AG MANAGEMENT LETTER RELEASED: King Cover-up of E-gaming Crimes and Corruption Sadly Continues

premier dennis king

PREAMBLE

In my last blog article, I gave a brief update on my ongoing efforts to obtain a copy of the  infamous E-gaming Management Letter that Jane McAdam, PEI’s soon-retiring Auditor General, provided to the MacLauchlan Government on October 4, 2016 – the same day she made her Special Assignment: Government Involvement with E-gaming Initiative and Financial Services Platform public with a letter addressed to Premier MacLauchlan and members of the Legislative Assembly saying:

“I have the honour of presenting my report entitled “Special Assignment: Government Involvement with E-gaming Initiative and Financial Services Platform.

The PC Official Opposition tried extremely hard to convince Premier MacLauchlan to make the AG’s Management Letter public: they accused the Liberal Government of shamelessly covering up and protecting Billy Dow by refusing to do so.

Premier MacLauchlan acknowledged that his Government had indeed received a Management Letter from the AG – but never actually indicated that it was addressed to him.  He also confirmed that he had not contacted the PEI Law Society about the matter, promising to bring Government’s response to the Auditor General back to the Legislative Assembly when it was prepared and sent to her. That never happened.

No Government response to the AG’s Management Letter was ever presented to the Legislative Assembly nor made public, nor was the Letter itself ever tabled in the House or made public.

(a) My FOIPP Request for the Management Letter

My efforts to get that Management Letter began in earnest after I realized that the Auditor General knew what I had discovered in the course of my investigation into how the E-gaming money was acquired and distributed into McInnes Cooper’s bank account by Billy Dow. After all, the information came from a document her staff had produced from an interview her office conducted.

billdow
Billy Dow

I discovered that Billy Dow had violated the terms and conditions of the $950,000 e-gaming loan by RELEASING those funds to McInnes Cooper AFTER the Government had already pulled the plug on the secret E-gaming Working Group initiative driven by Wes Sheridan to “regulate” online gaming, shifting its focus to establishing the financial transaction platform with FMT, and attracting gaming companies and financial service companies to locate in PEI because of that platform.

The document was a transcript of an interview undertaken between McInnes Cooper lawyer Kevin Kiley and staff in the AG’s office. Kiley confirmed in his answers that Billy Dow’s law firm had been retained to work on the e-gaming file in February, 2010, and also that Dow attended secret E-Gaming Working Group meetings.

When I submitted that FOIPP request to the Premier’s Office, Premier King’s Deputy, Paul Ledwell –  who was also MacLauchlan’s Deputy  – was unable to locate the Management Letter despite an “extensive” search in three Government Departments: the Premier’s Office, Attorney General’s Office, and the Department of Justice.

The Information Commissioner is currently reviewing a complaint I submitted concerning Ledwell’s response to my request for those government records, which is ongoing, but that’s pretty much irrelevant now.

Neil Stewart
Neil Stewart

Another FOIPP application was submitted to Hon. Matthew MacKay’s Department of Economic Growth –  once it was learned that the Management Letter was never addressed to the Premier, but the “fixer” – Neil Stewart – who Ghiz had promoted from CEO of Innovation PEI (where all the dirty deeds were executed, most with Neil Stewart’s knowledge and/or participation, especially relating to money) to Deputy Minister of the same Department, with the authority and the responsibility to effectively “investigate” his own actions and respond how he deemed appropriate. No oversight. No reports. Just his final decisions on the matter. 

The “fixer” – that powerful individual upon whom both “protections” and “promotions” have been bestowed by successive Governments, both Liberal and Conservative, in  exchange for the following services:  (1) secretly “effecting the core money-related issues” at the heart of the scandal, then, after being awarded with a “promotion,” and being protected from having to do things like, say, testifying at Public Accounts Committees when Opposition Members put forward Motions to have the person appear, so to be then left free to “clean” things up, best as possible by (2) covering up what happened, protecting others who were involved, keeping secrets, destroying Government records, and generally doing what cleaners do to fix messy situations mob-type private clubs, secret societies, or organized crime outfits create when they employ their nefarious tactics to rob innocent taxpayers with their insider knowledge, access to political power, and corrupt, self-serving, but always lucrative schemes.

