Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Casinogate: Shutting Down IGET In 2009....There Was Paper.


As previously noted, in 2010 Sean Holman captured Mr. Rich Coleman, on video, saying that there was absolutely no government documentation to explain why he shut down the integrated illegal gaming enforcement team in 2009 because, and I quote, "I don't deal in paper" (see 3min 50sec of the embedded video). 


Sam Cooper of Postmedia has determined, unequivocally, that there was, indeed, paper:

B.C.’s illegal gambling task force was shut down in 2009 due to urgent “funding pressure” on the B.C. Lottery Corp., according to a confidential B.C. government memo obtained by Postmedia News.

The March 2016 memo for then finance minister Mike de Jong, is the first known document indicating the illegal gambling task force was disbanded by B.C. officials for financial reasons.

Also, the document suggests, in the aftermath of the unit’s closure, organized crime in B.C. has been able to increase its dangerous reach into both legal and illegal casinos, for the purposes of money laundering.

The document was prepared for de Jong by B.C.’s Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch. It says that from 2003 to 2009, the Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET) investigated crimes surrounding “common gaming” houses, animal fighting, and bookmaking. The unit was not tasked with investigating money laundering in B.C.’s licensed casinos, the document says.

But IIGET managers in January 2009 filed a threat-assessment asking for an expanded role, and warning of the potential influence of organized crime in B.C. Lottery Corp. regulated casinos.

Instead, in April 2009, B.C.’s illegal gambling task force was disbanded...


Who, exactly, was the chair of the BCLC in 2009, and who did he later end up working for in the most conflicty of circumstances?

And, who, exactly, made the (alleged) decision to squeeze the BCLC's funding all those years ago?

Interestingly, an E-Division document that Mr. Holman unearthed all those years ago has much of the same language in it as the doc Mr. Cooper has unearthed, including the term 'exigent funding pressure' on the BCLC.
Mr. Coleman's claim to Mr. Holman in 2010 was that, based on the advice of his people, he shut down IGET because it wasn't working and that he was doing something better, instead. Since that time, demonstrably problematic transactions (i.e. the ones we actually know about) have skyrocketed.
Now, getting back to this hypothesis about what was really going down within GordCo, circa 2009 that I've been working on...Time to start connecting some magic carpet dots, that involved yet another former GordCo-appointed BCLC chair, I reckon.



Anonymous said...

Unless its green?

Keith. said...

What " Funding pressure" 2009-2010 BCLC report.

Net income of $1.079.1. million scroll down to see who got what.

Anonymous said...

The spinmeisters ran amok for 16 years under the BC Liberal regime. To state that funding pressure was the reason for shutting down the illegal gambling task force was completely bizarre. The only rationale for not proceeding to fund this program, from profits in excess of $1 billion, was undoubtedly due to corruption within the BC Liberal ranks. RG

RossK said...

Thanks for the info and link Keith....Have edited post and added 'alleged' to the funding squeeze question.



In my opinion, it would be difficult for any reasonable person who has been paying attention to not think that there was an ulterior motive, or motives, behind this action.

Further to this, note that Mr. Coleman went out of his way to deflect away from the funding matter by tacking towards the' IGET was incompetent/not effective proverbial safe harbour when he was pressed by Mr. Holman back in 2010...


Meanwhile while matters that actually matter to British Columbians in terms of cost of living, whaling, money laundering, organized crime are emerging, the Dean and his sidekick get out their fiddles...

Which has me wondering...

If they could set up a 24/7 war-room over a back deck, why is it that they are happy to leave a story of drug-dusted hockey bags full of cash at casino doors, not to mention illegal cash houses and massive laundered money real estate transfers, to a single cub reporter?

(not that I am disparaging the work of said cub reporter, just don't understand why this isn't an all-hands-on-deck story for the entire locally-landed proMedia gentry)


North Van's Grumps said...

@RossK From your link to Michael Graydon we added 'whale' and found several results:

Michael Graydon, whale

More importantly, or maybe its just our computer, one result has Mr. Graydon front and centre on the Vancouver Sun but there's no story attached.

