Posted February 25, 2015
The Guelph Mercury recently wrote an editorial saying the full cost of the Urbacon City Hall lawsuit has yet to be revealed to the citizens. The only sentence that was not true was that the Mayor apologized for the mistake that cost her job.
What the mayor said was that she apologized on behalf of the City of Guelph. Without splitting hairs, who was she apologizing to, the citizens who are the City of Guelph? This cockamamie response or non-apology was pure Farbridge who ran our city without taking responsibility for her actions.
She was in charge of the administration. To have her CAO, Ann Pappert, claim that the former CAO fired Urbacon, was pure Farbridge political deflection. After all, there was an election coming and she wouldn’t want to have this situation affecting her re-election.
Unfortunately, as it turned out, the fox was among the chickens. Now the new administration has the responsibility to report the full cost of the Urbacon affair. There are four councillors elected in October, who were part of the decision to fire the city hall contractor in September 2008. So far, their complicity is unknown but they were elected in 2007 to protect the people’s interests and were sworn to maintain fiduciary responsibility.
The Urbacon four, still sitting on council, include June Hofland, Mike Salisbury, Leanne Piper and Karl Wettstein.
Here are some of the Urbacon hangover items:
How much did the city pay Urbacon in completion payments before the firing?
What were the costs, ordered by the administration, of the hundreds of change orders?
How many change orders were processed to the contractor and what did they require?
What was the cost of hiring two construction firms to complete the original contract?
What were the terms of those contracts?
Was the construction by these companies tendered?
What did the city have to pay for settling with the Urbacon sub-trades?
What were the staff expenses, dedicated to supporting the city’s countersuit against Urbacon?
How much did it cost the city to extend staff rentals in other downtown buildings?
What was the cost of unsuccessfully suing Aviva, the completion bondholder?
What were the details of the four-year contract awarded to CAO Hans Loewig?
What were the terms of settlement with architects Moriyama and Teshima?
Did Murray McRae, the city engineer in charge of the project, leave of his own accord or was he paid a goodbye settlement charge?
How much did the city pay for outside legal advice and representation?
How are the trial costs allocated in the legal settlement?
The more you think about it, the more troubling it becomes. Right now, there appears to be no effort on the part of the Guthrie Administration to come clean with the real costs of this financial disaster.
Appointing an Auditor General to investigate and oversee city operations would be money well spent and lead to clearing the air about Urbacon and other Farbridge hangovers.
The people have the right to know.