I will be providing substantial documentary evidence in a subsequent article showing that this same pattern existed with all the three major money scandals happening in PEI over the past 20 years – and in each instance (Polar Foods; PNP and E-Gaming) the “cleaner” – the person elevated to a higher government position to clean up (and cover-up) the mess that same person helped to create at an operational level of the scandal, in an earlier phase of its execution, in service to a secretly-operating “insider club” – was Neil Stewart.

Take the time to watch the following exchange between PC MLA Steven Myers and Premier MacLauchlan.  Look for the following in particular:

  1. MacLauchlan confirmed that Government had received a Management Letter from the AG and was preparing a response which would be shared with the House. No Response was ever provided to the Legislative Assembly.
  2. MacLauchlan confirmed that he had not reported what the AG provided to Government to the PEI Law Society – despite the AG’s serious concerns and MacLauchlan being (a) a lawyer, (b) the Attorney General, and (c) Premier.
  3. Myers – and the entire PC Caucus – were adamant that the MacLauchlan Government were engaged in a cover up and demanded that Government release all the information about the AG’s finding on Billy Dow to the Public.

I’ll get to what was in the Management Letter the Auditor General sent to Neil Stewart in a minute. To fully appreciate the significance of that Letter it’s first necessary to restate a few facts to “retell” the story with new evidence and fresh eyes to see things more clearly in the proper context.

1.  A Recap of this “Auditor General’s Management Letter” Story

I have already published several articles reporting on my efforts to get a copy of the Management Letter and accompanying documents.  The key insights from that previous research can be boiled down to what’s in this article. In particular, as much as possible, I want to provide a synopsis of those different findings, but strung together in a new way that sheds more light, and brings this aspect of my investigation to a conclusion.

(a) It’s Not the AG’s Responsibility to Declare Criminality or Contact Police

As a former RCMP Officer, Liberal MLA Allen Roach, the Minister of Finance at the time who was the person usually responding to questions about the Auditor General’s Report in the House, surely must have understood the nature of  “Management Letters”.  He repeatedly claimed that the AG found “nothing of a criminal nature.” The Auditor General did nothing of the sort!

When pressed by PC Opposition members on the Public Accounts Committee the AG was clear about her very serious concerns about Billy Dow’s conflict of interest situation. She was adamant that she had indeed presented those concerns to Government in accordance with her formal duties as Auditor. At the November 10, 2016 Meeting, she clarified exactly what her role was and what she did on the Billy Dow issue:

Jane MacAdam: Right. We don’t conclude on the performance or the practices of third parties, but it’s up to government to determine if it needs to do anything further. We were advised by government that they did not meet to discuss the impact on government or whether any further action should be taken. We did send government a management letter and we indicated to government that through the course of our work we observed that the lawyer for Innovation PEI was an investor. That’s an issue for government to deal with.
We saw definitely that it was an important issue and we took action and communicated with government.

What exactly is an Auditor’s Management Letter?

A Management Letter is a very formal and official “final” step in the Audit process. It’s a way for auditors to protect themselves from liability for not reporting potentially “illegal” or serious administrative problems and flaws (which are not, for confidentiality reasons, usually noted or spelled out in detail in the audit statements).

Auditors provide Management Letters as part of their contractual obligation to clients, yes, but especially to protect themselves. As one Insurance company providing liability insurance to Chartered Accountants and Auditors put it in their sales pitch:

“An accountant’s liability describes the legal liability assumed while an accountant performs their professional duties. They become liable for a client’s accounting misstatements and mistakes, putting the accountant in a bad spot legally and professionally. This risk can bring claims of negligence and fraud forward. An accountant who is negligible in their examination of a company can end up facing legal charges.”

(b) DOW’s False Defense and the PEI Law Society’s Cover-up

When the MacLauchlan Government refused to report back to the Legislative Assembly on Billy Dow’s conflict of interest identified by the Auditor General, or report to the PEI Law Society, the former Leader of the PEI New Democratic Party, Michael Redmond, stepped up and filed a complaint with the PEI Law Society.

The only defense that Billy Dow could possibly provide was to claim that he had no knowledge that FMT was a 100%-owned subsidiary of CMT in July, 2012 when he was first involved with the MOU that Innovation PEI signed with FMT, and that’s exactly what he claimed.

The PEI Law Society accepted Dow’s claim that he did not know about FMT’s connection with CMT. In its ruling, the Law Society did note, however, that it would have been a conflict of interest for him to have been involved in the MOU if he had known:

“In the circumstances of the situation, if Dow had agreed to represent Innovation PEI when he knew it was negotiating an MOU with a company in whom Dow had invested, then he would clearly be in a conflict of interest This is because his loyalty to his client – Innovation PEI – would be compromised due to his investment in CMT.”

