Monday, November 21, 2011

Costly $ilence, highest BCR operating losses ever

This partially updates a 2009 Northern Insights article, Patronage applied Liberally.

Silence in the BC Rail affair has been a costly purchase for the people of British Columbia as the BC Liberal Gravy Train rumbles through obscure and remote locations, boarding a few special travelers.

Despite disposition of its main operating assets in 2003, executive compensation since then at the near defunct British Columbia Railway Company, should cause public outrage. The Times Colonist noted in 2008 that management remuneration was astounding because this company employed only 30 full time equivalents to "run a railway that's a piddling 39 kilometres long."

Despite the criticisms, BC Liberals have been willing to use public money to reward people doing them favours. Kevin Mahoney, John Lusney, Linda Shute (replaced by Kevin Steinberig in 2009) and Gordon Westlake were the senior officers of BC Rail in recent years. In 2009, they burned through $38 million in operating expenses despite having almost no operations beyond receiving rents on long term leases and selling lands.

Ironically, BC Rail has suffered more operating losses since the railway was sold in 2003 than it did in the years preceding its sale. The four senior officers have taken total remuneration in the last four years of
2007:      $ 1,244,799
2008:      $ 1,209,167
2009:      $ 1,059,285
2010:      $ 1,234,546
Kevin Mahoney was terminated March 31, 2010 and paid $392,333 severance and $11,899 unused vacation. John Lusney was also terminated March 31, 2010 and paid $203,033 severance and $23,355 unused vacation. SOURCE

Many of us in alternative media complain about extravagant amounts paid BC Ferries senior executives but at least those folks have a business to run. Most of the millions tossed to the winds at BC Rail are simply buying silence about the fraudulent sale of railway assets in 2003 and facilitating the quiet giveaway of BCR's once valuable landbank. In my view, this latter theft is the most egregious part of the entire railway fraud.

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  1. Please don't stop reminding the public of this BC Liberal gravy train. The government continues to try to bury this ugly piece of B.C. history, so it's important that people are reminded of not only the fraudulent sale of BC Rail and the corruption scandal trial that followed, but of the BC Liberal insiders who continue to benefit from this travesty of justice.

    Thanks, Norm!

  2. Agree totally Norm, this is where they rub the salt into the wound and watch us scream.

  3. Another way to calculate this waste of the public's money would be to express it in adult-disabled care years = 760*

    *=$38,000,000 divided by the price per year put on the adult-disabled by Mdme (not) Premier**

    =$50,000 per year which Ms. Clark, when she was admonishing people for 'playing the game' when they raised the issue of these poor folks being thrown out of their group homes as 'quite a lot' of taxpayers' money.

  4. What is most revolting, is to see the proceeds of the land dump, which in many northern communities has made it impossible to stage or store any volume of materials anywhere near the tracks, being paid out in severance to the people responsible for BC Rail's demise.
    Bad enough to give it away, but then to try to erase any signs of it's existence is disgusting. All happening at atime when more goods should be traveling by rail. The terminals and yards were not part of the giveaway and should have been left intact to facilitate large shipments to/from northern communities as was the original intent. Even without the BS surrounding the deal, it stinks any way you look at it and if a certain traveler to England is pulled home to answer it can't happen quick enough.

  5. Perhaps a 'where are they now' piece is in order?

    Kevin Mahoney, John Lusney, Linda Shute and Gordon Westlake have landed somewhere, but where?

    Could the diligent digilattes sleuth out their current careers?

  6. Mahoney is still chair at BC Transit, at least he was as of March 31, 2011. That offers good opportunities for investments in real estate.



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