Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Six Million Dollar Deal...What Mr. Loukedelis Said.



Update: May 04, 2012....Mr. Loukidelis has suddenly resigned after John Van Dongen raised the issue of the legality of the deal in the legislature earlier this week....

Last week we disagreed with former BC Liberal Government Attorney General Geoff Plant who insisted that, despite the fact that there was an 'understanding' (Mr. Plant's term, not mine) that legal fees would be waived after the fact, that there was no prior inducement for Mess'rs Basi and Virk to plead guilty and suddenly end the RailGate Trial in the fall of 2010 just before former BC Liberal Government Finance Minister Gary Collins was scheduled to appear as a witness, under oath, in open court.


Taking another tack on this matter....

If there was, indeed, an 'understanding', where might such a thing have come from if, as Mr. Plant indicated, the plea agreement (which involved an initial deal between the special prosecutor and the accused), and the fee waiver (which was subsequently granted separately by BC Liberal government Deputy Ministers David Loukidelis [Attorney General's Office] and Graham Whitmarsh [Finance]) were granted sequentially and separately?


According to a written statement from Mr. Loukidelis that Mr. Plant was good enough to point his readership towards that is not entirely clear.

Here is a portion of Mr. Loukidelis' statement from Oct 20, 2010 that was released to the media at the time:

"....On October 5, 2010, it came to the attention of the Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Attorney General, that the special prosecutor had proposed resolution of the prosecutions through guilty pleas.

Discussions then took place between the Legal Services Branch and defence counsel, including with respect to their clients’ liability to repay their legal costs. (The indemnities provided that they would have to do so unless acquitted on all counts.)

Legal Services Branch referred the matter to me and to the Deputy Minister of Finance. The Deputy Minister of Finance has authority under the Financial Administration Act respecting this matter. He and I considered the issue. A major consideration was the relatively small amounts that might be recovered from Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk compared to the millions of additional dollars it would cost the government to continue to fund defence, prosecution and court-related costs through to the completion of the trial, and to fund any appeals, with no guarantee of convictions.

Based on the above, in our respective capacities the Deputy Minister of Finance and I decided to release Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk from their liability to repay. I communicated that decision to the Attorney General on October 8, 2010.

No one outside the Legal Services Branch, myself and the Deputy Minister of Finance had any knowledge of this or involvement. For clarity, neither the special prosecutor nor the Attorney General had any knowledge of the matter or any involvement in this...."

Fair enough as far as it goes, right?


But please go back and re-read that last paragraph, bolded above.

It states that the BC Liberal Government Attorney General of the day, Mr. Mike de Jong, had no knowledge of the coming fee waiver agreement.

And neither did the Special Prosecutor for the RailGate case, Mr. William Berardino, who put together the initial guilty plea deal.

Which, taking Mr. Loukidelis' statement at face value, means that neither Mr. de Jong nor Mr. Berardino could have conveyed an 'understanding' to the accused or, we can only surmise, their lawyers.


Mess'rs Loukidelis and Mr. Whitmarsh obviously knew what was going down given that they put waiver deal together (sans Treasury Board approval, of course, which is a separate story we will return to in a later post).

But we can only assume that, as very fine public servants of the utmost integrity, neither Mr. Loukidelis nor Mr. Whitmarsh conveyed an 'understanding' to the defense prior to plea agreement.


If there was someone in the know who could have conveyed an understanding prior to the accused pleading guilty, who's left based on Mr. Loukidelis's statement?


As is clear from what Mr. Loukidelis wrote above, itwould appear that an unamed person or person(s) inside the 'Legal Services Branch' may have known what was happening before it happened.

And yet....

Somehow I doubt that any full time members of said branch, which is made up of legal professionals and public servants of the utmost integrity, would convey such an understanding to the accused which could have later been viewed, at least by some, as a 'prior inducement'.


Is it possible that....

...They 'deputize' members of said legal branch when the need arises?

And/or hire legal-type 'consultants' with the right 'connections' for short-term assignments?

(just askin', because finding a record of any such short term hires in October of 2010 could, perhaps, be something that the Auditor General of British Columbia, who is looking into the Six Million Dollar Deal, might want to undertake)



paul said...

The other paragraph worth noting is the first in the section you quoted:

"On October 5, 2010, it came to the attention of the Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Attorney General, that the special prosecutor had proposed resolution of the prosecutions through guilty pleas."

Came to the attention of who in the Legal Services Branch. And who made the call and what did he or she say? The weasel words are revealing in what they choose not to say.

Norm Farrell said...

Obviously, there are reasons why the BC Liberals have fought hard and continue to fight to deny the Auditor General access to documents in this matter.

If the decision making was as described, there would be no reason for the foot dragging and outright refusal to follow directions of the Supreme Court.

One feature of a corrupted organization is that insiders with knowledge of wrongdoing gain terrific leverage for their own benefit. I don't say it's an opportunity for blackmail but some might.

From http://northerninsights.blogspot.ca/2012/03/adventures-in-not-net-zero-land.html

"Graham Whitmarsh, DM in the Health Ministry, had his salary go to $259,531 in fiscal 2010, 42% more than he earned in 2008. Whitmarsh charged additional personal expenses of $168,410 in the last four years."

"David Loukidelis, long a senior Liberal bureaucrat, got 11% this year, a raise that makes his salary 42% more than it was in 2006."

Norm Farrell said...

I believe there is an established trend so that any senior management person who does heavy lifting on politically sensitive files for the Liberals earn.

Another example:

Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland, now Deputy Minister Advanced Education, has enjoyed steady increases in each of the last few years, including 27% ($47,000) in 2012. Since 2006, her earning are up 115%.

North Van's Grumps said...

There is someone else who was privy to the contents of the letter that brought about the $6 million deal.

Someone from the AG's office too.

Someone who's name is on the Document properties: Crichter or C. Richter who just happens to be an employee of the AG's Office

Fact is the DEPUTY AG's OFFICE

And is now the Executive Coordinator for Deputy AG's Office and on May 15, 2008, WAS the Executive Coordinator for the Deputy Attorney General's Office when the Hon. Wally Oppal was the AG.


Grant G said...

Ross, my interests lie in the strategig optics, Dave Loukidelis, the people`s fighter, a man for years fought the Government for disclosures as head of F-O-I.

A regular in our courts to attain data on Liberal misdeeds, and out of the blue, the people`s champion is recruited to the other side, a deputy in the ministry of the attorney general, where his very first act is to sign off on a contentious %million dollar legal fee, a fee that clearly broke a long standing policy on who get`s indemnity, and who doesn`t..

The loukedelis story,from white knight to signatory..

As Tina Turner would say..

"We don`t need another hero"

Good Day

RossK said...

Thanks all - excellent points.

I agree that what went unsaid here is very, very telling.


Lew said...

The fee waiver was not granted subsequently. I have a letter from the Legal Services Branch advising me that it was done prior to the pleas.

I was questioning how anybody using delegated authority could sign a deal with a $6 million financial consideration, (or two for $3 m each), or forgive the mortgage attachment without going to Treasury Board. I was assured that since the indemnity agreements were amended prior to the pleas, there was no $6 million liability.

They never did answer the forgiving of the debt to the Crown (even if it went as they claim, nobody has delegated authority that high), and their response on the $6 million raised more questions than it answered.