Unfortunately, without any documents or other evidence to challenge Dow’s false claim about not knowing about Trinity Bay/FMT’s corporate connection to CMT, and no willingness by the MacLauchlan Government to bring the issue up again, well, the whole issue went dormant.

(c) Dow was Representing the PEI Government BEFORE the MOU

When I came across the transcript of the interview the AG’s office had with McInnes Cooper lawyer Kevin Kiley, it became clear to me that the AG knew that Billy Dow had been representing the PEI Government on the egaming file since February, 2010. Given that fact, it is simply not possible that he would not have known all about CMT.

I figured that is likely the information in the Management Letter and/or supporting documentation provided with the Management Letter… that Billy Dow knew about FMT’s connection to CMT long before he said he did. If there was nothing to hide in the Management Letter, why is the King Government keeping it secret?

I believed the AG knew more about Billy Dow’s conflict of interest story than we learned about in her report, and she provided that additional information to government – to Neil Stewart  – and he did what fixers and cleaners do….he cleaned the file, deleted records, and made the problem go away…for a while.

If not for CMT’s lawsuit, this would never have come into the light of day or ever even been mentioned again. To be clear – I don’t know what the Ag provided Neil Stewart as a follow-up to his response for more information – the King Government won’t let Islanders see it.

Until these documents are produced, we’re only guessing at what’s in them. What we don’t need to guess about any longer however, is whether the Premier is truly engaged in a continued cover-up with this refusal to release this information – he is.

We expected better, we were promised more, and we have every right to be extremely disappointed in what we are now getting – the blatant support of crimes and corruption by our newly-elected PC Government….now that we’re locked down with COVID-19 we can’t even gather at the Legislative Assembly to protest; and we’re not hearing a peep from the Leader of the Official Opposition. Truly scandalous.

(d) Dow’s Intimate Knowledge of FMT and CMT

New FOIPP documents provide additional evidence that Bill Dow had intimate knowledge of pretty much everything related to FMT’s entire relationship with the PEI Government since the late summer and fall of 2010.

Dow was the lawyer for the PEI Government at all material times with egaming. Wes Sheridan’s plan announced to Neil Stewart in the Spring of 2011 to “marry” egaming with FMT’s “financial transaction platform” project is something Dow would have been well briefed on, given his close working relationship with both individuals (Sheridan and Stewart) and participation on the secret E-gaming Working Group.

And thanks to recent FOIPP documents that Jonathan Coady hid from CMT’s legal Counsel and Judge Campbell, we also now know about the mass cover-up of knowledge about the “Virgin Gaming” and “FMT” projects at Innovation PEI by mulitiple Defendants and individuals.  Both of those projects were operating under Brad Mix in early 2011 with “project team” members Paul Jenkins, Brad Mix and Chris LeClair, Premier Ghiz’s Chief-of-Staff. It’s simply not reasonable to believe that Bill Dow was ignorant about CMT’s relationship with FMT.

Billy Dow attended the Crow Bush event – opening the Government-owned golf course a day early and booking the entire course and clubhouse to entertain FMT and Simplex folks from the UK and invoices showed over $8,000 in dinners and wine. How could this not be a red flag for Dow?  Dow’s name is on documentation to attend numerous secret E-gaming Working Group meetings with Wes Sheridan, Kevin Kiley, Gary Scales, Mike O’Brien and Don MacKenzie.

Dow’s Cross-examination confirms that he golfed with Shane MacEachern at this event – the broker and good friend of the only Director of FMT at the time, Paul Jenkins, who was also on the FMT Project team.

In fact, Dow invested in CMT at this same time (June, 2010) when the topic of conversation had already long-since shifted from CMT (the parent company) to “FMT” the local 100%-owned subsidiary. No one was talking about “CMT” at Crowbush – the project on file with Brad Mix (Senior Recruiter at Innovation PEI at the time), also the company named in the Feasibility Study and Recruitment Package,  as well as the company mentioned in the briefing prepared for Premier Ghiz during the time of the Crowbush Gala was Financial Markets Technologies (FMT). The very notion that BIll Dow didn’t  know about CMT’s connection to FMT/Trinity Bay is absolutely ludicrous.

