Tides Canada throws legal muscle at Vivian Krause

Post by Mike Klassen in

24 comments

legal-team
Tides Canada's lawyers (not shown) take aim at a North Vancouver single mom

In the annals of Canadian politics I can't think of any individual, let alone a woman working single-handedly, who would take on a more formidable and media-savvy opponent. Vivian Krause has self-financed through mortgaging (later selling) her home, and accepting loans and good will from family members so she can tell a story that no one has had the time, the will, nor the courage to tell.

If Krause were taking on some corporate bad guys in Erin Brockovich fashion, she would have made her third appearance on The Strombo Show by now. She would have a Fifth Estate documentary about her airing on CBC, and she would be the toast of the Hogtown elite. Alas, it has not come to pass. You could say she picked the wrong adversary to make it into the Mothercorp's good books.

Vivian Krause has become Canada's leading expert in explaining how millions of dollars flow through environmental non-governmental organizations with charitable status, and into select causes around the continent. Her research has shown that vast sums have been moved from US-based foundations through Tides Canada to a campaign to keep oil tankers off a strategic section of North America's coast.

Krause has been published in the National Post, Calgary Herald, Montreal Gazette, Business in Vancouver and Vancouver Sun among other media venues. Yet, the lawyer's letters from Tides Canada – five in total since December – don't get sent to publishers. They go only to Krause herself. If Tides through their legal counsel are so concerned about the accuracy of her work, why let these newspaper publishers off the hook?

After several years of reaching out to Tides Canada and the David Suzuki Foundation for answers, and being repeatedly rebuffed and ignored, Krause has kept a detailed record of all correspondence. She takes care not to ambush her subjects, and respectfully writes a letter with all of her findings well before ever putting her research in print.

Joel Solomon, if he ever cared to comment publicly on this, could confirm that he has received detailed emails with all of Krause's well-documented questions well in advance of that information appearing on a blog, or in a newspaper column. Krause seeks answers to what she describes as "fair questions," but rarely gets a respectful reply.

Vivian's rock solid research has been featured on CityCaucus.com several times. In one post she cuts straight to the chase by asking "Did Vision Vancouver get $153,783 in campaign funds from a charity?" Her questions and supporting documentation are compelling to read. Have Vision Vancouver found a surefire way to make sure that their campaigns will always be flush with cash like no other political party in our city's history?

If Tides Canada's goal is damage control, it would appear that strategy is backfiring. Each time Krause receives another correspondence from the lawyers, she discovers more facts which raise even more questions about what Tides Canada is up to.

For example, if it wasn't for the lawyer's fourth letter, Vivian may never have noticed that Open Media removed its web-pages and re-wrote others about getting cheques through Tides Canada. In her response to the law firm of Bull, Housser and Tupper she states:

Your letter prompted me to re-examine the web-site of Open Media where this information was posted as of Feb. 11. I notice that this web-page has since been removed. I also note that another web-page about donations to Open Media being accepted by Tides Canada, has been re-written.

Now, another week, and yet another letter – the fifth from Tides Canada's lawyers. Her response to the fifth letter is here, and it's practically a work of art. Once again she refutes all the lawyer's claims, then provides substantial documentation for her initial claims, including screen shots of altered and removed web pages by Open Media and other Tides entities.

(Interesting side note: Vision Coun. Andrea Reimer supported Open Media by helping to kick off their campaign against the CRTC's decision on user-based billing decision. It's an example of Vancouver City Hall being used as a bully pulpit to launch political action beyond city boundaries.)

Furthermore, with a little digging Krause discovered something she hadn't even considered earlier. The same law firm which represented Tides Canada also represented the Endswell Foundation – that of Carol Newell fame, which has turned over (according to Krause's research) 99% of all grants to Tides Canada. Remember what Vivian told us earlier about Endswell Foundation, and Joel Solomon, his vice-president and Vision Vancouver treasurer Martha Burton?

Between 2004 and 2008, staff at Renewal Partners, were paid salaries by Endswell - to the tune of $1.9 million, according to U.S. tax returns. Would Renewal Partners and Strategic Communications have been able to afford to contribute $153,783 to Vision Vancouver if salaries and who knows what else weren't paid by Endswell?

But if charity money had been used to fund Vision Vancouver, how would we know? That may be part of the problem. The sr. vice president of the Endswell Foundation, Martha Burton, is also the treasurer of Vision Vancouver and the Sr. Vice-President at Renewal Partners. U.S. tax returns show that between 2007 and 2008, Ms. Burton's salary nearly doubled from $72,036 to $135,325.

One of the campaign finance contributions to Vision Vancouver was a total of $6,000 from Interdependent Investments Ltd: $5,000 in 2008, and $1,000 in June of 2010. The B.C. Company Summary says that the president of Interdependent Investments Ltd. is Joel Solomon and that the secretary is Martha Burton.

