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  • authored by news
  • published Wed, Oct 22, 2003

The UFCW's Drama in the Bahamas

UFCW's Drama in the Bahamas

Last week we brought you news about an enormous investment by UFCW Canada's pension plan (CCWIPP) in a couple of troubled hotels in the Bahamas. Well, the temperature's rising and the plot's getting thicker. According to yesterday's Bahamas Tribune, CCWIPP has about $200 million sunk into the hotels, little hope of seeing a return and more money's on it's way! Where's the regulator you may be asking? After confirming months ago that it was conducting a review of the troubled pension plan, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario now won't confirm or deny that it's doing anything. An FSCO spokesperson seemed unaware of CCWIPP's Bahamian misadventure. This should shed a little light:

From The Bahamas Tribune
Neil Hartnell, Business Editor
Yolanda Deleveaux, Business Reporter
October 21, 2003

The Canadian pension fund that is the main financial backer for the British Colonial Hilton and the South Ocean Golf & Beach Resort will subsidise $5 million of the latter's predicted $7 million loss for fiscal 2003, even though its last audited statement reveals that it has unfunded liabilities of just under $200 million.

The Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan (CCWIPP), a scheme that has more than Canadian $1 billion in assets, has by The Tribune's calculations more than Canadian $200 million tied up in investments in the Bahamian resort industry, and that commitment is set to increase.

The report on the 'right-sizing programme' for the South Ocean Golf & Beach Resort, produced by a CCWIPP subsidiary, PRK Holdings, said $5 million of the hotel's predicted $7 million 2003 loss would be provided by Propco, another subsidiary of the pension fund that controls PRK. The other $2 million were non-cash expenses.

The PRK report said: 'In fact, the anticipated loss for the 2003 fiscal year [at South Ocean] will exceed forecasted revenues. Notwithstanding this exceedingly bleak expectation and financial history, Propco has funded all losses to date and will continue to underwrite and pay all creditors' claims.

'To put another perspective on the extent of the loss situation, the $5 million cash subsidy required of Propco for 2003 will exceed the total annual payroll (including all payroll benefits and gratuities collected from guests and paid over to employees) of the entire resort operation.' The PRK report thus confirms that a pension fund with unfunded liabilities is being forced to subsidise a loss-making resort operation, raising question marks over CCWIPP's investment strategy, especially since its assets of Canadian $1.081 billion are exceeded by liabilities of some Canadian $1.271 billion.

A copy of CCWIPP's last audited financial statements, produced by BDO Dunwoody for the year ended December 31, 2002, reveals that the last actuarial review of the pension fund found that 'there was an excess of actuarial liabilities over actuarial assets of Canadian $190.114 million on the going concern basis'.

Meanwhile, CCWIPP's solvency deficiency is estimated at between almost Canadian $400 million and Canadian $600 million, according to its last actuarial review, meaning that if the fund were wound up tomorrow it would be unable to cover all the pension benefits owing to plan members.

Apart from subsidising this year's loss, through Propco and PRK, CCWIPP has sunk more than $30 million into South Ocean, including $10 million for capital improvements and $20 million cash to subsidise the resort's operating losses over the past five years since it was purchased in 1998 by RHK Holdings for $18 million. PRK was established after RHK Holdings ran into financial difficulties.

Propco has also had to assume responsibility for a $14 million mortgage on the property and a $1 million operating loan, meaning that CCWIPP is responsible for some $50 million in capital tied up in South Ocean. Propco is also hoping to spend $5 million on modernising South Ocean's golf course over the next 15 months.

Again, through another of its Propco companies, the 'right-sizing report' adds that CCWIPP is responsible for $105 million in debt owed by the British Colonial Hilton, made up of $31 million in bank loans and $74 million in advances. Combined with the $50 million invested in subsidising and improving South Ocean, this means CCWIPP's total exposure in the Bahamas is $155 million. However, converting this to Canadian dollars, which yesterday stood at 1.3208 to the US $, means that CWIPP, in its home currency, has a $204.724 million exposure in the Bahamas. This means that almost 19 per cent of the pension fund's assets are tied up in two Bahamian hotel properties.

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario, which regulates CCWIPP, yesterday refused to confirm or deny Canadian media reports that it is conducting a 'review' of the pension fund. However, a spokeswoman admitted she was unaware of the depth of the fund's involvement in the Bahamas.

