Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sponsorship middlemen billed $1.8M, but did no work on deal

Canada.com reports the latest on the Adscam Scandel:

Organizer of outdoors show earned $100,000, while ex-PM's friend made 10 times that

MONTREAL - An events promoter who bought the exclusive federal government sponsorship rights to two small hunting and fishing shows for $100,000 turned around and billed taxpayers more than 10 times that amount to display the Canada wordmark.

Luc Lemay, president of Expour Inc., charged the government more than $1.8 million over five years to sponsor annual hunting and fishing shows in the Quebec cities of Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivieres that he bought the rights to for $10,000 each.

"I think it's f---ing bullshit," Gaetan Mondou, the small-town promoter who sold the shows to Mr. Lemay, testified yesterday at the Gomery inquiry into the sponsorship program.

"I don't know what's happening with the government and why they pay like that for my show, that's too much. ... Two million (dollars) to have some Canadian flags in the show, that's crazy."

But Mr. Mondou was particularly upset to discover most of the remaining $1.7 million didn't even go to Mr. Lemay, it went to another sponsorship middleman, Jacques Corriveau, a Liberal loyalist and good friend of former prime minister Jean Chretien.

Mr. Corriveau, who subcontracted for Mr. Lemay's Expour Inc., was paid $1 million for work that Mr. Mondou actually did.

"I think I should change my line of work," said Mr. Mondou when questioned about Mr. Corriveau's invoices.

Mr. Mondou's revelations came on the heels of Mr. Corriveau's two-day testimony in which he insisted that, as a subcontractor for Mr. Lemay, he provided consulting services for the various trade fairs and hunting and fishing shows put on by Expour. Mr. Corriveau, 72, has also been singled out by advertising executive Jean Brault in an alleged scam to funnel $1.1 million to the federal Liberal party, but he denies any wrongdoing.

Yesterday, Mr. Mondou testified that he sold the exclusive sponsorship rights in what he thought was a "reasonable" deal to Mr. Lemay's event promotion company.

According to that deal, Mr. Mondou was paid $100,000 over five years for the sponsorship rights to use the Canada logo. The deal included the logo on four to six banners, as well as promoting the federal government in radio and television advertisements for the show.

At the same time, Mr. Corriveau's design firm was getting $1 million for planning the show, communications and advertising.

Mr. Corriveau, an interior designer by trade who admitted he doesn't hunt or fish, billed for the same work done by Mr. Mondou and never attended either show. Mr. Mondou said he never saw Mr. Corriveau before he saw him testify at the inquiry. He said most signs with logos can be used from year to year, and shows like his don't need a lot of other signage, other than for the washroom.

"I always put my shows together. I did everything from A to Z -- the plan, the space, marketing, everything," said Mr. Mondou.

Documents tabled at the inquiry also showed that Mr. Lemay told the government the shows attracted crowds of up to 25,000 as part of its visibility strategy to boost the government's image in Quebec. Mr. Mondou, however, said they typically drew between 4,000 to 6,000 people depending on the weather.

Read the rest here.

Not bad work if you can STEAL it!

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