Skip to main content

Fire Hall fix was in. Ex-Fire Chief says Sheegl told him: "I want Shindico..."



The fix was in right from the start.

The external auditors who dissected the corpse of the Winnipeg Firehalls Fiasco looked for evidence of whether Shindico, the construction company owned by Mayor Sam Katz's friend and business partner, received special treatment when it got the nod to build four new fire stations.

Their audit, released to the public Monday, reveals that favoritism for Shindico permeated the whole project like stink on a skunk.

But the smoking gun doesn't appear until the end of Appendix G---three maps, one letter and two emails from the back cover.

It's a revelation by former Fire Chief Reid Douglas of a conversation he had with Phil Sheegl, who was then the Director of the Planning, Property and Development Department and Deputy CAO. Douglas, at the time, was the Deputy Fire Chief. Sheegl wasn't yet his boss; Sheegl wouldn't be confirmed as the city's Chief Administrative Officer, the most powerful man in Winnipeg, for another two years.

But both men were working together on the firehalls project. Sheegl's boss, the CAO who he eventually replaced, had given him the job of assuming "oversight of the project," as the audit put it. Douglas was ordered by his boss to "take (the) lead role on behalf" of the Firefighter and Paramedic Service.

The City had issued an RFQ---a request for qualifications -- to developers to narrow down the pool of those who were interested and able to do the job. Prospects were asked if they could design, build, finance and maintain four new fire-and-paramedic stations in Charleswood, St. James, River Heights and Sage Creek.

It was April 20, 2009. Douglas told the auditors that they were in the CAO's office when the RFQ was put out and Sheegl told him flat out, "I want Shindico to build these firehalls."

Bada bing, bada boom.

Reid Douglas, who's been painted as the ringmaster of the firehalls scandal ever since the story broke 14 months ago, told the auditors he responded,"Then, let's hope they're the low bidder, then."  What a rube.

The alleged Sheegl declaration puts a whole new perspective on what happened next.

Six developers were informed they had made the cut, including, obviously, Shindico.

A month later, Sheegl, Douglas and a firefighters union rep were sent to London, Ontario to suss out firehall designs which could be used as a template for the four new stations in Winnipeg. They found one.

Early in the new year, 2010, the City issued a Request for Proposal to the six developers that had been identified. The terms of the RFP kept changing, and by the deadline only one bid had been received---from Shindico.  It was for way more than the city intended to spend, $18 million for the four stations instead of the city budgeted $15 million.

Too rich for our blood, said city officials.

But by the end of June, 2010, it was a done deal---Shindico was the favoured developer on "the project."  There was never another moment when anyone else was even in the running.  Sheegl's alleged wish had come true. Here's how...

*  Despite having its bid rejected, Shindico was given the nod from the Fire Department and the city's Material Management division to design the new St. James fire station, even though one email discovered by the auditors warned:

"We discussed the risks of direct negotiation with Shindico. Other builders could
complain that the City did not provide an opportunity to compete in a bid build
process."

*  In August, reps from Shindico and Pre-Con Builders, the construction firm they would use to build all four stations, were traveling with city officials back to London, Ontario to discuss design elements.

* On Sept. 23, 2010, the city received an official construction estimate for a fire station in Sage Creek based on the London, Ontario design. It said costs would be higher than the $3 million the city budget called for.  File this information away for a second.

By this time, Sheegl was the man in charge of the city.  His boss, Glen Laubenstein, had resigned as of Sept. 14, 2010.  But Sheegl had been calling the shots for a lot longer, as you can see from four paragraphs up.

*  On Jan. 14, 2011, the city issued a Request for Proposals for Sage Creek, based on the London, Ontario design.  Remember, they had already been told it could not be built for the money the city had allotted.
Shindico informed the city auditors that a never identified mystery man from the city asked them for an alternate design for the new Winnipeg fire stations. Shindico was also the only developer who was allegedly encouraged to submit an alternate design in their bid.

* When the tender closed a month later they had eight bids in hand. All the bids were rejected. Seven because they were too high and Shindico's because it wasn't based on the London, Ontario design.

"The Bidders, other than Shindico, were not aware of the City’s $3 million budget nor were they aware of the alternate design possibility, both of which had been discussed with Shindico." states the audit report.

In short, Shindico knew the fire hall couldn't be built on the Ontario design at the price the city wanted to pay. So they didn't bother bidding, they just put in their own design to get the jump on the competition.  It worked.

Don't gloss over what happened.

City officials knew in late Sept. 2010 that the Ontario design was too expensive for the Winnipeg budget. BUT they still issued an RFP for Sage Creek based on the Ontario design in January, 2011. The only conclusion is that the tender was a deliberate ploy to eliminate non-favoured developers. Anyone following instructions was sure to produce a bid that was unacceptable.  And that's precisely what happened.
Only one failed to follow the rules and that developer, Shindico, was rewarded---by Phil Sheegl.

On March 10, 2011, CAO Phil Sheegl informed Reid Douglas that Shindico, once again the company that didn't win the tender, was getting the job.

"As soon as we commit to the alternate plan with them I’m sure we can conclude Taylor. WE ARE DOING THE ALTERNATE PLAN WE HAVE NO CHOICE otherwise all bets are off and we have no Sage Creek station and 20 firefighters for that non station approved in the 2011 operating budget."
And one, two, three, four.  Like that. Shindico got each and every job to build Winnipeg's new fire stations. Never once did they win a tender bid. But they had a friend on the inside. Right from the start.

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on Bebo.com, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police