Execs Pay Liberals

The president and CEO of Concert Properties, David Podmore, has told the Straight that he and company chairman Jack Poole will personally pay most of the company's political donations to the B.C. Liberal party in 2003.

Two weeks ago, the Straight reported that Concert Properties contributed $16,665 to the B.C. Liberals in 2003. Poole, chairman of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Games, is a long-time friend of Premier Gordon Campbell.

Concert Properties is a Vancouver-based developer owned by various pension funds; 12 of the company's 17 directors, including Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti, are or have been full-time employees of the trade-union movement.

On May 19, Podmore told the Straight he and Poole won't repay company costs for attending political fundraising dinners hosted by the prime minister, premier, or mayors because it's Concert Properties' policy to attend these events regardless of the politician's party affiliation.

"But the extraordinary expenses that we incurred as a result of our involvement in 2010, we just think it would be appropriate to pay those personally," Podmore said.

He estimated that these costs--which sometimes involved attending fundraising dinners with cabinet ministers and which were recorded as company donations to the B.C. Liberal party--would amount to $10,000 or $11,000.

On May 18, two public-sector union locals--the British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union Local 503 and the Hospital Employees' Union Children's and Women's Local--each presented resolutions to the Vancouver and District Labour Council concerning this issue.

Both motions were tabled until the next meeting in June.

BCGEU Local 503's resolution calls upon the VDLC to immediately write to Concert Properties directors to demand they stop contributions to "labour-unfriendly groups and/or organizations".

The HEU local's resolution calls upon the VDLC to write to Concert Properties' trade-union directors to request a full set of the minutes of meetings of the board of directors.