I've been digging around some more into the Union Bay thing... you know... where the Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) tried suing local blogger Mary Reynolds for defamation for daring to question UBID board members about their apparent conflicts of interest.
Between the May election that saw most of the board unceremoniously dumped and the recent resignation of Alan De Jersey from the UBID board, everyone that Mary was complaining about is no longer on the board.
Isn't that a really interesting coincidence?
Perhaps there were a lot more local residents upset over the [alleged] impropriety of the former UBID board members than just Mary Reynolds.
I recently came across an ad from the Comox Valley Record, one of the newspapers serving the region that includes Union Bay. The ad was intended to generate public support for the Kensington development and pressure the Comox Valley Regional District into signing off on the deal.
What's fascinating about this ad is that two of the Board members of the Union Bay Improvement District have listed their companies as having "direct and indirect economic interests in the project" yet they don't see that as conflict of interest.
What's even more odd is that Denis Royer doesn't even consider the ad to be what it is: an ad!
From the Examination of Discovery with Alan De Jersey being examined under oath, Denis Royer piped up from the gallery:
"I said I don't remember it being an ad."
At which point he was admonished to keep his mouth shut while someone else was being examined.
In the image at the bottom of this article I've highlighted two names:
- Alan De Jersey Insurance Service, and
- D.S.J Electric Ltd.
Alan De Jersey Insurance Services is, of course, Alan De Jersey's company. He publicly proclaimed his personal financial interest in this project and actually heads the list of 100 or so companies offering their public endorsement and stated financial interest in the project moving ahead. I imagine everyone buying into that development would need insurance, and Alan De Jersey was confident he would get a large percentage of that pie...
D.S.J. Electric Ltd. is a company owned by Denis Royer. Every single unit being built in the Kensington Island project would presumably require electricity. Not many people are willing to purchase a condo without that, right? Like De Jersey's insurance company, I would presume that a company publicly proclaiming its financial interest in the Kensington Island project would be looking for its share of the business installing all that electrical wiring.
Why else would they be on the list?
Denis Royer was one of the UBID board members booted off the board in the May election.
Conflict of Interest
Mary Reynolds was one of many local area residents concerned about the conflict of interest inherent in UBID board members voting on proposals that have a direct financial benefit them personally and/or the companies they own or control.
Mary and her fellow residents SHOULD have those concerns.
Running for and gaining public office is not supposed to be the first step in lining your own pockets. It's supposed to be the first step in serving your community for the betterment of all.
What appears to have happened in Union Bay is that by failing to recuse themselves from voting on issues that directly affect their own financial interests, De Jersey and Royer were, at the very least, in a conflict of interest.
Voting away the town's water supply, for example, is NOT in the town's best interests... the very people they were supposed to be representing and defending. It was, however, certainly in their personal financial interests, wasn't it?
For example, on August 3, 2009, when voting on MOTION 2009-08-03:
"To support the Kensington Island Properties proposal with the provision of water, fire rescue and street lighting services with the considerations outlined in the agency referral for the 2009 submission. "
The motion was carried unanimously, it appears. There is no indication that either man recused himself from the vote that they clearly have a financial stake in seeing passed, or that anyone voted against the motion.
If they had recused themselves, the minutes of the meeting would clearly have reflected that. The same goes for anyone voting against the motion. The minutes of the meeting are nothing if not detailed in every other fashion.
Alan De Jersey and Denis Royer are two of the people leading the court case that is ongoing against Mary Reynolds. You see, while the UBID dropped out of the lawsuit against Mary Reynolds, De Jersey and Royer and 6 others did not.
These two, after [allegedly] voting to line their own pockets with cash, are steadfastly proclaiming that they have done no wrong and that Mary Reynolds damaged their reputations by raising these very questions.
That is absurd.
A piece of an 18 million dollar pie is enough to cause some folks to leave their morals and ethics at the door... and the contention of Union Bay residents and taxpayers that Alan De Jersey and Denis Royer are two such men would appear to be directly on the mark.
They are joined in their ongoing lawsuit against blogger Mary Reynolds by David Godfrey, David McDowell, James Smith, Debora McMahon and Brenda Fisher.
Brenda Fisher is the former UBID administrator who quit a few weeks after Alan De Jersey handed in his vitriolic letter of resignation. Ms. Fisher quit her job after an extended term of "sick leave" that began about the time the newly elected board took office. Coincidence?
She quit, it seems, because she was no longer interested in working for a board that wasn't controlled by her friends. She probably wasn't interested in answering any questions from the new board about the [allegedly] partisan nature of her dealings on behalf of the community she was supposedly hired to serve, either.
An interesting aside is that Brenda Fisher is the wife of Bryan Fisher, the C.A.O. of the Union Bay Credit Union, the town's only financial institution, a staunch supporter of the Kensington development (big surprise!) and was a member of the UBID board that hired Brenda Fisher to be the administrator.
There's an old saying that goes something like this:
If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and acts like a duck, it's a reasonable to make the assumption that it's a duck.
Is there corruption and conflict of interest in Union Bay, driven by a greedy desire for a piece of an 18 million dollar pie?
I don't know.
But there sure seems to be a lot of ducks running around the area...
NOTE: the image below is a slightly modified version of the page the ad was on. I've removed the article between the ad and the header information to save space here on the blog. You can see the entire page as it ran here, if you are interested.