With new details such as how Rush got bum-rushed, The Coast tells the most complete story to date. by Tim Bousquet
This article was first published in The Coast, on December 5, 2011.
Last spring, Halifax’s now-infamous “concert scandal” broke when city staffer Cathie O’Toole revealed that mayor Peter Kelly and the city’s deputy CAO, Wayne Anstey, had improperly extended millions of dollars in loans to concert promoter Harold MacKay’s firm, Power Promotional Events, and that the last two of those loans, totalling $400,000, were not repaid.
Anstey ended up resigning over the scandal, but Kelly played a game of “ah-shucks, was that wrong?” and refused to heed calls for his resignation, even after a June report from auditor general Larry Munroe broadly castigated Kelly. ”Given the level of experience and involvement of Mr. Anstey and Mayor Kelly in the public sector,” wrote Munroe, “each of these individuals should have known something out of the ordinary was occurring and should have asked more questions to determine if what they were contemplating and/or doing was appropriate, especially given the method of arranging for payments to be made to Power Promotional Events.”
Munroe based his report on hundreds of documents he obtained from City Hall, but he did not make those documents public. The Coast, however, filed a freedom of information request for the documents Munroe reviewed, and received those documents last week. Many concert-related documents appear to be missing, and others are highly redacted, but the file obtained by The Coast paints a detailed picture of the behind-the-scenes workings of City Hall as it attempted to turn the Halifax Common into a concert destination.
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