Michael Graydon, the former president and CEO of BCLC, is now the CEO of PV Hospitality. Vancouver Sun, December 18, 2014

Michael Graydon Bio from NewsWire: PV Hospitality and the newly formed partnership between affiliates of Paragon Gaming, Inc. ("Paragon") and 360 VOX Corporation ("360 VOX"), today announced the establishment of this new entity and the appointment of Michael Graydon as President, effective February 11, 2014.

John's Aghast said...

Thank you Ross for all the effort you're putting into this despicable, corrupt arrangement. Hopefully some person/agency/whatever will follow through and act on this egregious behavior!

North Van's Grumps said...

Black Press Tom Fletcher April 11, 2016

The B.C. government is establishing a 22-member police group dedicated to taking organized crime activity out of B.C. casinos.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong and Public Safety Minister Mike Morris announced the new team in Vancouver Monday. De Jong said the province is making a five-year commitment that will also include dedicated inspectors from the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch and have a budget of $4.3 million a year.

Anonymous said...

Lew said...

The document prepared for Mike de Jong apparently says, “...the Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET) investigated crimes surrounding ‘common gaming’ houses, animal fighting, and bookmaking. The unit was not tasked with investigating money laundering in B.C.’s licensed casinos.”

That’s damn strange since the team itself reported that it was tasked with money laundering in this 2005 report.

As does page 28 in this 2008 Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch report signed off and presented to the Legislature by Rich Coleman.

Are the BC Liberals getting ready to assert the unit couldn’t have been canned because of any ulterior motives related to money laundering because it wasn’t tasked with that activity in the first place? If so they’d better try another tack.

Coleman says in the video that IIGET was disbanded because it “wasn’t working”. In order to determine that, he would need to know there was a specific problem that wasn’t being adequately addressed by the unit, the extent of that problem, and know with assurance there was no way the unit could be brought up to snuff and it had to be abandoned. He apparently received the first two pieces in writing from those in the best position to have the information; the unit itself. It’s how his decision was informed subsequently that is troubling. It was (by his own admission) verbally transmitted by unnamed individuals. I wonder why he didn’t include a bullet point to that effect on page 22 or 23 of his 2009/10 service plan?

I also wonder how far he’d get if he tried presenting his service plans and reports to the Legislature verbally because he “doesn’t deal in paper”?

RossK said...



And my kicker at the end of that 2016 post of mine that you cite was that it was already abundantly clear, including to the Horsemen, that things were careening out of control way back in 2010, and earlier, when the good Mr. Coleman told Mr. Holman that he was setting up something way better than IGET at the time.

In the meantime....

Six years, schools of whales, hockey bags filled with dusted cash, and a hugely inflated RE bubble later there was an election on the horizon that need deflector spike spin protection in 2016, just in case, so...

Well, you know.


Anonymous said...

Current events at the time
BCRailgate,Basi/Virk still ongoing so
If anything was too close,to politically hot,so Coleman shut it down or merge to avoid even more scrutiny?
win win anything to win?

Anonymous said...

Trailblazer said...

Lots of dirt still out there.


RossK said...

Anons-Above and TBlazer--

Good point Re: Railgate still blazin' and an electoral gap narrowing before they made the unholy green alliance with the gullible...

But, in much more real politik terms, there was also the need to clear the decks for that big Casino comin' downtown backed by the fine folks from Vegas and, ultimately, two, count 'em two!, former GordCo-appointed chairs of the BCLC doing much of the spade and/or 'deal breaker' heavy lifting.

And, those who have really been paying attention will recall what went down during Smilin' Sammy's reign o'er the CoV to get the ball rolling on that specific casino on a very specific chunk of North False Creek real estate....

More on that later (unless NVG beats me to it by plugging key words into the archival search box first).


Anonymous said...

And 2010 winter BC Olympics!

e.a.f. said...

Excellent post and comments. It leaves me breathless to think this was all going on in our province. The financial pressures were most likely attached to the Os in 2010 and all the money the B.C. Lieberals were shovelling off the back of the royalty/give away truck to the resources corporations. the province could well have been going broke at the time but who would have known.

