Speaking of political decisions that smell to the high heavens, the Humber Valley Paving debacle continues to haunt tNewfoundland and Labrador taxpayers.
Provincial Transportation Minister Nick McGrath's soon to be bosses, former company was given a huge break and let out of it's $19 Million Trans-Labrador Highway contract without penalty.
Premier Frank Coleman was no longer associated with the company when HVP was released from it's bonds, but his son Gene (who was still with the company) negotiated the arrangement by telephone with McGrath after his father had cleared the decks for his leadership bid. McGrath says he had no idea that Gene was Frank's son!
The sordid affair occupied the majority of Question Period in the Spring Session of the House of Assembly and is now being investigated by the Auditor General. Many think the RCMP should be called in as well.
Steven Ness, President of Surety Association Canada questioned McGrath’s
understanding of the the bonding process. He went on the public record to say the minister's explanations did not make any sense. Other road contractors have said the Minister's handling of the Humber Valley Paving TLH contracts were not the norm.
In late May, Coleman revealed to the province, via media questioning, that he personally benefited from the decision not to call in the bonds. He stated on CBC's On-Point that if the province had decided to call in bonds from Humber Valley Paving after a
contract was cancelled he, along with the other shareholders, could have ended
up paying up to $20 million.
Yesterday, McGrath announced a new contractor has been awarded the work on the TLH.
The costs will be higher and it will not come in on time.
McGrath had told the House of Assembly in the the Spring that one of the ever changing rationals for releasing HVP from the bonds was to ensure the work was done on time and on budget. Today we learned the extra cost is in the order of $2 million!
To quote Uncle Gnarley, "Inconsistencies
and contradictions abound!"
I wonder if some solid investigative reporter like a Mike Harris or a Stevie Cameron might want to consider looking at creed and potential corruption in this province.
They could begin by following the M&M trails at Rock Solid Politics, Uncle Gnarley, The Sir Robert Bond Papers, Sue's Blog and the Business Post.
One thing is for certain in my mind, many of the theories that in the past that I might have dismissed as tripping the light fantastic, may be alarmingly credible.