CityCaucus.com originally published a post about Gregor Robertson's Californian step-dad Gordon Russell as part of our popular Know Your Donor series back in June 2009. As we dug deeper into the people who financed the Vision mayor's campaign, we discovered that Robertson's Douglas Park neighbourhood home was owned by a corporation "Ohana Partners Ltd". Continue reading for more details...
Name: Gordon Russell
Donation to Vision Vancouver & to Gregor Robertson campaign: $22,584
Put your hand up if you went to the Bank of Mom & Dad to help secure your first mortgage. Yeah, me too. It looks like Mayor Gregor also got a little financial help from family in his bid for Vancouver's top job.
Gordon Russell is Gregor's stepdad. Gregor's mom remarried in the mid-1970s to Russell and young Gregor moved to his new Dad's digs in Portola Valley, California where Russell still lives most of the year. Aside from occasional stays with his birth father in a West End apartment due to a custody arrangement, Robertson is a West Vancouver native who never resided in the City of Vancouver until he was 40-years old.
Before settling in Vancouver in 2005, then newly-elected NDP MLA Gregor Robertson's primary residence was at Cortes Island, where he still has property, after living for years at he and wife Amy's Fort Langley farm. In the Cortes community Robertson met a motivated and wealthy community of ex-pat US Democrats (one of them even stated publicly that Canada was a sanctuary from the perceived evil of the U.S.A. under George W. Bush after 9/11). These Americans went on to bankroll his business enterprise and political career in Canada.
While Gordon Russell is not, as Charlie Smith cleverly describes them, one of the "cappucino-swilling Kitsilano types who spend their leisure time attending seminars," (he's too old skool for that) he shares many traits of the people of Gregor's principal backers: he's loaded, he's American, and he runs a donor-advised fund. Donor-advised funds (DAF) are a slick way for people to give the maximum funding to charities for the least direct cost to themselves. This is because governments waive taxes and other restrictions that would otherwise apply to managing a private foundation.