Five-Ring Circus

Rating: NNNNNThe corporate chiefs who spearheaded Toronto's bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics never tired of telling us how accountable.


Rating: NNNNN

The corporate chiefs who spearheaded Toronto’s bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics never tired of telling us how accountable they were. Now, nine months after the dream tanked, councillor Michael Walker, is still getting the runaround on how much city money was spent on it. And who among the mayor’s friends and acquaintances got healthy contracts in support of T.O.’s drive for the rings.

In February, the councillor put in a request to Joe Halstead, the city’s commissioner of economic development, asking for more detailed disclosures than the info tabled by Halstead in his original Olympic report.

Halstead finally responded recently, relying largely on information provided to him by former bid CFO Borden Rosiak, who’s now with Borealis Capital Corp. — whose executive chair happens to be Steve Hudson, the influential backroom T.O. Bid backer.

Walker smells a rat. But the intrepid councillor didn’t get the answers he was looking for from Halstead.

MW: What were the total costs of dedicating city staff to the bid?

JH: “The city did not engage any additional staff resources to support the Olympic endeavour.”

Really? City auditor Jeffrey Griffiths reported in March that “the value of staff time assigned to the city Olympic office is approximately $390,000.”

MW: How did the bid budget balloon from $20 million to $45.7 million?

JH: “Actual cash expenditures were in line with budgeted amounts.”

So, corporations lined up at the trough weren’t being tossed lucrative contracts? A curious assertion, given Halstead’s reluctance to offer detailed answers to other pointed questions posed by Walker, including:

the names of former bid officers and suppliers claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments for services they provided

the name and officers of the fundraising firm hired by the bid for $725,523 to raise $1.4 million

the name of the firm that pocketed $4.6 million to put together the bid book.

Walker calls Halstead’s answers “totally inadequate.”

In his report to Walker at last week’s audit committee, Halstead hides behind what bid opponents have always feared when it comes to Olympic accountability: “T.O. Bid is a separate and distinct legal entity from the city, and as such the city has no direct authority or jurisdiction over the operations of the organization.”

Walker considers Halstead’s inability to offer up any substantial information “rank insubordination.”scottand@nowtoronto.com

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