ICBC chair connected to casino developer

The Insurance Corp. of British Columbia's chair has a longstanding business relationship with Paragon Gaming Inc., the Las Vegas-based firm that recently inked a deal to build a major casino in Vancouver, Public Eye has exclusively learned. A spokesperson for Paragon Gaming has stated T. Richard Turner wasn't involved in that deal. However, he will continue to be involved with the company that will oversee that new entertainment complex.

Mr. Turner is a provincial Liberal donor and was chair of the British Columbia Lottery Corp. until he resigned on December 9, 2005.

Six months later, he became one of the directors of the Paragon Gaming division that purchased Vancouver's Edgewater Casino on September 1, 2006 following proceedings dating back to at least May of that year.

That firm, Paragon BC ULC, amalgamated with a numbered company on October 31, 2006 to become Edgewater Casino ULC.

Mr. Turner serves on the board of the amalgamated company - which operates the casino - along with Paragon Gaming co-founders Diana Bennett and Scott Mentke.

Paragon Gaming spokesperson Naomi Strasser described Mr. Turner as a "minority investor" in Edgewater who is "not active" in the casino's "day to day operations." Although Paragon Gaming does "appreciate his role within our company."

Last week, the government announced one of Paragon Gaming's other divisions - Paragon Development Inc. - had signed a 70-year lease agreement with PavCo to develop an entertainment complex attached to BC Place.

PavCo is the Crown corporation that runs the stadium.

The $450-million complex will feature two hotels and a casino with up to 1,500 slot machines and 150 tables, subject to municipal approval.

According to a government news release, Edgewater Casino - which has 493 slot machines and 65 tables - will close once the new complex is ready for occupation.

Paragon won the right to develop that complex following a "competitive bidding process that attracted multiple proposals."

Ms. Strasser stated Mr. Turner "was not involved in Paragon's response to the public request for proposals for the development of the lands surrounding BC Place."

However, he "will continue as a member of the board of directors for the new entertainment destination at BC Place."

The insurance corporation declined comment on Mr. Turner's relationship with Paragon Gaming because "this is not an ICBC issue."

Mr. Turner was "not available" to speak with Public Eye, according to Cheryl Nelson, the office manager at his company TitanStar Capital Corp.

PavCo didn't respond to a request for comment by deadline.

According to Elections British Columbia, Mr. Turner has personally contributed $17,600 to British Columbia's governing party between 2005 and the recent election period.

His companies TitanStar Capital and TitanStar Holdings Inc. have donated a further $52,400.

Of that amount, $50,000 was recorded as being contributed on May 12, 2009 - the same day British Columbians cast their ballots.

The Campbell administration appointed Mr. Turner chair of BCLC in December 2001. He was named chair of ICBC in December 2003.

Mr. Turner was also a board member for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The following is a complete copy of corporate registry documents showing Mr. Turner's involvement with companies connected to Paragon Gaming.

Paragon Gaming Inc. corporate registry documents

5 Comments

Hmmmmm.

A former chair of the public's BCLC has a stake in a massive private Casino that suddenly falls out of the sky and lands in the provincially-owned parking lot next to BC Place Stadium.....

Which has me wondering:

What protocol, precisely, was followed that led to the 'inking' of this deal that was, up until very recently, extremely well-protected from the public's prying peepers?

Perhaps Mr. Holman and/or one of Public Eye's well-informed readers could provide us with an answer?


Thanks very much,
RossK

.

Given the information Sean has divulged, one has to wonder if the bidding process was handled in the same manner as BC Rail.

Also, how come the MSM has not been able to ferret out this stuff.

So many questions, so few answers. Just how the government and their minions seem to like it.

The small world phenomenon occurs again. It might be six degrees of separation from Gordon Campbell to Kevin Bacon but apparently, it is only two from Campbell to Paragon. Or, could that be only one degree?

If there is fire where there is smoke, the Premier's sneakers must be ready to ignite.

Looking for TitanStar's website, I notice the office is in the Landing Building in Gastown.

Guess who have offices one floor down?
The Vancouver Whitecaps!
Aren't they the reason we are refurbishing the Stadium in the first place?

The web is dense ...

Of course, a rail gate, the next trick, is a casino gate. The ICBC gate. Hopefully, someone is on top of this. Seems, since Campbell's occupation, it's imposable to find anything, that doesn't stink to high heaven, in this province. Campbell and Hansen, have used a litany of lies, deceit, dirty tactics, and broken promises. Don't follow the rainbow, follow the money trail.

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