Auditor uncovers tale of AADAC boss supporting habit with bogus deals.
Fred (Get It) Dunn gave it his best shot. He did great but this time he couldn’t quite get it all done. Nice timing, though, dirt all around a couple days before the Tory leadership vote.
The sleazy story is contained in a report by Dunn, Alberta’s auditor general, and starts with Lloyd Carr, a bigwig with the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, before he got bounced a couple months ago.
Carr set up five bogus contracts scoring $634,250 — $441,000 in AADAC cash for himself and just under $193,000 for others. Carr, who lied about graduating from the University of Calgary and who had a criminal record nobody in AADAC bothered to check, ran the four largest deals with the Alberta Lung Association for what turned out to be a make-believe high school tobacco reduction program.
AADAC paid Alberta Lung who paid the consultants Kilburn and Associates and Carr’s Out of the Box Consulting and the fictitious Debora Corr, at the same home address as Carr.
For passing the dough, Alberta Lung kept a handling fee. Kilburn paid the money it got from Alberta Lung back to Carr less its handling fee.
Dunn says Carr explained the arrangement by telling Alberta Lung that AADAC distances itself from certain tobacco reduction programs and telling Kilburn that Alberta Lung wanted Carr to do the consulting work.
Both Alberta Lung and Kilburn did what Carr wanted, never spoke to each other and Carr believed the two groups thought everything was on the up and up.
All totaled, the Alberta Lung Association received $140,000 and still has $80,000. Kilburn got $52,702 and it’s spent. Carr, a poobah in an outfit fighting addictions including gambling, took $91,000 for a down payment on a new house, $60,000 for a vehicle loan repayment and withdrew $156,000 in cash from ATMs, most of it from ATMs in casinos. Carr admits he has a gambling problem. No kidding.
About $134,300 just went in with Carr’s other income.
The RCMP are investigating, the province is looking to sue to recover some of the cash.
As well, a blog alleges money from these contracts may have been funneled through tobacco control lobbyists to Tory leadership contenders. Two others say Carr wanted to move up the government food chain to bigger and better positions.
Dunn asks Carr and checks the man’s records. Dunn questions Alberta Lung and Kilburn. He can’t find anything.
Except, Dunn does point out “unlike some jurisdictions, contribution records for leadership campaigns in Alberta are not required to be publicly available.” And Dunn can’t look at the books of the men who would be premier. In fact, Alberta law specifically excludes delving into dough from leadership bids.
The best the financial watchdog can do is lay out all the names and hope the Tory candidates do the right thing. Anything more, says Dunn’s findings, “is a matter for the Legislative Assembly to consider.” That is, the politicians. Dunn maintains if the contributions were open to the public “it would be very easy to trace.”
Nothing in Alberta is ever easy to trace, whether it’s government pork, insider influence or ballot-box stuffing. All this yarn gets is quick expressions of regret from the Tories and outrage from the opposition.
It will all blow over, as usual.
Yesterday morning, Dunn’s department also talks to the province about the possible running up of expenses on a government credit card in 2004 by the executive assistant to former economic development minister Mark Norris, who is now running for Tory leader. Dunn’s department is “quite surprised” they hadn’t heard of the allegations and asks government officials why auditors were not told. The answer? They didn’t think there was anything to be concerned about. Situation normal.
Dunn is now on it.
Then there is the complaint corporations owned by Metis settlements, prohibited from donating to campaigns, doled out dinero to Klein cabinet minister Pearl Calahasen.
RCMP have laid charges against the companies. We could go on. Dunn compares the day to “a root canal with no freezing.” Alas, if only the right people would feel the pain.