It will be very interesting to see the lawyer's response to Vivian's most recent letter in which she asks sobering questions about the assets, revenues and expenditures of the Endswell Foundation – including what she calls "the $11.4 million dollar question" about why Endswell needed to spend $11.4 million on overhead while it was simply transferring 99 percent of its grants to Tides Canada.

Perhaps it's an insignificant detail about the correspondence from Tides Canada's lawyer, but not once do they bother to defend Joel Solomon nor the Endswell Foundation. Click here for a complete list of correspondences between Vivian Krause and Tides Canada's legal team.

Of course, the stakes are extremely high for anyone who might be using charitable funds merely for political ends. Charitable status is a precious thing, and if it is revoked from an organization it can trigger a domino effect whereby other charities can be implicated.

After ignoring Vivian Krause outright for years, Tides Canada is finally taking notice of a North Vancouver single mom who has quietly taken these Goliaths on from the comfort of her kitchen table in her apartment. Let it be a lesson in humility for us all.

- post by Mike. Follow @MikeKlassen on Twitter, or follow Vivian @FairQuestions.

24 Comments

Vivian . . . wonderful human being.

TIDES Canada . . . vile, foul, pond scum

Endswell . . . skanky,

Go Vivian go . . what you are doing exposing these connections and inter-organization back scratching is making our democracy stronger.

Shine the bright light of truth on Tides Canada and let the cleansing begin.

I've read all of Vivian's articles with a a bit of surreal facination.

And interesting that you noted Andrea Reimer in this article Mike, as that question, or rather, was/is Reimer associated in any way with Open Media -ran through my head.

A while back I came accross some flickr pics that had been posted when Renewal Partners opened their offices in Vancouver. Robertson was featured in many of them.

It is good to note that the Mayor of Port McNeill, Gerry Furney, has sent a letter to Prime Minister Harper requesting that Tides' status be looked into.

Myself, I had e-mail Minister deJong requesting the same, especially after reading that Minister Falcon's campaign bid may have been tainted by persons supporting these groups (article in the GS).

Good work Vivian and I truly hope that our government is paying attention.

I wonder who's footing the legal bill for the one hour fifty-five minutes and fifty-four seconds that someone at Bull, Housser and Tupper spent on my website. Interesting to note that the "landing page" for all of their cumulative visits featured a story about our very own "Tambourine Man" - http://www.firetechs.net/library/ArkTsisserevEXTRA011411.asp

You just gotta love "Google Analytics" (http://google.com/analytics)!

Vivian
Thank you ..

This should be a major political scandal. Where are the newspapers in this? What about the Fifth Estate or W5? What is CKNW afraid of?
How about the Provincial or Federal governments? Perhaps it is because they are receiving contributions from this Tides group. How much of these contributions are coming from outside Canada? What the heck are all these people and groups afraid of? Maybe Tides Canada has them by the short and curlies! Keep it up City Caucus, we need you.

Mike, could you set up an on-line fund raiser for Vivienne? I would be happy to use my Paypal account to provide her with some assistance. My assumption would be that CityCaucus.com readers would be happy to return a completely transparent and legal form of fundraising for Vancouver's political system. I have had enough of Gregor's political games.

The whole thing is a lawyer's wet dream. Reams of documents, carefully worded hair-splitting, the prospect of a nice long trial, plenty of publicity for everyone involved. Best of all, a client with deep pockets and a bogus public image to defend. When it's done, BHT can kick ba-...I mean, donate a piece of their invoice and take a charitable deduction. Brilliant.

And to think people tell jokes about these people (but not out loud in front of witnesses, of course).

Vivian,

Thanks for making the actual letters from Bull Housser Tupper available for the public to read.

I second bobh's comment. I'd happily donate some $$$ towards Vivian's efforts.

Vivian is doing the work our media have failed to do...this is "old school" investigative reporting at it's best.

I'd love to see a reporter staked outside Joel Solomon's place to record the comings and goings of Robertson, and question Solomon on the wide variety of issues Vivian has raised.

Where's CRA in all of this?

ABSOLUTELY AGREE, I'd contribute!

Burton received a 90% increase in salary over a one year period. Working for a "charity"!!!!!!!!!! Amazing! It's a lot of pork chops for someone working behind a kosher screen, don't you think? Come United Way and all the other charity crap, and walking for fictitious causes, you'll get zilch from me. Maybe someone should start investigating these 'charities' and 'non for profit' currency exchanges. Oh, and where the f@#$% is the MSM, that bunch of useless scribes. Thanks Mike for posting this and 'Go Vivian' go!

While this situation is reprehensible, I would like to point out that most of us working in non-profit organizations (especially the arts) have extremely close scrutiny by our public funders and allocate (very willingly) many hours to keeping detailed records. Our administrators and board directors receive little pay or volunteer so that most of the grants go directly to the artists, the work and to create access for as many people as possible.
This story makes it doubly hard for us to operate as the perception this poster has is true, we all get painted with the same brush in the public eye.
Any organization benefitting from charitable status in Canada should be transparent and open to public scrutiny.

