours $2,500
- Strategic Communications $10,000
- Telus $2,000
- Terasen Gas $2,100
- Tom Lee Music $2,000
- Value Group $2,500
- Vanedge Capital Partners $1,500
- Wall Financial Corp. $10,000
- Wensley Architecture $2,750
- Wesgroup Income Properties $9,000
- Westcoast Liquor Company $1,400
- Weststar Communications $350
- Westwood Ridge Development Corp $5000
- Yaletown Park Condominium Properties $5,000
- Yellow Cab $2,900
The unions also did their part:
- ACFC West, Local 2020 CEP $1,000
- BC + YT Building Trades and Construction $3,400
- BC Government and Service Employees' Union $1,900
- CLC Pacific Region $1,650
- COPE 378 $1,450
- CUPE 1004 $3,000 (note other CUPE locals also contributed)
- United Steelworkers - P.E.C. 1% Fund District 3 $1,000
- VESTA (Teacher's Union) $1,020
- Vancouver Police Union $3,250
- Vancouver Secondary Teachers Assoc $1,650
Finally, some notable individual donations:
- NDP MLA Bruce Ralston $150
- Carol Newell $825
- David Eby $100
- Doug McArthur $150
- Douglas Beaton $175
- Helen Spiegelman $500
- Ian Waddell (former NDP MLA) $200
- Margaret Birrell (former NDP MLA) $450
- John Nightingale (Vancouver Aquarium bigwig) $150
- Paul Faoro (head of CUPE at City Hall) $180
- Robin Rennie $160
- Am Johal, housing protester $160
UPDATE: The NPA have sent out a media release raising concerns about the "astonishing" increase in political spending. Here is the release:
NPA Calls Vision Vancouver Fundraising astonishing
Vancouver—Vision Vancouver today released statements showing they have raised over $433,000 since March 1, 2009.
Vancouver Non-Partisan Association (NPA) President Michael Davis says Vision Vancouver is taking municipal campaign fundraising to astonishing levels.
“In front of reporters, Mayor Robertson says campaign finance is out of control and should be reigned in through legislation,” says Davis. “Behind the scenes, the party he leads is taking close to half a million from developers and trade unions in a non-election year. What do you suppose these donors expect in return?”
The documents filed by Vision Vancouver show they took $433,560.83 in contributions since March 1, 2009. The party used $241,666.70 to pay off their 2008 campaign debt and spent $181,522.35.
“Residents should be very concerned about what how much this Mayor is prepared to pay to stay in power,” adds Davis, “and who is paying the bills.”
- post by Mike