The Pan Am audit and subsequent spending by the TO2015 team is a perfect confluence of Ontario Liberal Government entitlement and ineptitude. As today’s Sun’s editorial states: (H/T newswatchcanada.ca under “Games-Gate”):
“Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government can no longer claim it was in the dark about expense account abuses by Pan Am Games committee executives until a few week ago.
Not when we now know, thanks to reporting by Sun Queen’s Park columnist Sue-Ann Levy, that these abuses were clearly documented in a July 2012 audit of the Pan Am committee done by Ontario’s finance ministry.
Government auditors reported, a year ago, that Pan Am executives were taking each other out to dinner, improperly calling them business meals, and billing taxpayers for it.”
Yet, apart from Levy and a few others (e.g., Keith Leslie of the Canadian Press — (H/T Jack’s Newswatch), as I wrote here yesterday, it seems that many in the mainstream media would rather ignore the ineptitude and mismanagement of the Ontario Liberal government in order to concentrate on rumours and allegations concerning the Conservatives in Ottawa.
Yet, Ontario Liberal ineptitude starts at the top. As Levy reported in yesterday’s Saturday Sun, Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister, Michael Chan “has repeatedly claimed to the [estimates] committee and during Question Period this past week that he only got word of these expense abuses three weeks ago when documents were delivered to the Toronto Sun in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.”
Then, there is this. Levy writes: “In response to questions last week, TO2015 spokesman Teddy Katz claimed they passed this audit and another one done by the feds on their capital projects, with ‘flying colours.'” Levy continues: “Katz stood by what he said, noting Friday night that the audit found ‘minor examples’ of non-compliance requiring ‘minor adjustments.'” But Levy found little evidence of any such adjustments since the audit.
So, given the sources I have used, let’s review what we now know:
- The base annual salary for CEO Ian Troop is $390,000, although he was given an $87,000 bonus last year on top of that — for what I don’t know since the games are still two years away.
- The CEO Ian Troop is also guaranteed a $780,000 bonus if the games come in on time and on budget — although I imagine he will get the bonus even if those criteria are not met.
- A total of 63 other Pan Am executives earn between $190,000 and $250,000. Why on earth does the TO2015 team need that many managers? Not only do they each make a quarter of a million dollars a year, each will allegedly be eligible for bonuses up to 50% of their annual pay when the games are over. Why? For doing their jobs? Apparently, half the bonus will be for staying on the job and half for performance. Excuse me? The first half sounds very much like a type of bribery to not quit.
- Then, there is the travel. In the fall of 2011, 10 members went to Guadalajara to observe their games — with some going back and forth as many as six times. Can you imagine how much all those trips cost? Sure, send two or three team members once, but ten members several times? Which makes me wonder if any marital partners or children went along as well.
- However, that was not the end of the exotic travel. Some senior executives also jetted to St. Kitts, Jamaica, Miami, Mexico and the Cayman Islands, ostensibly to attend sports assemblies and meetings. Why? Are there not video conference services available?
- In 2010, the VP of Operations, Alan Vansen moved to Toronto from Vancouver to fill his $303,529 job and expensed $630.04 to rent a car for house hunting. He also expensed other personal costs as well — such as $53.76 to Canada Post. Which brings to mind the question: Was $303,529 not enough for him to pay for the rerouting of his mail?
- There were the endless dinner meetings, including several pricey ones hosted in London, Glasgow and Guadalajara that are alleged to have been only between members of the TO2015 team.
- Then there is the forgotten budget items. The $1.4 billion dollar budget DOES NOT INCLUDE $700 million to build the athletes’ village or the $10 million for the provincial Pan Am secretariat.
Look, hosting games are expensive. I know that. And, Ontario taxpayers know that. But, assuming local businesses in Toronto make millions during the games, will those millions go only to private business owners or will Ontario taxpayers be getting a partial refund for any of the $1.4 billion (plus the billion not budgeted for) spent on our dime?
We all know the answer to that don’t we.
Well, if this latest ineptitude is not enough to cause Ontario voters to throw the bums out, I don’t know what will.
Update October 6th, 4pm: Check out Joanne’s latest post at Blue Like You. She has put up a video of Global’s Focus Ontario that covers a discussion between host Alan Carter and John Tory’s about the Pan Am audit debacle. Talk about entitlements! Anyway, they actually do a fair and balanced job of the coverage, including throwing in PC MPP Peter Sherman’s entitlement to expense his Niagara-on-the-Lake residence. Anyway, once the advertisement is finished, the discussion in question starts at the 2:06 minute mark and goes to 8:40.
Further Update October 8th, 4:00pm: Speaking of Ontario Liberal ineptitude, we find out this afternoon from the Ontario Auditor General that the Oakville and Mississauga gas plant cancellations cost taxpayers $1.1 billion — or $675 million if possible future savings are realized — so that Liberal MPPs could save their seats. In other words, this public money went to indirectly benefit the Liberal Party of Ontario. Here is the link to Sun Media’s coverage. Here also is a link to Blue Like You where people can carry on a discussion.