Monday, March 11, 2013

Breaking....The Six Million Dollar Railgate Deal...It's The Indemnities Stupid


Bob Mackin is reporting that Mr. van Dongen is, apparently, claiming he has a copy of the 'deal':

(Update: Uncle Bob's report is confirmed by Hansard...Mr. van Dongen stated the claim in the legislature this afternoon although, to be clear, it is not certain whether he was referring to the 2005 or 2010 deal, or both - scroll down to line 1420). 

If you need a primmer, below is what I think is one of the critical aspects about how the deal went down ...Ironically, it all came up because of a back and forth that Paul Willcocks and myself hadwith former BC Liberal government Attorney General Mr. Geoff Plant almost a year ago....

If you want to skip all that and read my opinion about where I think Mr. van Dongen will go next if he really and truly does have the agreement in hand, it's at the very bottom of the post...


Friday, March 30, 2012

The Six Million Dollar BC Rail Deal....Mr. Plant Answers My Question.


It's noon on Friday, and the former BC Liberal Party government Attorney General, Mr. Geoff Plant, has been gracious enough to answer my question regarding his interpretation of the propriety of the 'Six Million Dollar Deal' that, in my opinion, effectively ended the BC Rail Trial of Mess'rs Basi, Basi and Virk with much haste.


A few days ago Mr. Plant wrote a 'Dear John' blog post in which he asked Mr. van Dongen what he would have done differently with regards to the 'deal' itself.

Prior to actually asking that question of Mr. van Dongen, Mr. Plant also wrote a number of things as a preamble.

And one passage in particular led me to leave a question for Mr. Plant in the comments as follows:

Mr. Plant first you state the following:
"The defendants pleaded guilty. What is clear is that there was no legally binding deal. There couldn’t be. The waiver of recovery of fees was not and could not be an inducement to plead guilty. As a matter of law they were not connected. But that was of course the outcome. It was done very, very carefully, to make sure the rules were followed."

Then, in the next sentence you state:
" But it was understood that with guilty pleas, the claim to fee recovery would be waived."


Based on those continguous statements, perhaps you could help me 'understand' the following:

If it was 'understood' that guilty pleas would subsequently lead to the waiver being granted, does it not logically follow that there was, for all intents and purposes, a prior 'inducement' regardless how 'carefully' things were done to make sure 'the rules were followed'?


I then wrote my own blog-post about this, here, if you would like more background and exposition.


Importantly, Mr. Plant has taken the time to respond to my question, also in the comments over at his place:

Ross K,

There was no "prior inducement". The offer of pleas was made first and entirely independently. The discussion about the fee waiver happened afterwards, and involved government, not the special prosecutor.

Paul Willcocks, who has been following this also, responded to Mr. Plant's response thusly:

  1. Sorry, but the hairs are being split too finely. If there were genuine guilty pleas arranged in negotiations with the special prosecutor in place, then there was no need to break the policy on indemnities. The guilty pleas would have been secured, the trial ended and the taxpayers could have recovered at least some of the $6 million.

    If they weren't in place, then the $6 million was indeed a prior inducement because it came before the guilty pleas were actually secured.
And while I too sincerely appreciate Mr. Plant's efforts to explain the situation more fully, I still do not understand his position based on how he laid things out in the original post, which is explained by my response to both his own response and Paul's:

  1. Thanks very much for the clarification of your position Mr. Plant.

    However, I am still in complete agreement with Mr. Willcocks' point of view on the matter.

    More specifically, in my opinion a 'chronological' separation of the formal agreements does not, in and of itself, indicate a lack of prior inducement if, as you say, the accused 'understood' (your term, not mine) that the official waiver agreements would follow the official guilty plea agreements.*

And with that, it's over to you all....

I sure would like to hear other folks' opinions on this matter, especially from folks with a legal background, as I am speaking purely as a layperson in that regard here.

Thanks all - and thanks to Mr. Plant and Mr. Willcock's too. This kind of discussion is most helpful on myriad levels.

*In my lunch hour haste there were a couple of typos in my original comment which I've cleaned-up here....And now...back to work!....Look forward to any comments you might have later in the day....


Now... back here in 2013...

Ask yourself this.....What if there was some kind of financial 'bridge' that helped tide things over for that short time between the 'understanding' and the 'agreement'?

And....What if somebody made that bridge go 'poof' as soon as the deal was done so that nobody, including treasury board knew that it even existed in that place between the reality and the shadow?

With those two points in mind....I reckon that is the direction Mr. van Dongen might head off in next.

(and don't forget, Mr. Loukidelis was not the only deputy minister involved in the making of the 'deal')




Grant G said...

Hey Ross..Watch question period today..There`s a link on my homepage.

In a nut shell, JVD stated that in the indemnity deal, struck in 2005..

Monies for legal fees were given in the form of personal loans to Basi/Virk..

In the agreement, only the LG or cabinet can forgive indemnity`s above $100 k

JVD went on to ask.. how could deputy minister Whitmarsh on his own sign off on this debt forgiveness..

It was then Shirley Bond dared JVD to impune or make those accusations of Whitmarsh out in the hallway


RossK said...


To quote Zeppelin....

Where is that confounded 'bridge' anyway?

(and why was it burning so bright just before it disappeared forever in October of 2010)


Anonymous said...

JVD claimed he had the agreement that was signed by Vrooman in 2005..she wasn't in a position to sign the amendment in 2010.

Still lots to pursue but...Merv