Taxpayers lose in Graydon’s gamble

Questions remain after former BC Lottery Corp. CEO found in conflict of interest.

In the wake of a report that found former B.C. Lottery Corporation CEO Michael Graydon was in conflict of interest while negotiating a job with a private casino firm, questions remain.

The report, released last week by the Ministry of Finance, states Graydon was found to be in conflict “during the two months prior to the time he left British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), but found no evidence that he or his new employer benefited from the conflict.” And while Graydon continued to have access to confidential information in his role as CEO, “there was no evidence that information was removed or used inappropriately to benefit his new employer.”

As NDP gambling critic Shane Simpson has noted, someone in the BCLC bungled this big time, but will anyone pay the price?

The fact that Graydon was negotiating to work with a private gambling firm while heading the government’s gambling arm should be enough to point to an obvious conflict of interest, regardless of what the investigation revealed this week.

But, the fact Graydon negotiated while on the taxpayer dime, then quit voluntarily, then scooped up $125,000 in taxpayer funds as he walked out the door is more than a little galling.

While Finance Minister Michael de Jong has acknowledged the report and announced policy changes to prevent such a situation in the future, where is the BCLC board’s defence of offering such an offensive golden parachute?

Kamloops’ Bud Smith is chairman of the BCLC board and has only issued a terse statement, which argued the audit shows “the information provided by Mr. Graydon to the board was incomplete and/or inaccurate.”

If that is a fact, perhaps Smith and board can then inform the public whether it plans to ask Graydon to perhaps return to taxpayers some, if not all, of the money he pocketed after leaving, but not before providing incomplete and/or inaccurate information to the BCLC board.

The problem is these types of shenanigans are endemic in B.C.’s Crown corporations and we will be writing about another transgression soon enough.

-Kamloops This Week

 

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