And it lasted almost until the day he quit.
That's the cold truth you're left with after reading the latest audit presented to city hall, an audit of five years of real estate deals conducted by the city under Sheegl's watch.
Phil Sheegl, the best friend of Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, was hired in April, 2008, as the director of the city's department of planning, property and development. In November, 2008, he was appointed deputy Chief Administrative Officer, and in 2011 he replaced Glen Laubenstein as CAO.
Three months after Sheegl got the planning job, the city announced it was looking for real estate advisors and brokers to "assist the city with real estate transactions". They eventually qualified five.
"In the transactions where an external advisor was retained, there was no documentation explaining the rationale why an external advisor was required for that particular transaction." stated the audit.
- Then, Shindico would use the insider information to give itself the edge (on, for example, price, available land, or finding a buyer) by the time the city issued a public tender. Sheegl would select Shindico as the best bidder and award them the contract.
- Then, during the time of the contract, Shindico would wind up doing scads of extra work that wasn't in the tender but for which Sheegl would approve payment.
- In February, 2009, Shindico got caught red-handed trying to profit from another of Sheegl's inside tips. Shindico had listed on its website the Winnipeg Square Parkade for sale---except that the property hadn't been declared surplus by city council.
- At the time, Sheegl, and Mayor Sam Katz, brushed off any hint of insider favoritism, claiming the listing by Shindico was just an error. Only, it wasn't, as you'll soon see.
* Shindico was the real estate broker on the sale of the parkade, starting way back in August, 2008, when Sheegl wrote them "I have informed that you will represent the city in any negotiations and/or listing."
- That was on a Friday. The next Monday, the Parkade was listed for sale on Shindico's website. One day later, after the press spotted the listing, it was down--- and Katz was lying about how it got there.
First posted: Thursday, February 12, 2009
Katz downplays parkade-for-sale ad
Mayor Sam Katz downplayed the listing of a city-owned parkade on a commercial real estate company's website, saying it was nothing more than a simple mistake.
On Monday, Shindico had listed the Winnipeg Square Parkade for sale on its website. The three-level, 932-stall structure, worth anywhere from $20 million to $50 million, also includes the air rights to the structure. That space could be available for an office or hotel tower.
Problem is, it's not for sale.
The listing was removed from the website Tuesday. Shindico informed Winnipeg's chief administrative officer Glen Laubenstein of its error and that explanation was enough to satisfy Katz yesterday.
"It's my understanding from the CAO that the company made an honest mistake and they apologized," he told reporters. "That's the end of it. I don't know of anybody who hasn't made a mistake."
"The bottom line is the property is not listed for sale."
The city is still debating the idea of selling off the parkade.
* On March 20, 2009, the city formally put the parkade up for sale. The tender did not reference any brokers fees or commissions.
This was dissected in the first of the trifecta of audits involving Phil Sheegl's tenure at city hall, and you can read the details in The Black Rod.
Suffice to say here that it followed the pattern exactly:
- a tip off from Sheegl,
- use of insider information to get the contract,
- Shindico's involvement kept a secret from city council,
- extension of one contract to other, lucrative, work,
and "abracadabra", taxpayers pay Shindico millions.
Oh, and Shindico built a firehall on land they owned, and now they're taunting the City to expropriate them and pay vastly more than they themselves valued the land at when construction started.
Yep, Phil Sheegl.
Guess who would have known that Asper was out before anyone.
Yep, Phil Sheegl.
See how this works?
How about when you learn the auditors discovered that Shindico received an advance copy of the city's Expression of Interest in the stadium site. It was 3 days later that the EOI was public knowledge.
"PPD (Property, Planning and Development), Legal Services and Materials Management were not aware that the EOI for the Polo Park Stadium site was provided in advance."
Gee, now who could have leaked it then?
When we left it, Shindico had signed a management contract. It was June, 2010.
"A city committee voted to cancel the property management contract within 90 days and the city's administration decided to keep it going to 230 days or so," Colin Craig, Manitoba director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said to the Winnipeg Sun. "If the city can do it for so little, why did they hire a private company in the first place?"