NS: City Hall in loop on Metro Centre deal, says former CEO

Alex Boutilier
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Metro Halifax

Trade Centre Ltd. made hundreds of thousands of dollars after taking over the Metro Centre’s box office, changing it to Ticket Atlantic, the municipality’s auditor general revealed Wednesday.

Former Trade Centre Ltd. CEO Fred MacGillivray.

[HALIFAX, NS] — Fred MacGillivray says there’s “no question” Halifax City Hall knew Trade Centre Ltd. planned to take over the Metro Centre’s box office operations.

MacGillivray, who helmed TCL in 2006 when the provincial Crown corporation assumed control of the municipality’s box office, said senior staff in HRM — as well as Mayor Peter Kelly — were in the loop on the deal.

“Of course, the file was handled by (current TCL CEO) Scott Ferguson … His discussions (were) with senior managers of the city of Halifax, (former CAO) Dan English, I assume (former deputy CAO) Wayne Anstey was involved,” MacGillivray said Wednesday. “The mayor of the city of Halifax and two members of council sit on Trade Centre’s board, so they would have attended all of the meetings when any of those discussions were taking place.”

The takeover of box office operations was one of the contributing factors to the concert cash scandal — where public funds were funneled to promoter Harold MacKay.

TCL made hundreds of thousands of dollars after taking over the Metro Centre’s box office, changing it to Ticket Atlantic, the municipality’s auditor general revealed Wednesday.

Larry Munroe could find no evidence suggesting the municipality knew about, let alone approved of, the provincial Crown corporation’s move.

His report shows the box office “contribution” to TCL’s coffers came in at over $881,000 in 2008-09, while HRM only received $115,400. In four out of six years since TCL created Ticket Atlantic, it has pulled in at least $100,000 more than the municipality.

The first correspondence between the city and TCL Munroe could find was an e-mail sent from then-CAO Dan English, asking MacGillivray to explain the switch. MacGillivray took more than a year to respond to that e-mail.

When asked why English would request an explanation if he was aware of TCL’s plans, MacGillivray suggested Metro should ask him.

Kelly refuted allegations directed at him by MacGillivray that he was of TCL’s planned takeover.

“At no time do I recollect this coming up for discussion and at no time have I seen any minutes and at no time am I aware that it was given permission from (HRM) to (TCL),” Kelly said.

Organizations: Trade Centre, Metro Centre

Geographic location: HALIFAX

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