The Thought of The Day

“Just before he died of a heart attack, Vito Corleone was heard saying to one of his kids ‘Eh, Michael, I wana u to promiz me, you veal go into eh respectabile biz-e-niss when I veal be no more! You veal go into the cha-ritty biz-e-niss! Life iz so bi-u-tiful’ these were his last words. His legacy’s alive.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aV9X2d-f5g

To put it a bit in perspective, and to follow up on some of the previous comments, I’d positively say that in this volatile global economy and during this uncertain times, not even ‘The Donald’ would give one of his ‘Apprentices’ such a massive raise (as Ms. Burton). For goodness sake, the people on Trump’s payroll are building things, not simply moving air and monies around!

Vivian, hats off to you!

As for the MSM, Tides and their overpriced 400/ hour leeches that are sending you letters ...up yours!

We live in Canada and this keeps us busy.

Me too . . . financial support for Vivian would be something I'd support.

Since she doesn't have multi-millionaire do-gooder progressive smarter-than-us-rubes kinda people to support her Great Dig for the Truth, us rubes will have to step up to the plate.

Maybe the good folks at Bull Houser & Tupper will give us some pro-bono support to help get to the truth about the real Charitable Status of Tides Canada.

Because the truth is needed here.

Something is very odd about all this Sturm & Legal Drang chill stuff going on.

Very, very odd indeed.

Tides Canada, Tides USA, Endswell, Ms. Newel, Mr. Solomon, Mr. Solomon Co, JSCO, Ms. Burton et al are all birds of the same eco-feather, very muy-simpatico on greenie environmental issues, social justice, progressive causes small & large, Vision Vancouver, tree hugging . . . etc. All peas in the same greenie pod.

You’d think they’d be screaming their support for each other from every roof top & wind turbine, screaming & professing their solidarity for each and all, in for that save-the-planet penny & most certainly in for that eco-subsidized pound.

They all have the same Aim, Goals, Objectives and share similar methods and strategies.

They should be bragging, loudly bragging about how organized they are, how they are working together to fight the evils of modern society & the vile oil industry.

But they are doing the exact opposite. Full speed reverse, backup lights on & blazing, safety horn beeping out a monotonous “we don’t even know each other” beat.

So why the Big Legal push back to try and stifle the public’s knowledge of their operations, why the big effort, an effort that appears to be most disingenuous and purposefully designed to obfuscate and confuse??

Why? The great team, the great common cause, the great eco-crusaders all making huge efforts to appear that they hardly know each other. It is like some bizarre Monty Python sketch.

This is a very fascinating case and Vivian certainly has exposed enough evidence for the tax investigator’s to have a much closer examination for Charity Fraud. The more they try to hide their real connections, try to legal chill Vivian’s investigation into “disappearing”, the more they try and run away from their own purpose in life, the more it says the truth needs to be found out.

Time for the CRA to act to protect all Canadians.

Sandra,

I couldn't agree more that its unfair to paint all charities with the same brush. Most charities and non-profits do great work.

Thanks for taking time to read my post. I would like to let you know that I have seen no evidence that Kevin Falcon's campaign was supported by the registered charities that I've been concerned about. The campaign that I have questions about is Christy Clark's Liberal leadership campaign. I asked her several times about the role that Don Millar and FD Element played in her campaign. She didn't reply.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words and encouragement. Very much appreciated!

While I appreciate the suggestions about financial support, I would love to encourage everyone to contribute financially to a charity that you believe in and be as generous as you can. To Sandra's point, questions about a small part of the charitable sector shouldn't put a cloud over charity as a whole.

Hi Vivian, my apologies I should have stated more clearly that the article pointed towards the possibility that groups worked against supporting Falcon in his bid.

I look forward to your investigative reporting digging into the Koch brothers and the Tea Party folks down in the US, now that they are trying to influence the Alberta government:

http://www.rabble.ca/news/2011/03/tea-party-architects-lobby-alberta-input-tar-sands-industry

Well I think most of us get our information from more than one source and it would be a bit much to expect Ms Krause with her limited resources to function as full spectrum news agency. I used to be a bit sceptical but have come to respect her persistent investigation.

The Tyee, locally, has given good coverage of the Koch brothers and an excellent expose of their activities appeared last year in the New Yorker.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer

It surely isn't a matter of left or right or in between to be concerned about secretive influence on politicians whatever flavour of multi millionaire/charity/corporation is involved.

What do all these charlatans, Tides, Endswell, Koch have in common? They are all in the same profession. Dentistry.
And what a fitting name for their lawyers, Bull...

I find it interesting that none of the Tides folks actually respond. Guilty, I'd say.

So, when can we expect their charitable status revoked?

Would we at least know if they are being looked at by Canada Revenue Service??

Thank you Vivian for all your hard work. Keep 'em honest.

Barry

where2beforfree-smallbanner
Check out BCWineLover.com!

Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement



Close