The PRK report said: 'Propco maintains a growing investment in the Nassau resort industry, currently amounting to $155 million, and expects this to investment to increase in the coming year through additional asset purchases and loss subsidies. It should be noted that no interest has been charged by Propco, nor capitalised into the losses of South Ocean and British Colonial Hilton since the formation of PRK.' Adding that Propco - the pension fund - 'faces a daunting challenge' to get both hotels into acceptable profitability, the report said 'Propco's directors have indicated that an endless subsidisation of South Ocean's operating losses is not an option'.

Michael Hooper, the British Colonial Hilton's general manager, previously told The Tribune that although the resort was earning an operating profit, it was not generating a return for its owner even though it was faring better than many rival Nassau properties. CCWIPP funds the holding companies for the two resorts - British Colonial Development Company and South Ocean Development Company - through two separate wholly-owned subsidiaries that share the name Propco. CCWIPP operates more than 50 companies with the name ‘Propco', each one believed to relate to a separate investment.

CCWIPP, which was founded in 1979, is a defined benefit pension plan that more than 150,000 active members employed by 400 different companies. A multi-employer pension plan, contributions to it are made by participating employers on behalf of bargaining unit employees who are members of CCWIPP. Most members come from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and are frequently part-time, relatively unskilled workers.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Wed, Oct 22, 2003 10:13am

Unfuckingbelievable. In the US they would be in prison and members of bubba's butt boy team. Course father ron might like that.

Guess i shouldn't have said that...bless me father for i have sinned. Oh shit, can father ron still hear confessions?

This is sickening, and i don't mean my reply. Guess some of the folks that attended the IFEBP sessions didn't take in the classes we ran on Situational Ethics and Fiduciary Responsibilities. Maybe next time.

  • posted by blasdell
  • Wed, Oct 22, 2003 10:57am

Who Is "propco" and what is the agency NOT investigating anymore and how can they be contacted?

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Wed, Oct 22, 2003 12:19pm

The "Propco" company mentioned in this article is one of many "investment corporations" that CCWIPP has set up to flow money to various businesses in which it has made investments. According to the various articles that have appeared on this web site over past couple of years, there are over 50 of these investment corporations in existence in Canada. Money travels from CCWIPP to a Propco to the company that is either borrowing money from CCWIPP or selling shares to CCWIPP. It's an odd arrangement from my perspective.

The regulatory agency mentioned in the article is the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO). Since CCWIPP is registered in Ontario, the FSCO is the regulatory agency responsible for ensuring that it complies with pension legislation.

As I understand it, sometime last year FSCO stated it was conducting an "audit" of CCWIPP. They later changed their tune and have called whatever it is that they are doing a "review".

That they would be unwilling to confirm or deny that they are conducting a review is quite disturbing IMO. This is a government agency that has a pretty important mandate in terms of protecting the public interest.

You can contact the FSCO at at pensions@fsco.gov.on.ca or call (416) 250-7250 or toll free 1-800-668-0128.

  • posted by yankeebythewater
  • Wed, Oct 22, 2003 1:37pm

Yet, another chapter to the novel of how many unions today are mismanaged, how the rank and file have no say in the where there pension funds are going.

Union members seem to believe because they are making contributions to a pension plan, it will be there in their 'golden years'. Think again, you see news like this, you can't even puke no more.

I have saw this same scenario played out with the UA. I don't like it.

What the heck, do they all need a special hotel to hold clandestined meetings? One has to wonder what 'does go on behind close doors'?

Education is the key. It is sites like MFD that the word is spread ~ and the word does have to spread.

Unless the rank and file change their attitudes,
become educated, realize their vote does count and come forth with a vote, nothing much is going to change.

The rank and file will make the difference. Think about this when you UFCW members vote.

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, Oct 22, 2003 8:55pm

From what I've heard, the golf course at South Ocean has been taken back by the owners. I've also heard that the CCWIPP has dumped millions into the place and is planning on dumping over $5 more million in this year. Without the golf course, the place isn't worth much more than $8 or $9 million.

The CCWIPP has told the workers to start taking vacation and to be prepared for big layoffs.

Is this simply throwing good money after bad? I think so.

Hey, and don't get me started on the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, the Jamaica Hilton or Crand Ridge resorts. You might not want to hear about the Pinestone resort either.