Assume for a moment that Billy Dow was on a two-year sojourn in another country and arrived back in PEI completely ignorant about CMT and FMT…even then, the most basic “conflict of interest” check  (which all lawyers are required to undertake before making investments in companies) would have immediately revealed that FMT was 100%-owned by CMT.

But Dow was not sojourning in another country for two years…he was at Crowbush and likely consulting with Chris LeClair and Paul Jenkins about what should be in the Financial Transaction Platform briefing documents being prepared for Premier Ghiz regarding FMT’s delivery of Simplex’s Global Transaction Platform in PEI.

(e) No Answers at the Law Society – Just More Cover-up!

If you are interested in knowing more about Billy Dow’s entire involvement in egaming, you can read the articles that published then forwarded to the PEI Law Society as further supporting documents, as Appendix “A” – previously published as “A Conspiracy to Commit Fraud – Preamble to Part 2: The E-gaming Loan” ; and Appendix “B” previously published as “A Conspiracy to Commit Fraud -Part 2: The E-gaming Loan.”

An entire section of my cover letter was an attempt to ensure that there was no possible way my complaint could have been mistaken as the same complaint from Redmond. Here are two quotes – one from my Complaint Letter to the PEI Law Society Against Billy Dow asking that my complaint not be confused with Redmond’s previous complaint; and (2) one from Susan Robinson at the PEI Law Society confusing my complaint with Redmond’s complaint.

Previous Complaint Against Billy Dow

I am aware that a previous complaint alleging that Mr. Dow had a conflict of interest with his involvement in the e-gaming file was previously filed with the PEI Law Society by the former Leader of the PEI New Democratic Party (Michael Redmond), and resulted in a disciplinary committee ruling that Mr. Dow was not in a conflict of interest.

Redmond’s complaint related specifically to Mr. Dow’s involvement in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the late summer/fall of 2012 between the PEI government and Trinity Bay Technologies (TBT) [a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capital Markets Technologies (CMT)]. This issue was not the basis of my complaint.

New documents have recently come to light, as a result of filings with the PEI Supreme Court, revealing that Mr. Dow’s involvement in the e-gaming file did not begin with his involvement with the MOU in 2012, but that he was retained by the PEI government to act as outside counsel on the entire e-gaming project much earlier, in February, 2010. Mr. Dow continued to act in that capacity up to and beyond the date the PEI government ended the e-gaming project on February 24, 2012.”

Robinson’s Decision Letter dismissing my two-fold complaint summed up the outcome of her review as follows:In summaryNegligence claim?  Not likely!  For action to be taken on that, I think, Billy Dow’s employer would have to take action against his negligent behaviour resulting in his willfully giving away (unnecessarily) nearly $1 million of taxpayer’s money to McInnes Cooper law firm IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS IN THE LOAN AGREEMENT while at the same time as being paid on retainer by the PEI Government to represent the legal and public interest of PEI taxpayers – totally scandalous!

(f) In Search of the Management Letter

With the PEI Law Society now also fully engaged in the cover-up of Billy Dow’s insider trading and professional misconduct as a lawyer – refusing to even reference the new evidence I provided in the decision letter, I knew that the only possible way to get to the bottom of how Billy Dow was protected through a cover-up would be to get the Management Letter, and whatever other back-and-forth documents might exist. What was the evidence that the PEI Law Society totally ignored?

According to Kevin Kiley, as relayed to staff  at the Auditor General’s office in the course of an interview held May 18, 2017, Billy Dow was retained and was acting for the government on the e-gaming file from the very first meeting establishing McInnes Cooper as the e-gaming project manager back in February, 2010,  as is clearly indicated in paragraph 5 in the AG’s Interview Transcript:

“Mr. Kiley indicated that he was advised government lawyer was Bill Dow as well as Barb Stevenson until about Fall of 2010. They met with the working group from time to time.”

There seems to be an error in the transcription because it was February, 2010 when Carr, Stevenson were FIRST RETAINED on the e-gaming file, which continued throughout, with Dow never ending his legal relationship with the PEI Government on the egaming project.

Kiley confirms this in his “final comments” section of that same Transcription document, namely, that Dow had been specifically enlisted by the province to provide the PEI government with legal counsel on the e-gaming project:

“Government subsequently confirmed with us, on or about March 10, 2010, that they had retained the law firm of Carr, Stevenson and MacKay to represent it in the [e-gaming] initiative.”

