North Vancouver researcher Vivian Krause has revealed how Mayor Gregor Robertson could potentially benefit from a real-estate purchase by the U.S.-based Tides Foundation.
In an article on her blog, Krause reported that the San Francisco charity bought a 153-acre property called Hanks Beach on Cortes Island in 2007.
The land was donated to the Strathcona Regional District this year under a program run by Environment Canada, Krause reported.
According to Krause's research, the beach is "immediately adjacent to an 82-acre ocean-front property owned by Treedom Ventures Ltd.".
Robertson lists Treedom Ventures Ltd. on his financial-disclosure form as an asset. This likely means he is an investor or he owns the company outright.
Krause revealed that from 2002 to 2006, Robertson and his wife Amy were the only directors and officers of the Treedom Ventures. From 2002 to 2004, Robertson was a director of Tides Canada.
She also noted that the founding chair of Tides Canada and former CEO of Tides USA, Drummond Pike, and the vice-chair of Tides Canada, Joel Solomon, own private property near the beach on Cortes Island.
"Tides USA says the land is 'pristine,' a 'sensitive ecosystem' with 'mature forests' but locals say that its [sic] far from pristine," Krause wrote. "Its [sic] been logged on and off for 70 years. One thing is for sure, it won't hurt the property values of the vice-chair of Tides Canada and Mayor Gregor Robertson to be next door to a 150 acre park."
According to the Tides USA site, Hanks Beach was bought by
Financed by an "anonymous donor", Tides USA bought the property from Renewal Partners.
Solomon, president of Renewal Partners, has been a generous donor over the years to Robertson's political campaigns. Renewal Partners was also an early investor in Happy Planet, which is the juice company that Robertson ran with business partner Randall Ius before entering politics.
Robertson's financial-disclosure form indicates that he's still an investor in Happy Planet.
Solomon's sister Linda operates an online publication that has published a long article about Krause, noting that she was paid $5,000 to give a speech to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producer this year. In addition, Krause has worked in the past for the fish-farming industry.
Krause told the Straight over the phone that she's not making much money doing this research.
"I am expecting a $5,000 honorarium for the talk I gave in Calgary," she said. "I got a $2,500 honorarium for a talk I gave in New York in July. And that's it. And I used to get $500 a piece at FP [Financial Post], but they don't even have that in the budget anymore, and I haven't written a piece for them for months."
Krause also insisted that she has nothing to do with right-wing U.S. zealot Glen Beck, even though Linda Solomon's website has compared her to him.
"I'm not on anyone's dime," Krause claimed. "But I will say this. I am fighting for something here. It's not the big oil companies. It's not the NPA, and it's definitely not the Norwegian salmon-farming companies. It's the poor people in towns like Port Hardy on the north coast of Vancouver Island—which is the poorest part of our country—where there is up to 20 percent unemployment in those little towns. It's not boomtown Vancouver, like it has been here because of the Olympics. There are places that are hurting. They're the places where these billion-dollar foundations are shutting down what are actually fairly well-run industries. Yes, they have environmental impacts, but they're not the monsters that they're made out to be."
She added that some staff members at U.S.-based foundations are earning more than the prime minister of Canada.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.