Sunday, August 24, 2014

Is Kerry Morris violating his own donation policy by taking developer cash? (Major Update)

Kerry has an extensive donation policy which he has posted on his website.
  1. Businesses and or residents who do not have and/or operate from a North Vancouver City (“City”) address are not eligible to make a donation(s).
  2. No single personal or corporate donation may exceed $300.00 in value.
  3. The aggregated value of all multiple donations made by any one person or corporation must not exceed $300.00 in total.
  4. Any donation amounts made in excess of the limit set out above will be returned to the donor as soon as the excess is discovered.
  5. In the event a corporate donation is received from a developer or union, these monies will be returned in total.
  6. I Kerry Morris hereby notify any and all corporate donors, if you should make a donation to my campaign of greater than $25.00, I will recuse my self from voting on any matter which comes to council chambers brought by your specific enterprise. While this position is not a legal requirement, for me it is a moral requirement.
  7. All potential donors are encouraged not to make a total donation per resident of business in excess of $25.00
  8. Any funds received by the campaign which are in excess of the amount spent on the campaign under the rules, will be donated to a Woman’s Centre, Shelter or Crisis Centre operation in need as soon after the election as is possible under the applicable campaign finance rules and legislation.
But as Kerry Morris has shown, he knows little about municipal taxation laws, I doubt his understanding of campaign finance laws is up to the job.

Kerry has rented an 2199 sq ft office which was listed for sale for $2,395,000 but recently reduced to $1,950,000 with a monthly $677.80 strata fee. I've heard that Kerry is paying $2,000 a month rent for a property that would rent for $3000 to $3500 a month with a year long lease if not a lot more.

The Local Elections Campaign Financing Act Section 13 subsection b states:

"13 " (1) Subject to this section and any applicable regulations, the following are campaign contributions:

            b.  if property or services are provided at less than market value to a candidate or elector organization for campaign use, the difference between the market value of the property or services at the time provided and the amount charged;"

So if Avison Young Real Estate Corporation is charging a rent of even $1.00 less than the market value, they are making a donation to the legal entity of the Campaign to Elect Kerry Morris Mayor.  It is totally legal under Provincial law if it is disclosed.  Avison Young Realty could charge Kerry $1 and record the difference of that and the market value as a donation and that would be legal.  If Kerry were to fail to disclose that as a donation, he could be charged under the Act.

Disclosures are not due until 60 days after the election so the public/voters won't know how Kerry's campaign is being funded and who has funded it.  

BUT Kerry has stated his rules of his campaign as quoted above. So if that donation is over $25, he would have had to already informed Avison Young and the owners of that building (Pinnacle Developments?) that he would be declaring a legal conflict in any situation involving either of them?

This donation is also in violation of Kerry's policy #1 as Avison Young is in Vancouver on West Georgia.

This donation if over $300, Kerry is in violation of Policy #3 since he pledged not to accept donations of over $300.

This information is being forwarded to the Chief Elections Officer and Elections BC to ensure that Kerry submits all his donations in his disclosure.

The local Women's Shelter should be waiting for their check and you can be sure that I will doing some heavy scrutiny of all filings make by Kerry. 

UPDATE 25 August

VOICES Caucus Leader Councillor Pam Bookham came out in defense of her VOICES candidate Kerry Morris with this tweet:

"Pam Bookham ‏@pambookham
@PringleforMayor George, I want a Mayor who can negotiate effectively on behalf of taxpayers. All leases are negotiable."

Pam tries to deflect the point and re-position the discussion away from Kerry's possible upcoming breach of the Law by saying look how great Kerry will be by breaking the law when making deals with developers.

I tweeted back:

"George Pringle ‏@PringleforMayor
@pambookham Provincial law isn't negotiable, @KerryMorrisCNV can haggle free rent from Pinnacle Development - Declare Donation or go to Jail"

I'd like to expand my point past the twitter limit to make it even clearer:

Mayor Mussatto negotiates a donation from Pinnacle and declares that donation under Provincial Law, that is legal.  

If Kerry negotiates a deal with Real Estate Agent Avison Young acting for the property owner, likely Pinnacle where he pays under market value, they are in fact legally donating to Kerry's Mayoral campaign so he must declare that donation which is probably over his $300 limit and he should apply his policy.

The Law is there is stop corporations from secretly donating money or goods to candidates and bypassing public disclosure.  It is a simple fact that Pam and her VOICES crew or Kerry cannot deny.   The question of Kerry violating his own policy and trying to mislead the voters is one that we are all the collective judges and we can vote against Kerry if he is trying to pull a fast one.

60 days after the election, Kerry has to submit disclosure forms.  All his expenses have to be listed so he will have to legally declare what he did.  The Chief Electoral Officer, in response to a complaint has to investigate this and determine the market value of the rental.  If Kerry has not accounted for the difference, he can be charged under the Act and even if elected could be removed.

Don't take the chance Kerry, right now ensure every small thing is accounted for. Make sure you have a really good Financial Agent that will force you and your workers to do everything legally.

In the 1997 federal election, we had a Financial Agent who wouldn't let someone take a little portion of coffee cream from the nearby coffee shop to the campaign office coffee station without recording that as a donation.  Get someone like that.

Difficult decisions are the privilege of those in or seeking elected office.  It is time for you to stop being a clown in the Council Chambers and become a serious candidate.

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