This fact was further confirmed in Gary Scale’s Statement of Defence filed with the PEI Supreme Court where it states:

“Scales was advised by PEI on or about March 2010 that PEI had retained its own external counsel, Carr, Stevenson & McKay (“CSM”), to represent PEI in dealings with respect to the e-gaming initiative. CSM attended and prepared legal documents for PEI.” (p.1)

So now that you see how my attempt to expose Dow’s false claim about not knowing there was a connection between CMT and FMT was covered up by the PEI Law Society, is it possible – now that the Auditor General’s E-gaming Management Letter has been released – to conclude that the AG’s efforts to have this dealt with were also frustrated and covered-up? Not exactly.

There are no words to explain what the Auditor General put in her Management Letter – literally – as you’ll see, because Premier King has chosen to make that information “privileged” as he continues to throw his lot in with the Insider Club, Stewart McKelvey law firm, and all the scoundrels like Billy Dow which Capital Markets Technology has been trying to convince the Court should be held to account.

Given the sheer magnitude of the cover-up that has already been exposed since Judge Campbell’s rushed decision last October, it’s hard to believe that there can be any other outcome at the Appeal coming up in about a week (May 19th & 20th) then for the Appeal Court Judges to allow this case to go to trial. How Jonathan Coady is going to explain himself at that Appeal Hearing is beyond me!

2.   The Auditor General’s E-gaming Management Letter

Neil Stewart received the following “Management Letter” from the Auditor General:

Letter from Ag to Neil Stewart, October 4, 2016

Short and sweet…as Management Letters tend to be.  But highly precise, and incredibly significant nonetheless.

Read carefully her “conclusion” from her work on Government’s involvement on the E-gaming Initiative and Financial Services Platform. She says “.. we noted that Innovation PEI’s legal counsel, Bill Dow, provided legal advice to Innovation PEI on entering into an MOU with 7645686 Canada Inc. (Trinity Bay Technologies.)  At the time, he had an investment in Capital Markets Technologies, the parent company of Trinity Bay Technologies.

We are bringing this information to your attention.  It is important for management to consider the facts in this situation and the implications for the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism.

What exactly were the “facts in this situation”?

What did the Auditor General believe would be “the implications for the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism”?

We don’t know.

What I do know is that Neil Stewart already had intimate knowledge of Bill Dow’s involvement as legal counsel for the PEI Government in the e-gaming affair since February 2010, but was staying mum about that.  Stewart had worked closely with Dow on the money side of the entire file, especially the $950,000 e-gaming loan.

Stewart easily knew more about Dow’s knowledge of the file and FMT than the Auditor General was likely ever discover from documents she was provided or interviews. It seems to me that Stewart – as the cleaner – was anxious to know exactly how much the Auditor General knew about those “facts” and “implications” ….whatever they might be.

Steven Myers had indicated in the preamble to one of his questions to Premier MacLauchlan that the Auditor General had taken the unprecedented action of contacting Government about Billy Dow during the course of her investigation, obviously believing it was too serious to wait for her management letter. I don’t know who the Auditor General went to at that time, but I’m thinking it wasn’t Neil Stewart, or he would have already known what she knew and didn’t know concerning details.  It seems from the letter Stewart subsequently wrote to the AG asking her to provide those details, that whomever she spoke to previously, it wasn’t Neil Stewart: 

Neil Stewart October 21, 2016 Letter to AG

Despite all the public denials by Billy Dow himself, including in the Globe and Mail, [which Neil Stewart curiously cites in his letter to the AG], the AG nonetheless still believed it necessary to highlight the importance of Government responding to this situation. And she did exactly that in that Management Letter.

And that’s unfortunately where my investigation ends.

Because Premier King’s Government has apparently decided Islanders “can’t handle the truth,” he’s decided to withhold entirely the remaining 8 pages of responsive records to this FOIPP Request!

Pages withheld

 

Are these 8 blank pages the AG’s detailed response to Neil Stewart on the “facts” and “implications” regarding Billy Dow?  Who knows? Oh yeah…Premier King and (now) Steven Myers and the rest of Cabinet apparently know.

Peter Bevan-Baker apparently has no intention of making the same play the PC Opposition made against the Liberals, and has yet to even mention egaming, or the ongoing cover-up of the scandal, or the King Government’s contempt of Supreme Court-enforced Orders for the release of Government egaming records, and of course, his now-forgotten call to have Neil Stewart removed from Government for illegally signing $950,000 of our tax dollars away without authorization and legitimate approval.

