Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Lottogate's David dies as Goliath becomes more implicated

A true Canadian grassroots hero has just passed away.

Lottery whistleblower Bob Edmonds died of cancer yesterday - just days after the OLG finally issued a "formal written apology to Mr. Edmonds and agreed to compensate him for $72,000 in legal expenses that were not covered by the settlement agreement."

The Star has a lengthy tribute including glowing words of praise from Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin:

"He'll be remembered as the guy who just wouldn't go away," said Marin, crediting the 83-year-old's David-and-Goliath battle with the lottery corporation as the catalyst for an investigation that accuses unscrupulous retailers of bilking millions in lottery winnings from unsuspecting customers.

Meanwhile, things are starting to heat up as the focus inches ever closer to the office of the Premier. David Caplan and Dalton McGuinty had been denying any government involvement with the OLG's public relations offensive to counteract the fraud fallout.

Yet John Tory seems to suggest a link:

Tory revealed yesterday that Don Guy, McGuinty's former chief of staff and the chairman of his upcoming election campaign, attended a meeting with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. officials who were doing damage control following a report by the CBC's Fifth Estate into insider lottery wins.

And it gets worse:

Documents obtained by Sun Media show that Bob Lopinski, another key McGuinty adviser who left the premier's office for a job with the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, was also invited to the Oct. 29 meeting with former McGuinty communications director Jim Warren and Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella.

The OLG eventually launched a media relations campaign claiming retailers win more lottery prizes because they buy more tickets -- an argument later destroyed by Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin, who found the shopkeepers and retailers won more because they likely defrauded their customers.

Marin said the OLG knew at the time that retailers could have corrupted the system.

Yesterday in the Legislature's Question Period, John Tory said of Don Guy that "We are not dealing here with just some guy off the street. This is your main man, the big cheese."

Well that cheese must be Limburger, because it's starting to stink.

Mr. Guy has confirmed his involvement.

Let's hope that John Tory pursues this matter so that we are able to find out the truth - for our sake and for the memory of Bob Edmonds.


Swift said...

Win every draw. Don't buy a ticket.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Good plan, Swift! That's certainly what I intend to do.

Pissed Liberal said...

This is the tip of the iceburg in terms of what Don Guy has done at the OLGC. The Libs have been using it at Don't direction for fundraising, tickets, etc. This will get ugly.

Anonymous said...

I think you missed something here: Warren Kinsella. This could be a problem for him too. Why? Well he is a liberal strategist and he would have told McGuinty to bury this story lest we embarras the immigrant and minority store owners and workers who always vote liberal. We would need them in the next election, thus we have to protect them here in order to help ourselves, even though we know they committed wrongs. (real conservative)