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Oct 23, 2003 6:40am

quote:


BCDC's audited balance sheet for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2002 shows that since re-opening to the public as the BC Hilton, the hotel has an accumulated deficit from annual operating losses of [US] $34.0 million. For example, the losses incurred during each of the past two fiscal years by BCDC were $6.7 and $4.0 million respectively.


I would think that loss from one of many bad investment would affect the CCWIPP's ability to take good care of my pension all right.

  • posted by laura
  • Thu, Oct 23, 2003 10:13am

Are all the pension funds for all the UFCW locals tied into CCWIPP ?

  • posted by unionnow
  • Thu, Oct 23, 2003 10:37am

quote:


The Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan (CCWIPP), a scheme that has more than Canadian $1 billion in assets, has by The Tribune's calculations more than Canadian $200 million tied up in investments in the Bahamian resort industry, and that commitment is set to increase.


Close to 20% of their money invested in the Bahamian resort industry? Sound like the old Teamsters Central States Trust Fund days all over again.

quote:


CCWIPP, which was founded in 1979, is a defined benefit pension plan that more than 150,000 active members employed by 400 different companies.


There is that year again, 1979. That is the year the accelerated destruction of the middle class started.

"Ruin engineered from every angle imaginable' should be the motto of the UFCW.

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Oct 23, 2003 11:29am

quote:


posted by laura:
Are all the pension funds for all the UFCW locals tied into CCWIPP ?


No, but the UFCW seems bent on having all of them rolled into CCWIPP.

CCWIPP for the moment has enough employer contributions comming in to fund monthly pension payments, but if they had to rely on liquidating the self-adminstered investments, I'd say "look out."

It's a tangled web, but you can trace all too many of the dog investments back to RHK Capital and its spinoffs.

Are the valuations of the self-invested funds reliable to figure out today's value? They may not be and probably are not.

What happens if a whole bunch of CCWIPP members retire this year? Well, let's just hope there isn't too many.

Maybe the CCWIPP brain trust could elect someone to put a post or two in this thread to set our minds to rest.

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Oct 23, 2003 7:41pm

I'm heading to my bank tomorrow to ask them to paint my house and fix my car, and while they are at it, I'm gonna ask them to convert my loans to interest free and then suspend the loan payments.

quote:


Propco maintains a growing investment in the Nassau resort industry currently amounting to $155.0 million and expects this investment to Increase in the coming year through additional

asset purchases and loss subsidies. It should be noted that no interest has been charged by Propco, nor capitalized into the losses of SODC and BCDC, since the formation of PRK.


BCDc stands for the British Colonial Development Company. SODC stands for the South Ocean Development Company. PRK stands for Propco Ron Kelly. The $155 million is in US funds, so at the end of 2002 that amount was worth close to one quarter billion in Canadian funds.

Makes ya wonder what the investment strategy is.

 -

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Oct 24, 2003 4:45pm

BTW, just think, if CCWIPP charged 11% interest on the $155 million, the monthly interest payment would be about $1.3 or $1.4 million, and the principal would be about $130 thousand. By not charging interest, or accruing it against RHK properties, $15 to $16 million per year to the pension fund might be lost forever.

What's scary though is that the properties probably aren't worth anywhere near the $155 million. That leaves one wondering why the CCWIPP doesn't simply forclose and sell the properties for what they are worth and then invest that money rather than sit on the amount and collect no interest whatsoever, and then pump more money, which will probably be unrecoverable, into the properties?

What's really sad is that all the people in Ontario that just got screwed by the Loblaw/UFCW deal also have all their pensions tied up in the CCWIPP.

It would be terrible to have your wages and hours cut and then find out that your pension plan is insolvent.

  • posted by yankeebythewater
  • Fri, Oct 24, 2003 5:37pm

And, UFCW - the pension plan is where?

Surely, some of the executives could tell you that, oh but, wait, perhaps they are . . .

And, UFCW vote is when?

And, you UFCW members will vote? Won't you?
Will your rank and file members actually take the time to vote?

Let you not find another union executive and union officials voted in because a member did not take the time...to vote.

Time is now..look at whose is running ...
I doubt that the gym is going to save any of the fat asses.

Go forth and vote, members VOTE!