(a) Dow’s “Formal” Involvement with FMT

Billy Dow was involved with the MOU for many weeks PRIOR to his sudden “realization” that FMT was wholly-owned by CMT.  It is not possible that he would have sat around the table with the only director of FMT (Paul Jenkins) discussing the MOU and Transaction Platform project with FMT and not known FMT was essentially CMT.   In Melissa McEachern’s Affidavit in the CMT law suit she stated:

“On July 4, 2012, I received an email from legal counsel for Innovation PEI, Bill Dow.  The email attached a proposed MOU with Trinity Bay Technologies which had been received from legal counsel for TBT Gary Jessop.”

She then further states that on July 5, 2012 she sent an email to legal counsel for Innovation PEI [Bill Dow] saying, “I instructed counsel to proceed with the proposed MOU.”

The genesis of the MOU was Bill Dow and Robert Ghiz not wanting to see CMT take the Financial Transaction Platform to Nova Scotia or another province. Innovation PEI “housed” and took legal responsibility for the MOU, but had absolutely nothing to do with its coming into being…that was all Billy Dow….and his involvement continued, with Melissa MacEachern, and Paul Jenkins and FMT.

Melissa MacEachern stated in an email that “…our lawyer, Bill Dow myself and Cheryl Paynter met with TBT to discuss next steps,” adding that “…there is a working group of technical and business development folks established to create the business plan…” and that “Bill Dow and I will meet later this week with TBT to review the work plan.” 

Jonathan Coady NEVER produced that workplan to CMT’s legal counsel, John MacDonald or Judge Campbell.

It was Gary Evans (a fellow CMT investor with Billy Dow) who alerted Dow that CMT was looking seriously at establishing elsewhere, and had contracted Tracey Cutcliffe to assist with that exploration. Dow asked Evans to give him a day or two to talk with Premier Ghiz (and likely his buddy and other fellow investor, Chris LeClair).  And he did. Dow told Gary Evans to tell Gary Jessop to draft an MOU. And he did. Dow reviewed, made no changes, then took it to Innovation PEI for a signature. Cheryl Paynter signed it.

The idea that Innovation PEI retained Billy Dow to review the MOU is ridiculous and simply impossible, given the chronological sequence of events that unfolded at that time, yet that’s what Dow swore in his Affidavit:

I was retained as independent counsel to provide my client, Innovation PEI, with legal advice concerning the meaning and effect of the language of the MOU proposed by 764 Canada. My communications regarding the MOU were with representatives of my client (which communications remain subject to solicitor-client privilege) and with Gary Jessop (“Jessop”), the lawyer retained to act on behalf of 764 Canada.” [My Emphasis].

Elsewhere in his Affidavit, he uses careful wordsmithing to make it seem like the “drafting” of the MOU had been a process happening between Innovation PEI and Trinity Bay/FMT, which was completely misleading:

“At the time I was retained as counsel, the MOU had already been drafted between Innovation PEI and 764 Canada. I was not involved in drafting the MOU nor was I involved in the terms of the MOU.”

Yes he was. In deciding not to amend the draft prepared by Gary Jessop before bringing it to Innovation PEI – who had never heard a thing about the MOU  – he was most definitely “involved”.

We now know that Billy Dow got the go-ahead from Premier Ghiz to take the MOU to Innovation PEI for signature. They were worried about losing out on the opportunity to have the Simplex Global Financial platform establish in PEI, and at that point – before Wes Sheridan et. al., got rolling with the Laslop/Newco scheme – were apparently sincerely committed to going forward with FMT.  Dow had invested too much  in FMT (both work and money) to abandon that potential “cash cow”.  Besides, what could possibly go wrong from allowing a couple of legally-binding clauses in the MOU with Premier’s Ghiz’s endorsement and support?

Someone should have shared information about the legally-binding exclusivity and confidentiality clauses with Information PEI’s Board of Directors and staff.  Not doing so resulted in multiple breaches of the MOU.

It’s uncertain whether Wes Sheridan or other members of the secret egaming Working Group were initially aware of the MOU’s or the legally-binding clauses. That Working Group had just been told (February, 2012) to put the breaks on their original two schemes trying to set up regulated gaming, but they were still working on the file without “formal” involvement by Government in the summer of 2012, exactly when Dow brought the MOU to Innovation PEI. There’s still far too many questions needing answers to know exactly what happened; to get those answers, there needs to be a trial.

