Friday 26 October 2012

Herding Katz; The $130,000.00 Question

This week Elections Alberta publicized election financials for all parties from this year's election. Since then the top story has been the amount of money donated by the Katz Group, the family and associates.


Katz Group $ 30,000.00

Family members

Daryl Katz $ 30,000.00
Renee Katz $ 30,000.00
Ida Katz $ 30,000.00
Barry Katz $ 30,000.00

Katz Associates Individually or as a Professional Corp

J Robert Black Professional Corp. $ 25,000.00
James Low and Associates Inc. $ 25,000.00
Karvellas (Q.C.), John $ 25,000.00
Karvellas Consulting Inc. $ 25,000.00
Marcaccio, Paul T. $ 25,000.00
Paul T. Marcaccio Professional Corp. $ 25,000.00

Total: $ 300,000.00

Those names come from this Globe and Mail article and the figures from the Elections Alberta report.
The Globe article states:
But a source close to the campaign told The Globe and Mail that Mr. Katz provided a cheque for $430,000 to the PCs, a donation that was broken up into smaller pieces.
If such a cheque existed, what happened to the remaining $130,000.00? Was it returned to Katz Group? Was it "allocated" to other donors?

Apparently this donation came in the latter part of the election; which would explain why the Katz name didn't show up on the list the PC's released.

I compared that list to the one filed with their final financials, looking for other large donors that didn't show up on the first list.  Those include:

$ 25,000.00 Brad Gilewich Professional Corp
$ 25,000.00 Gilewich, Brad
$ 20,000.00 Durstling Family Trust
$ 20,000.00 Scott Family Trust
$ 30,000.00 Candor Investments
$ 25,000.00 SPC Investments Ltd

Now they add up to more than $ 130,000.00 but it gave me a starting point to see if I could find any connection to the Katz Group.

Brad Gilewich Professional Corp and Brad Gilewich:  According to LinkedIn Brad is a Partner with Price Waterhouse Coopers. Given PWC are the auditors for Katz Group I highly doubt there would be anything untoward going on here. Right?

Durstling Family Trust: Simple Google search reveals Darren Durstling as one of the trustees
Bradley S.R. Clough, along with Darren Durstling and Laurel Durstling, as trustees of the Durstling Family Trust, paid cash ($1,856,630) for a 6,180-square-foot home with pool on the north side of Mummy Mountain Park in Paradise Valley. Darren Durstling is vice president of development and one of three principals of WAM Development Group of Edmonton, Aberta.
WAM Development Group, why does that sound familiar?  Oh, they too were a large contributor to the PC's this election in the amount of $ 25,000.00.   Ironically enough they were also in the news earlier this year.  
The Katz Group will work with Edmonton-based WAM Development Group to develop the lands adjacent to the proposed site of the downtown arena, the Oilers owner announced Friday.

Scott Family Trust: Can't seem to find anything on this. Anything that even comes close isn't located in Alberta.

Candor Investments: Apparently are located in Calgary, but they don't have a website. Nor could I find any information on the principals.

SPC Investments Ltd: I could only find one document or reference to this exact name and it’s on a list of businesses whose corporate registrations had been cancelled in 2003

People and companies writing individual cheques, within election limits isn’t an issue. Unfortunately a company or an individual can also give money to family, friends, co-workers, etc. and they in turn can give it as a donation in their own name. Again nothing wrong with this, so long as they have reported the income as required by CRA given their individual situation.

However, what the Globe report was that it was “one” cheque. Which begs the question; were all the funds truly from those who ultimately received the tax receipts?  If not – that’s fraud.

Again from the Globe article (referencing the Election Finance Act):

Section 34 states that parties cannot “solicit or knowingly accept any contribution” that doesn’t actually come from the contributor’s pocket.
If it turns out to be one cheque I already know what Premier Redford’s response is going to be. 
“We have previously accepted cheques from spouses and allocated donations to both of them. We handled this situation the same way; attributing the donations to those they has said gave them money. The exchange of funds between those people or organizations is out of our hands. We can’t be held responsible for things we don’t know about.” 
That’s the gist of it, they will feign ignorance and hope that we will all say “Oh, okay you are so innocent and got hoodwinked by the big businessmen.”

When a party, constituency association or a candidate gets a cheque that exceeds the limits it is their responsibility to return the cheque, explain the limitations and advise them they cannot give money on “behalf” of someone else. 

