As always with BC Liberals, laying down with dogs results in fleas sometime along the way.
Jobs minister Pat Bell 'breached protocols, broke promises,' complaint alleges
CBC News, Feb 26, 2013.
A CBC News investigation has uncovered serious allegations against the B.C. government and provincial Jobs Minister Pat Bell related to the proposed Wood Innovation and Design Centre project in Prince George.
In the complaint, Dan McLaren and Brian Fehr detail their concerns about "breached protocols, broken promises and misrepresentation" by Bell and the government.
Did not make shortlist
Records show Fehr then bought the land, but in the end, no company owned by him or McLaren made the short list.
Three companies have been short-listed, but the winning bidder hasn't yet been named. The Wood Innovation and Design Centre, first announced in the 2009 Throne speech, is a $25-million project for downtown Prince George meant to showcase the use of wood for tall building construction.
It will contain a variety of public and private sector tenants, including some classrooms for the University of Northern B.C.
According to regulations, government projects are supposed to be awarded without political interference. But the complainants say they were "duped into the deal," because the outcome was not what they claim they had been promised.
McLaren said in the complaint that he now faces foreclosure on the property deal unless he makes a $1.5 million payment.
Minister maintains he acted properly
But the minister insists that everything was handled properly.
He also said that, in any case, he was not in a position to make any deals ahead of time, as the complaint alleges.
“To be clear, I do not sit on the project board nor have any authority over it. I would not and could not offer that type of offer to anyone."
Bell does admit he was interviewed by Shackell about the businessmen's complaint.
Shackell’s report, however, found the bidding process had been conducted fairly. But she also acknowledged that there were concerns raised by McLaren and Fehr that didn't fall within her mandate to investigate.
Elections BC records show that Fehr or his company have donated $123,000 to the B.C. Liberals since 2006.
The records also show McLaren has donated more than $2,100 to the BC Liberals over the past eight years and in 2001, he vied against Bell for the Liberal nomination in his Prince George riding.