(b) Why isn’t the King Government Taking Action on Billy Dow?

I believe there is currently sufficient evidence on record to prove that Billy Dow lied about not knowing that the company he was working to get a MOU signed with Innovation PEI was essentially the same company he had invested in back in June, 2011.  Whether the AG put that in documentation accompanying her Management Letter to Government is unclear – it appears she did, and that the King Government is now withholding it in its entirety.  With new documents now filling in more blanks, like I said, I believe there is sufficient evidence to refute Dow’s claim that he was ignorant of the connection between FMT and CMT.

Neil Stewart cleaned up that mess for Premier MacLauchlan, who himself lied by not following up on his promise to provide the House with his Government’s follow-up with the AG.  Now the King Government is carrying on with the cover-up of corruption, which is shocking when you think about everything Dennis King said about giving PEI Islanders authentic government transparency!

I especially feel for all the good-quality, hardworking PC MLAs like Hon. Matthew Mackay who somehow got wrapped up in something outside of his knowledge and control, and now sadly finds himself taking advice and direction from the people he once railed against the Liberals for keeping on payroll:  Billy Dow, Neil Stewart and Brad Mix.

The Premier’s allegiance to Stewart McKelvey is likely to take some good people down with him, given the fact that time is fast-running out for “true colours” to be shown, and so far no PC MLA and/or Cabinet Minister has yet found the intestinal moral fortitude to stand up and say to their boss, “Enough already Denny! You’re killin us here!”

Proof that Dow was already in a conflict of interest  had already been found in that transcript from the AG’s office. That was enough to prompt me to submit my own complaint to the PEI Law Society. But despite my best efforts to draw attention to the NEW evidence proving Dow knew about FMT/Trinity Bay when he invested in CMT [and long before the MOU] that information was completely ignored by Susan Robinson handling my complaint at the PEI Law Society. It has also been completely ignored by the King Government. As has Dow’s negligence in unnecessarily – and I believe “illegally” – releasing public funds to McInnes Cooper law firm without the legal requirement to do so, and in fact, the legal obligation NOT to do so.

Summary

premier dennis kingPremier King may have been talking about COVID-19 when this picture was taken, but the expression on his face betrays that he was thinking about the egaming mess he’s in and how foolish he was to think that the truth wouldn’t eventually come to the surface as long as there was at least one person willing to carry it to finish line….turns out there are at least two such people.

Any hope that a lot of silence and inaction after the January Appeal Court filing would get the PEI Government past the upcoming PEI Supreme Court of Appeal on May 19 & 20, make Paul Maines and CMT disappear, and allow life to carry on for the new government without the annoying shackles of egaming, has long-since evaporated I’m afraid.

I knew the Premier was “all-in” with the cover-up  once Counsel for the PEI Government filed the Appeal Court Response: his withholding those 8 pages is simply further confirmation of his commitment to continue with the cover-up as long as it takes, denying Islanders access to the truth.

That’s why I’m hoping and praying the Appeal Court allows a trial – so the TRUTH can finally come out. It’s time to let the “chips fall where they may” which will likely mean indictment and criminal prosecutions. So be it. This kind of blind-eye response to embedded, organized corruption has to end…and I believe it’s now or never quite frankly.

I also believe the upcoming Appeal will be a “watershed moment” for our entire Island political, judicial and democratic system. If the Appeal Court doesn’t overturn Judge Campbell’s dismissal to allow a trial to proceed, you can be sure that Islanders will never know the full extent of the crimes and corruption associated with egaming and the cover-up of same.  And a horde of criminals (some still drawing 6-figure salaries from the public purse) will never be held accountable.

This is Premier King’s “moment of truth”. Will he come clean and immediately provide a full disclosure of those 8 pages which his PC Government Cabinet unanimously demanded MacLauchlan release?

Documents Premier King is now claiming are “privileged” without even specifying what the basis of that privilege is, which is supposed to be provided to the Applicant but wasn’t?  My understanding of Section 25 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) Act is that there are two basis for Government claiming privilege, Cabinet Confidence and Solicitor-Client privilege.

Neither the AG nor Neil Stewart are lawyers or members of Cabinet, so I can’t imagine how those 8 pages could be protected – that is, if they are in fact a response from the AG – since there is no information on those 8 pages identifying them whatsoever. I suspect the applicant will be filing a review with the Information Commissioner complaining about that refusal to identify the documents for which priviledge is being claimed. I know I would.