It is interesting that PostMedia didn't publish much of anything while this was all going on. its great that Sam Cooper is doing the work now, but hell were was Palmer back in 2010 except perhaps with his nose up ...some one's arse.

It truly is enough to make one weep how our province has been corrupted by the B.C. Lieberals. And to think Trudeau appointed el gordo to an environmental advisory board for free trade. They ought to fire him. Still after all these years at the public trough.

North Van's Grumps said...

Vancouver Observer

.... Up until this point, this land was not considered for development, but then the province decided that they wanted to develop the area, Councillor Geoff Meggs told VO in an interview. Gordon Campbell's former deputy [Ken Dobell] was hired by the city and the province to study cultural infrastructure, said Meggs.

"The city responded with this hurry up plan and out of it came recommendations that went to council at the end of 2008---approval in a general way how all of these places would be developed." Paragon received the right to build a casino at that time and the city waived public levies usually required of developers, levies which direct up to 20% of the overall cost of the project to be dedicated to city park services. But in this case, councillors decided that the resurrection of the roof at B.C. Place, which was also part of the deal, sufficed in place of the levy, as a service to the city.

News of the casino expansion project on prime city real estate broke last March. At the time, some expressed outrage at the change in policy by a Liberal government that had promised not to expand gambling in B.C., noting that gambling fed addictive behaviours which were not in the public interest. The sudden turnaround in the province's policy towards gambling stunned some and baffled some. Frances Bula blogged about it soon after the news came out, stating what seemed to be on the minds of many:

Isn’t it kind of strange that Vancouver would have a big casino downtown? That’s usually something that you see in loser, rust-belt cities that can’t figure out what else to do with their depopulated downtowns.

Then she appealed to other reporters to look into the issue more deeply, a rare call from one reporter to others.

...I appeal to people with more time on their hands to do research than I currently have. Is there another healthy Vancouver-like city that has a big-butt casino in the middle of its downtown?

North Van's Grumps said...

Frances Bula writings on Gambling in Vancouver.... with search results entitled:

Retractable roof was a must-have for Paragon

Approval for direct wire transfers to casinos one key to luring international gamblers

RossK said...



And don't forget Mr. Dobell's proteges, one of whom went on to be city of Vancouver manager. As for the other?


Hydro and Site C and all of that.



The thing to recall is that Sean Holman had all of this nailed down back in the day. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the document he brought up with Mr. Coleman back in 2010 in that video is pretty much the same one that Mr. Cooper found by FOI that was mentioned in his piece yesterday.

The point being....This was actively ignored by the local proMedia club and almost all of its members.


Anonymous said...

Normally the Vancouver Sun’s reporters would be busy attacking the NDP. So what is this big story about money laundering really distracting us from - a shake down of Great Canadian Casinos by Paragon?

Lew said...

The answer given by Rich Coleman to the question of why IIGET shut was down is that it wasn’t working. Documents unearthed by Sean Holman and Sam Cooper (maybe the same documents) say it was funding shortfall. Both explanations are very suspect, and we are left to wonder whether Mr. Coleman was being duplicitous or simply incompetent, given that the problem he purported to solve actually worsened. Our wondering was perpetuated by related questions like this:

Having shut down IIGET, it seems obvious that those responsible for establishing and overseeing the replacement unit would be especially vigilant about monitoring results given the severe warnings at hand about the extent of the problem. Yet the two ministers responsible, Rich Coleman and Michael de Jong, continued to submit reports to the Legislature which gave no indication of the worsening situation.

Mr. de Jong’s first report said this:

“I am pleased to submit to the British Columbia Legislature the 2012/13 Annual Report for the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) of the Ministry of Finance. The information in this report reflects the activities of the Branch between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013. During the period covered by this report, the branch was a part of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas.”

So Mr. Coleman retained responsibility for oversight of casino money laundering for four years after disbanding IIGET. The increased vigilance fell to him. What did that look like?

I’m reminded of a Richard Dawkins quote: “I am much more wedded to the general idea that the question should be properly put than I am to any particular answer.”

We have to keep asking questions. Sooner or later we’ll hit on the one properly put that will break this open.