City officials contemplate suing Trade Centre Limited

Auditor general Larry Munroe and councillor Gloria McCluskey question Fred MacGillivray and Scott Ferguson’s role in concerts scandal.

Two city officials are implying there’s a simple solution to the $359,550 bill related to concerts scandal: Don’t pay it.

That course of action, suggested by both city auditor Larry Munroe and city councillor Gloria McCluskey, threatens to create an epic legal battle between the city and Trade Centre Limited, a provincial crown corporation. But it isn’t just the $359,550 at stake; potentially, millions of dollars are at play, as well as the professional reputations of some of the most powerful people in Nova Scotia.

At issue is the biggest revelation in Munroe’s report on the concerts scandal: that in 2006, Trade Centre Limited’s then-president, Fred MacGillivray, shifted ownership of the Metro Centre’s ticket sales agency, called Metro Box Office, to TCL. MacGillivray had no authority to make the change; it was not approved by the TCL board of directors or by the city council. In fact, then-city CAO Dan English only learned of the shift when it showed up as an obscure line item in a budget report, long after the fact. English never notified city council of the change.

The shift of ownership of the multi-million dollar Metro Box Office operation led to the confusing commingling of city and TCL funds that made the concerts scandal possible, Munroe explains in his report on the scandal.

“When I read that, I couldn’t believe it,” says McCluskey. “They took [MBO] over, without even telling Dan English---that’s the kind of power Fred MacGillivray had---and nobody forced him to put it back. Let me tell you something: Fred MacGillivery did whatever he damn well wanted to do. That’s how much power he had.”

“I’m concerned about it,” says Munroe of the transfer of Metro Box Office away from the city. “We have an open file on that. I’d like to understand that transaction. We’re having a look at it---it’s including in phase two [of the concerts investigation]. The city should seek legal advice as to what its course of action is.”

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