The real scandal isn’t that we don’t get access to the facts that may be in those 8 pages that confirm Dow likely committed “insider trading” and “perjury” – like I mentioned, I believe there is sufficient information on the record to prove that now if anyone in the King Government was interested in pursing the matter.  The real scandal is – I suspect – that the King Government is covering up THE FAILURE OF BOTH THE MACLAUCHLAN GOVERNMENT AND HIS OWN to take action on the information they had concerning that insider trading, conflict of interest, failure to disclose honestly in sworn statements, and contribution to the entire egaming coverup.

Those pages are likely the response from the Auditor General that Neil Stewart asked for in his November letter to her, but who knows what they are?

How long before Premier King steps up to the plate and stops the bleeding e-gaming is causing him and his fellow PC MLAs is anybody’s guess. I know it’s a growing  disappointment to a growing number of Islanders, and that number is likely to increase significantly in coming days as more of the facts concerning the King government’s continued coverup and silence comes out.

Most would conclude it’s now too late for the Premier to “do the right thing” (whatever that might look like now that he has blocked, cover-up and defended the crimes just like Ghiz and MacLauchlan Government’s before him).

Honestly, if you ask me, it’s pretty hard to come back from filing that legal response in the Court of Appeal that mirrored the very same lies and false narrative as King’s Liberal predecessors. Doing that turned his entire Government into a flip-flop farce on the issue. The very same issue that actually had a good deal to do with the PCs coming into power last election. What hypocrisy! What a betrayal!

Is Premier King willing to suffer the backlash I’m sure he will soon have coming his way from his Cabinet Ministers who are probably feeling at least some public humiliation from what their leader has subjected them to by continuing to expect their silence and collusion in this sordid cover-up? Especially Myers, Fox, Compton, MacEwan, Aylward, Trivers, and MacKay?

They’re looking like a bunch of hypocrites and phonies, but I honestly don’t believe that’s what any of them are, of course….once they got elected, then immediately got sucked into the egaming vortex. They probably don’t have much access to information about what’s going on “behind the scenes” and have been told to trust that it is being properly handled by the legal professionals. And finally, I also suspect they’ve been instructed that it is outside their mandate to offer public comment on the issue.

That may have been the case and all fine up until that legal Response was filed with the Appeal Court. That document so badly betrayed everything the entire PC Caucus previously said and believed about the egaming scandal and cover-up I’m sure it’s been hard for them to remain silent since…but the COVID-19 lock-down probably helped with that up until now.

So it doesn’t really matter anymore whether the PC MLAs had any formal part in bringing about this increasingly-explosive scandal.  Any hope that “time will heal all” should now be gone. Their continued silence will not save them.

What they will do hasn’t yet occurred to me. It will be interesting to witness when it happens. I can’t imagine that any of them are too happy that Premier King has hitched their career-wagon to Stewart McKelvey’s horse, now rapidly galloping towards “lemming hill” with Jonathan Coady desperately clinging to the reins!

 

2 Responses

  1. Question
    When a MLA leaves politics (no matter the color) do they sign a waiver never to release info on issues concerning islanders ie: land issues, water issues, PNP, e-gaming, Aqua bounty, etc.?
    Don’t we elect people to look after islanders best interests?
    I think of all the politicians who left or retired to become average Joe citizens. They were so interested in being elected so they could help. Do they no longer care about Islanders??

  2. Your investigations into political corruption have spotlighted the major difference between PEI and almost every other jurisdiction on the planet. There is no genuine political opposition to the ruling party, no matter which party is in power or which parties are in opposition. There appears to be an unwritten agreement among all PEI politicians that amounts to “I won’t squeal on you if you don’t squeal on me.”

    The most disturbing element of PEI politics is that the provincial government is nothing but a tool for powerful private interests who are driving the political agenda on their own terms and conditions. The election of the Greens as the official opposition was the last hope of those who were fed up with the Liberal/Conservative switcheroos which resulted in the same policies with different faces. Unfortunately, Peter Bevan-Baker is a phony opposition leader who is playing the same game by failing in the role that he was elected to perform.

    I might add that this incestuous partnership appears to be a common element on an island where everybody knows everybody else and keeps their mouth shut because that’s the way things work in a closed society.

    Forget about any checks and balances in PEI. The Law Society of PEI is there only to protect lawyers. The PEI Land Surveyor’s Association is there only to protect land surveyors. The government of PEI exists only to protect corrupt politicians.

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