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Fri, Oct 24, 2003 6:58pm

That's the problem, ybtw. In many UFCW locals in Canada, the members don't get to vote. The member who is waging the big battle against the backroom deal his local did with a major supermarket, belongs to a local where officers are elected by a small committee that is made up of people who have a lot of reasons to vote for the guy who's in charge.

That doesn't mean they're stuck with the rot forever. If you can't get rid of autocratic leaders, you can always decertify them and join another union. In terms of the high strangeness that's going on with the pension fund, I'd be taking my issues to the regulator, the cops, the media, anywhere where I might get some attention. Certainly, I'm encouraged to see members talking about their concerns openly here on MFD.

These UFCW guys can't stand this web site because they think we make them look stupid. They've got it all wrong. They make themselves look stupid. We just talk about it.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, Oct 25, 2003 4:54pm

It's a shame that CCWIPP's legacy could be leaving a couple of hundred thousand people with lesser or, in the worst scenario, no pension. However, all those people will be able to go to the public library and log on to the Internet to see where their pension contributions went.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Oct 26, 2003 1:29pm

Y'know, something that's really interesting is that CCWIPP bailed out RHK Capital in its Galleria Mall (London Ontario) fiasco by taking on the Bank of Nova Scotia Loan to the tune of nearly $50 million. That same year, CCWIPP further helped out RHK Capital by taking responsibility for a US $15 million Bahamian loan taken by RHK with the Bank of Nova Scotia:

quote:


Propco, which controls PRK, has, since the outset of its involvement with RHK and SODC, advanced in excess of $30 million to SODC through PRK. These advances include approximately $10 million for capital improvements to SOGB and $20 million cash to subsidize operating losses of SODC during the five years since the resort's 1998 acquisition. Accordingly, Propco has provided, or is responsible for, the total invested capital in SODC of approximately $50 million, [b]including the BNS loans.[/b[


The CCWIPP using pension money to help out one of Canada's largest banks is wrong--plain wrong. The Bank of Nova Scotia should share in the losses suffered by lending money to RHK Capital and its associated companies.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Sun, Oct 26, 2003 1:42pm

You know what's scary about these deals W? There is usually a finders fee or some such name for the guys who secure the "loans." Seldom is that information readily available. It would be nice to see some of the "boys" tax statements and whether they are making a killing off these bad deals.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Oct 26, 2003 1:57pm

D'ya mean somephin like this:

quote:


Case Financial Inc.,
15060 Ventura Boulevard,
Suite 240,
Sherman Oaks, California,
91403

Attn: Eric Alden
CEO

Dear Eric,
Re: Finders Fee Agreement

Mike Schaffer and John Irvine ("the finders") have introduced Case Financial Inc. ("the company") to various entities and individuals over the course of the last 9 months in an effort to secure funding for the companies ongoing business. These entities are CCWIPP, Dundee Bancorp and associated & designated companies, Clifford Evans, Ned Goodman, Standard Securities Inc., Peter Martini, Ralph Tersigni, BoilerMakers Union, Retrocomm Funds et al. In the event that there are any other entitities that the Finder(s) wish to introduce the Company the entity must first be approved by the Company in writing.

The finders and the company have agreed to the following fees payable to the finders for their efforts and success in arranging the required capital for the company. The terms are as follows:

1. All compensation is to be split and paid separately 1/3 to Schaffer and 2/3 to Irvine

2. Cash: 10% of proceeds received at closing(s) for each particular closing, payable in 3 equal annual installments commencing January 6, 2003 for the initial closing assuming it closes and in 3 equal annual installments for each subsequent closing, but in no case, commencing later than 30 days after each particular closing.

3. Warrants: Warrants to purchase 100,000 Common Shares for each $1.0 Million in proceeds, four year term, exercise price of $0.50, and upon such other terms and conditions as the warrants to be issued in the Financing.

4. Costs: company shall reimburse finders $25,000 in costs, less expenses previously advanced.

5. Compensation is due and payable only in the event any of the aforesaid investors consumate a financing with the Company within twelve months from the date of this Agreement....

