Township Mayor Rick Green’s troubles are mounting.
On Nov. 7, only 13 days before the civic election, council colleagues will vote on a motion from Councillor Grant Ward calling for a committee of inquiry to examine Green’s conduct, which is described in detail in the Lidstone Report.
The report by Township lawyer Don Lidstone, issued in May, 2010 and released by council only last week, said that Green misled his own council, staff and lawyers.
The report examined Green’s conduct over his contention that he had new evidence to suggest improper conduct surrounding Brownshak, a company that was owned by the wives of administrator Mark Bakken and Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman, and the spouses of two realtors.
A limited company, Brownshak was involved in only one property transaction, a townhouse, before the partners dissolved their interest in it in 2005.
Green told council in October, 2009, that he had received anonymous information relating to Brownshak. He called an emergency meeting of council, barring Bakken and other staff, and refusing to tell councillors the nature of the meeting.
Questions remain about Green’s claim of a break-in at his Township office, who had access to the information in the brown envelope that was delivered to his home, and the misleading statements he made to council and three lawyers probing his conduct.
The Lidstone Report stated that only Green and a close associate who contributed to his 2008 campaign had the necessary documentation to write the anonymous letter. That is, said Ward, “unless one believes Mayor Green’s story that someone broke into his office and copied a document only so that they could put it in his rural mailbox.”
The Lidstone Report stated that all other parties who had keys to Green’s office were interviewed and provided sworn statements, establishing that there was no evidence to corroborate the mayor’s assertion, Ward said.
On Monday, Ward introduced a notice of motion which, if passed, will compel Green to speak under oath to the committee of inquiry. Several others, whose names are blocked out in the Lidstone Report, would be required to appear before the committee of inquiry.
If Ward’s motion is approved, it will place a number of items under the microscope, not least of which is a Nov. 4, 2009 letter from Waterstone Law Group lawyer Clint Harcourt to Joel Schacter, whose wife was one of the Brownshak principals.
Joel Schacter now owns Brownshak.
Waterstone is the registered and records office of Brownshak. As such, the firm is responsible for maintaining the records of the company and has the only copy of the Central Securities Register.
“In late August, we were contacted by the law firm of Calvin Patterson who requested a copy of the Central Securities Register,” Harcourt wrote in 2009.
He added: “We can confirm that we have sent the Central Securities Register to the office of Calvin Patterson and nobody else. Therefore, we can only assume that any materials that were delivered to the mayor originated from Mr. Patterson’s office.”
The committee of inquiry would involve all members of council except the mayor.
Patterson, Green and three people “to be identified by the mayor and who were referred to in his May 17, 2010 statement to council” would be summoned as witnesses under oath.
This action is permissible under Section 134 of the Community Charter.
The committee and its lawyer would have access to records and documents relating to the issue, and all Township employees and elected officials would be authorized to provide relevant material to the committee.
Should a hearing take place it would be conducted in public.
“The public has the right to know what really transpired,” Ward said.
Green’s supporters disagreed. Ward’s notice of motion ended Monday’s council meeting, and triggered shouts from the audience. Targeting Ward, several people asked who would pay for the inquiry. Some of Green’s detractors then became involved, calling into question the mayor’s conduct.