Let’s look at this from the perspective of a donor not familiar with the laws.

Joe Blow says to his friends: “I’ve had a successful year and I want to share that with you. I’m going to make a large donation to my favorite political party and some will be on your behalf."
Friend: “Oh, that’s great Joe. Thank you.”

Joe sends off the big cheque only to have it returned with an explanation of limitations and rules.  Now ordinary, honest Joe citizen will accept that and write a new cheque contributing only what he is legally allowed.  

But we also have Joe citizens who are not so honest or ones that have been “coached” by not so honest political parties.  
Those Joe’s go back to their friends and say “You know in order to make this work you have to write the cheque.”
Friend: “But I don’t have that kind of money!!”
Not so honest Joe: “No problem, I will give it to you.”

His honest friends will realize at that point there will be a need to explain where the money came from and there will be tax ramifications; they will tell him to take a hike.  Others may not think that far ahead or not care and partake in the scheme.

As far as the multiple Katz donations from family and work associates, no one knows what happened except for those inside the PC Party. Premier Redford points to the financial report and says it’s all open and transparent. Well, no it isn’t. Until we see the paper trail that only the PC’s have access to we will not know exactly what transpired. 

Saturday, Oct. 27 @ 1:30 PM

Discovered another donor who has done business directly with Mr. Katz. 

EDMONTONJune 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Two new chapters in the Alberta aviation story will be turned June 20, with the official introduction of a Canadian aircraft-ownership innovation and a newly constructed $26 million, four-bay hangar and office complex at the Edmonton International Airport.
Aurora Jet Partners is the innovation. It has been created by Morningstar Partners of Edmonton and Opus Aviation ofVancouver, companies founded and operated by Don WheatonKim WardDaryl Katz and The Ledcor Group.

Don Wheaton Ltd. contributed $ 25,000.00 to the PC party.

It should be noted that some of these contributors also donated to other political parties in smaller amounts.

Additionally, their ties to the Katz Group don't necessarily mean that they have anything to do with what is surely going to turn into an investigation by Elections Alberta. 

Elections Alberta spokesman Drew Westwater said his office will “probably” launch an investigation into the April election campaign donations made to the PC party by Katz, his family and associates.

Update Thursday, Nov 1

The Globe and Mail today has confirmed many of the links to Katz that I've mentioned in this blog entry.


  1. Just put some heat on the names listed. Call them, ask who they are, ask why they gave money to Katz to donate. See if they even know they did.

    1. At this point we don't even know if that's the case. Globe is quoting someone "inside" the PC party as saying there was one cheque. For all we know that cheque was returned and 10+ individual cheques were then sent in to replace it.

      Besides, would you tell a stranger what you did with $30,000.00?

  2. It just gets better and better with this band of thieves.

  3. Something that is worth thinking about is that numbered corporations also can make donations. They usually have even less information to look up, and so you would need to pay money if you want to do a look up on the corporate ownership of any numbered company.

  4. I have spoken with Candor and it doesn't seem connected.

  5. Hi Jane; are you aware of this story reporting Kelley Charlebois was named as a Katz "donor" ?

    "PC Association executive director Kelley Charlebois declined to talk about campaign contributions from Katz, other than to acknowledge that the Oilers’ owner made a $30,000 donation in his name."

    1. Yes, I read that article, he also went onto say:

      “We don’t talk about specific donations, but our internal policies ensure that any cheques that are received have the appropriate donors and the appropriate amounts related to them,” Charlebois said, noting that the party’s financial statements are audited.

      That's pretty vague as to whether there was one cheque or several. In my experience auditors look for proof the money was received. IE: photocopies of cheques, deposit books, etc.

      Auditors may or may not be aware of election laws and generally these types of audits don't make any assessment as to potential breaches of those laws. They review whether or not recognized accounting practices are place and that there are proper internal procedures.

    2. Redford covered all her bases while she was Minister of Justice. She passed amendments which effectively gag the chief electoral officer from releasing information to the public with regards to any illegal donors and illegal donations. Unfortunately, in Alberta that is the law.

  6. Good job on this. Keep up the good work.

  7. As a Morningstar Air Express employee I'm very disappointed to learn that my employer decided to donate to this tired corrupt government.

    I however voted for my Wildrose Alliance candidate.