December 18, 2016

UPDATE: “Deafening silence” from Vancouver city hall on "fishy" land-swap inquiries

Rebel Staff

Last week I brought you the story about the inclusion of the China Investment Corporation in documents provided to the City of Vancouver by Ernst and Young, hired after the deal the city put together for the sale and swap of land in Yaletown, wound up in the Supreme Court of BC. 

You can see my follow up report here to find out what the city and Ernst and Young had to say about why it was included. At the end of that report I showed you ten questions I sent to the City of Vancouver surrounding the original land swap.

Well, the silence from the city has been deafening!

I heard nothing after a week so I cut my inquiry down to four straightforward questions surrounding the original deal.

Watch as I go through my questions so you know exactly why it’s so important that we get answers.

#1 Why did the City remain silent regarding the assessment complaint filed by Feb 2, 2015? This is a crucial question. In January of each year BC Assessment sends out an assessment notice estimating a property’s value. In the case of this deal the property was assessed at $59,507,500. But by February 2nd, 2015 a notice of complaint was filed.

#2: Was the City the initial complainant of the Feb 2, 2015 complaint? It’s often the owner who files an appeal if they believe their property has been assessed at the wrong value. In this case it’s important to know who the complainant was because we know that after the complaint, BC Assessment dropped the property value by $50M down to $9,485,500. A whopping 83% reduction in the value of the land the city was about to swap to a developer?

It matters if the city was the initial complainant because under the BC Assessment Act section 10(2), the initial complainant must agree to the reduction. The city may try to claim they were not the complainant, but if they are the owner they must still agree to the reduction according to the act.

The city may say the owner/lessee was the 127 Society for Housing but by early 2013 the city, 127 Society, and Brenhill properties all signed a surrender of the lease. So it appears as though either the city knowingly agreed to wipe $50M off the value of a property that they owned or BC Assessment acted without legal authority in dropping the value of this property.

Nobody at BC Assessment is willing to explain why this was done; not Mr Paul Borgo the deputy assessor I visited myself, nor the Assessor on this file Jason Grant, also from the Vancouver office, who has not returned my calls.

My other two questions for the city have to do with their own procurement and contracting procedures. First I wanted to know how much the city paid to subcontractors hired by Ernst and Young as indicated in their report.

While the city paid Ernst and Young just shy of $140,000, it appears when you look at the detailed billing and at the 3rd party resources provided to Ernst and Young by both Burgess, Cawley, Sullivan and Rennie Marketing Systems, they contributed to this report and yet we have no invoices for this subcontracting work but the city needs to provide us with those.

My final question was one of simply following the proper procedure.

We know from NPA councillor George Affleck that this engagement letter from Ernst and Young was never reviewed by council. According to the city’s own rules in section 4.2 of their procurement policy, any work exceeding $75,000 must be an open bid and posted to the BC Bid website. A simple answer of “yes” along with records of those postings, seems easy, right?

Yet, I have not heard one peep back from the city since they responded to my original inquiry surrounding the reference to the China Investment Corporation.

Perhaps they want to ignore me hoping I will go away, but I won’t. And, I know that a few of my colleagues in the mainstream media are asking the same questions and receiving the same deafening silence from Vision Vancouver controlled City Hall.

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commented 2016-12-19 06:39:04 -0500
Nothing to see here folks!… It’s just Vancouver politics as usual, and still the druggie capital of Canada at East Hasting and Main…
commented 2016-12-18 23:42:15 -0500
If Gregor is involved, I hope he is fired as he is the main anti-pipeline green freak.
commented 2016-12-18 22:33:49 -0500
Left wing thinking-“Well since we owe China so much money anyways we may as well let them have expensive land for next to nothing on top of it.”
commented 2016-12-18 21:56:12 -0500
I guess that’s why Christie Clark is handing out free loans to first time home buyers….so they don’t feel left out.
commented 2016-12-18 19:42:04 -0500
Mayor Moonbeam was the first politician Trudeau visited after the election. Probably to discuss their shared admiration for the “basic dictatorship.”
commented 2016-12-18 18:09:17 -0500
The Gregor Robertson Chinese communist foundation
commented 2016-12-18 18:02:57 -0500
I bet the sound of paper shredders is deafening !
commented 2016-12-18 16:09:43 -0500
Probably need more funding for the next Vancouver sodomite parade which the mayor and some msm news anchors took part in.
commented 2016-12-18 15:10:39 -0500
The rats are trying to cover their tracks! Heads should be rolling over this scam. And the first head to roll needs to be mayor moonbeams.
commented 2016-12-18 14:54:35 -0500
Nuthin to see here, yeah right!

Keep poking Christopher.
commented 2016-12-18 12:56:40 -0500
The smell gets stronger every day. Why the hesitation if it’s all legal?
commented 2016-12-18 12:50:58 -0500
Keep up the pressure on the city, Christopher! You are doing an excellent job!
commented 2016-12-18 12:44:29 -0500
Keep digging Chris, the fact that this public property market value was discounted beyond reason just in time to be snapped up by developers has a smell like rotten sushi – really surprised local MSM have not pick up on it – oh yeah, they’re only interested in fake news – too bad.