...Gentlemen:

Reference is made to that certainConfidential Term Sheet dated November 27, 2002 (the "Confidential Term Sheet"), a copy of which has been provided to and read by the undersigned, I.F. Propco (Ontario) 32 Ltd., an Ontario corporation (the "Subscriber"). Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, all capitalized terms used in this Subscription Agreement (the "Subscription Agreement") and not otherwise defined will have the meaning provided in the Confidential Term Sheet will have the same meaning when used herein. By execution hereof, the Subscriber evidences its desire to purchase one (1) Unit from Case Financial, Inc. (the "Company"), as more particularly described below (the "Unit"). By its execution hereof, the Subscriber expressly acknowledges and agrees that the Company is relying upon the accuracy and completeness of the representations of Subscriber contained herein in complying with the Company's obligations under applicable securities laws.

1. SUBSCRIPTION COMMITMENT. The Subscriber hereby subscribes for the purchase of one (1) Unit and, as full payment therefor, agrees to pay to the Company, concurrently with the Subscriber's execution and delivery hereof, the Unit purchase price of Two Million and 00/100 Dollars ($2,000,000.00). The Unit consists of a Promissory Note, dated as of the date hereof, and delivered by the Company to the Subscriber, in the principal amount of Two Million and 00/100 Dollars ($2,000,000.00) (the "Note"), a Warrant to purchase Two Million (2,000,000) shares of the Company's Common Stock, $0.001 par value (the "Common Stock"), at an exercise price of $0.50 per share of Common Stock, and a Warrant to purchase 1,000,000 shares of Common Stock at an exercise price of $0.80 per share of Common Stock (together, the "Warrants"). The shares of Common Stock issuable upon exercise of the Warrants shall be referred to herein as the "Warrant Stock", and the Unit, the Note, the Warrants, and the Warrant Stock, shall be referred to herein collectively as the "Securities". The form of Note and Warrants are attached hereto as Exhibit A....

........IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned do hereby execute this Subscription
Agreement this ____ day of December, 2002.

I.F. PROPCO (ONTARIO) 32 LTD., and CASE FINANCIAL, INC., a Delaware
Ontario corporation corporation

By: /s/ Clifford R. Evans By:
----------------------------- --------------------------------
Name: Clifford R. Evans Name:
Its: President Its:


Sorry about the formatting. Cliff is not a signator for Case, but is for Propco.

This deals with Case Financial and the money was loaned to Case and the guys who got the "finders" fee are well know to those familiar with Asia Web/Acubid/Infinity Telesystems/WebGalaxy and so on.

  • posted by yankeebythewater
  • Sun, Oct 26, 2003 2:06pm

Finders fee? hmm...show me the money - which union executive would actually pay for a finders fee?

One has to wonder with the fine group of pencil pushers - 10 to 1 - any executive member of any union has a tax return - that would be, picture pencil perfect!

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Oct 26, 2003 3:00pm

Oh and BTW, just in case you don't know who the two "finders" are:

quote:


MICHAEL A. SCHAFFER - 57, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Schaffer received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hunter College in 1964 and a Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School in 1967 and was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York in 1967 and practiced law through 1974. From 1972 to 1974, Mr. Schaffer owned an interest in a broker dealer with offices in New York, New York and Los Angeles, California. Since 1975, Mr. Schaffer has been a private investor. Since 1970, Mr. Schaffer has had a high degree of involvement with collectibles, such as rare stamps. Mr. Schaffer is one of the founders of WebGalaxy, Inc., a non-reporting, publicly traded Internet service provider based in Carlsbad, California. Mr. Schaffer joined management of the Company in 1994 and since April, 1999, Mr. Schaffer has devoted 100% of his time to the Company's business.

JOHN S. IRVINE -..48 Director. BA & MBA, Western University, Toronto Canada. John is President of both Affinity TeleSystems Inc. of Canada and U.S.A. Affinity TeleSystems. Affinity is a marketing management company in the telecommunications field with strong affiliation to the labor movement. Prior to founding Affinity, Mr. Irvine was employed in senior management positions in the Banking and Office products industries. Mr. Irvine is an officer and director of WebGalaxy, Inc., a non-reporting publicly traded Internet service provider based in Carlsbad, California. Other than acting as a Director, Mr. Irvine is not involved in the day-to-day management of the Company.


They are a bit older today because these bios were done in 1999.

They do have deep roots in the labour movement. You can check out these complaints filed in the Hoffa election campaign. Click on the binoculars and search for Irvine or Schaffer. Try our UFCW man McNutt too.

