Ian Reid and Bob Mackin have been the leading journalists examining Paragon Gaming’s past relationship with Pavco. We knew Paragon had an inside track for the proposed casino at BC Place but it now seems theirs was the only horse in the race.
Reid’s BC Place meet Paragon Gaming, along with his earlier reports, exposes information demonstrating a back-room deal was in progress until public exposure and Gordon Campbell’s ignominious departure led to the deal imploding.
“…[Pavco consultant Brent] MacGregor’s meetings with Paragon – there were many more – suggest that BC Place wasn’t looking for the best casino operator, they were working with just one – Paragon.
“…From the pattern of events emerging from MacGregor’s billings it can be argued that the RFP for developers issued by Pavco was little more than window dressing. Paragon Gaming was the only one at the table right from the beginning.
“A 250 million dollar development of public land. One real proponent who happened to donate $50,000 to the government in the 2009 election – after achieving a rezoning permitting a casino expansion. Plus a part owner who’s a friend of the government chairing a major government corporation.
“A plan so badly put together it went down to defeat at a real public hearing two years later, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
“And taxpayers paid MacGregor up to $150,000 a year for four years for this?”
An early order of government business in 2013 will be revamping of the Pavco board of directors. (Susan Anton is a director!) Behind-closed-doors handling of the BC Place casino deal suggests Howard Crosley should be gone even before then. I realize the Paragon relationship was orchestrated at the highest political level but Crosley, as CEO of BC Place, cannot avoid responsibility for this shady deal-making. He was a tool for the dealmakers not a guardian for the public.