What would be the worst possible time to go to China to ink business contracts? When you’re facing criminal investigation for fraud.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is spending this week in China, visiting the Shanghai World Fair — Sept. 10th is Vancouver Day at the fair — and four other cities, talking to business people about the benefits of signing contracts with Vancouver businesses. He is not talking about the fact that there are two outstanding criminal complaints against him and members of his management staff.

Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu was asked this year to arrange for an external police force to investigate Robertson; City Manager Penny Ballem; Director of the City’s Carnegie Community Centre, Ethel Whitty; and Coordinator of Security at the City’s Carnegie Centre, Skip Everall, for fraud.  All are accused of maintaining a City “security” database in which fraudulent entries are made to portray political critics as “security” threats.  The purpose of a “security” report is generally to justify banning a targeted critic from City services, including Vancouver Public Library and computer services at Carnegie Centre.  These reports are made widely available to City staff.

Efforts were made to have Robertson and Ballem put an end to such abuses before police were contacted, but at a meeting at Vancouver City Hall in January 2010, Ballem refusedly to expunge allegedly fraudulent “security” entries from the records of targeted individuals.  Early in the meeting, Ballem promised to seek input from former Carnegie Board member Rachel Davis who had spoken out about the undemocratic banning policy at Carnegie, but when told what day would be best for reaching Davis at Carnegie, Ballem abruptly shook her head, according to a witness, and admitted she had no intention of speaking to Davis. 

The second police complaint was lodged in response to alleged witness harassment at Carnegie Centre which occurred after the first police complaint was lodged against Robertson and his colleagues. The witness found herself banned from all Carnegie services under what she claims were fraudulent premises. Two security guards, one allegedly being the freshly hired son of Robertson’s co-accused, Everall, banned her. One of the guards told her that the fact that she had complained previously could be considered, “the problem.”  He initially denied knowing who Penny Ballem was, according to her written statement submitted to police, but he later allegedly stated that he had the full support of Robertson and Ballem who both wanted her out of the building.

As is typical in the production of “security” reports, the woman’s request for a copy on the day she was banned was denied, although such reports are immediately made widely available to City staff.  When she then requested a copy under the Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act, the City stalled for almost two months, passing the deadline for processing requests imposed by the legislation.   

After the second police complaint was lodged, Robertson immediately held an off-the-radar meeting with staff at Carnegie Centre. This has led to accusations of witness-tampering against the Mayor who is also Chair of the Vancouver Police Board. (His office was told that this meeting would be mentioned in this article, and he was given an opportunity to correct any inaccuries on the part of our sources. He made no corrections.)

Robertson has also been accused of continuing the “security” fraud and harassment of William Simpson, a critic of City management who managed to get himself elected to the Board of Directors at Carnegie, only to be notified in writing by the City that he was banned “indefinitely” from the building.  When he was delivered notification of the ban by Whitty, Simpson asked if he could at least enter to attend Board meetings. “No”, was Whitty’s answer.  In the letter written on City letterhead, Simpson was notified that he was banned for blogging, although he is not a blogger. Later Whitty appeared on CBC Radio and changed the City’s story, stating that Simpson was banned for posing a safety risk.  Simpson has never been informed of a safety basis for the ban.  Although Robertson wasn’t an instigator of the ban of this duly elected official from a City building — he was not yet Mayor — he has upheld the ban and done nothing to enable Simpson to clear his name.

Fabricated evidence appears to be well within Robertson’s comfort zone. This year, in his capacity as Chief of the Vancouver Police Board, Robertson voted to promote police officer Warren Lemcke to Deputy Chief, despite the fact that documented evidence exists to support allegations that Lemcke supervised the fabrication of evidence and the illegal accessing of a woman’s medical records for political ends, destroyed evidence, and acted in a conflict of interest position by canceling an investigation into himself for the above and other alleged misconduct. 

After Lemcke was promoted, the VPD announced in an insert in the Vancouver Sun newspaper that a Chief Constable’s Commendation had been given to Constable Lee Patterson.  There exists a paper trail of evidence supporting allegations that Patterson stacked a police report with fabricated and/or seriously misleading evidence about a female in a political case. 

Another VPD officer, Keith Dormond, despite the existance of voice mail tapes implicating him in extortion and supporting an allegation that he had peeped through the apartment window of woman after she told him she did not wish to speak to him, was given a trip to a conference in the Netherlands to present himself as the VPD’s foremost expert on “harassment”. While ducking documented evidence of wrongdoing against these officers, Chu got Robertson’s approval to hire a media person to aid the VPD in crafting a better image.

Although Mayor Robertson is already in China, City Councilor Raymond Louie is following him there tomorrow.  When Robertson gets “tired”, Louie will act as a stand-in for him at meetings. Louie has been accused in the past of leaking confidential material from a meeting at City Hall to the media. A criminal investigation was launched and when the media identified Louie as a suspect, he expressed outrage at this damage to his reputation and announced that he was suing, but later dropped the suit.  

Louie has never expressed outrage about damage to the reputations of his constituents whose names appear on “security” reports in the City security database, or about the City’s policy of absolutely no deletions of inaccurate entries in such reports.  Louis has avoided comment on this and related issues.  Louie did not respond when asked in writing twice last week whether sources where accurate in reporting that when police were asked to investigate Carnegie Security Coordinator Skip Everall for alleged fraud, his son was promptly hired as a City security guard, soon participating in the banning of a witness from the building. 

Like Louie, Mayor Robertson repeatedly evaded requests for comment on these issues before he left for China.  One can only assume that if he were talking, Robertson would take the same position as another politician who made the trip to China:  I am not a crook.

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