Ya, that's the same WebGalaxy that CCWIPP lost close to $2.2 million in and ya, those are the bios from Acubid/Asia Web Holdings where CCWIPP and Andora Holdings dumped about another $3 million into a black hole. Now CCWIPP has dumped US $2 million into Case, but over US $200 thousand never arrived because these guys got it for "finding" CCWIPP????? At the time, The Case investment in US funds would be aobut $3 million Canadian.

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, Oct 27, 2003 6:34am

CCWIPP has bailed out RHK at least two times by covering its Scotia Bank obligations. Why is it that Scotia Bank won't stand for defaults but the CCWIPP not only accepts them, but by the looks of it, they seem to seek them out?

  • posted by siggy
  • Mon, Oct 27, 2003 6:45am

quote:


Why is it that Scotia Bank won't stand for defaults but the CCWIPP not only accepts them, but by the looks of it, they seem to seek them out?


I was thinking the same thing, why would a pension fund jump in to save a loan from going bad and then do it again? Maybe ccwipp thinks it's the Canadian government and is propping up all the losers just to save the entity. That still doesn't explain why tho does it?

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, Oct 27, 2003 7:55am

When you look at the Galleria, if it was going down the tube, the Bank of Nova Scotia would have lost close to $50 million, and the CCWIPP close the $18 million. However, if it sold out of bankruptcy for $50 million once, it might sell for that price again. As the Scotia Bank had first dibs on the property, it might have had first dibs on the money when the place was sold. However, taking on an additional $50 million in debt to protect your $18 million is pretty risky. Hey, and where did the $5 million go that RHK got by selling the Bay portion of the mall to the London Library? Now the place is worth much less than the original $50 million. Hmmmm....

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, Oct 28, 2003 5:41am

I see that bb says in another thread that Local 1000a has called a meeting at the famed Keele Street HoJo. That's the hotel that the CCWIPP financed for Ron Kelly. Apparently Ron sold half to a labour sponsored investment fund. Look above:

quote:


Re: Finders Fee Agreement

Mike Schaffer and John Irvine ("the finders") have introduced Case Financial Inc. ("the company") to various entities and individuals over the course of the last 9 months in an effort to secure funding for the companies ongoing business. These entities are CCWIPP, Dundee Bancorp and associated & designated companies, Clifford Evans, Ned Goodman, Standard Securities Inc., Peter Martini, Ralph Tersigni, BoilerMakers Union, Retrocomm Funds et al. In the event that there are any other entitities that the Finder(s) wish to introduce the Company the entity must first be approved by the Company in writing....


While the members are meeting in the hotel that they paid for, they should be asking "brother Corporate" how exactly is CCWIPP going to pay their pensions when they retire? They should be asking him about whether Loblaw Companies or any of its related entities upped their CCWIPP contributions just before the talks to reduce the Loblaw Comanies' contracts began.

Hey, isn't a sweet pension on the table as an incentive for people to bail? Does anyone know for sure that CCWIPP can meet its pension obligations now and in the future.

CCWIPP is under review by a number of agencies and since the review began, CCWIPP has pulled way back on its reporting.

I'm not kidding, ask about your pension plan at the meeting.

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, Oct 28, 2003 8:08am

Oh, pinky-orange, what a lovely color:

quote:


The Hilton Kingston Hotel now stands tangerine and tall in the high energy business and financial district of New Kingston, in a deliberate plan by the hotel's owners to rebrand it as a centre of cultural and artistic expression.

Now virtually impossible to miss, the managers of the property say the colour is meant to epitomise their vision of what Kingston ought to be a bright and beautiful tropical city whose cultural base should be one of its major drawing cards and that it is also meant to influence other properties and businesses to add more colours to the New Kingston area.

The hue was also chosen to reflect a similar atmosphere of the hotel's sister property in Nassau, Bahamas, the British Colonial Hilton, which is painted yellow, said general manager Frank Rosheuvel.

For the past two years, Hilton Kingston, under the leadership of Rosheuvel, has undergone noticeable cosmetic repair and product upgrades of its guest rooms, grounds and side services.

The hotel has invested US$2.2 million in "soft refurbishing", with some of the most recent improvements reflected in the refurbished pool area, now laid with new tiles, new landscaping, and the colour transformation which is still fresh enough that the paint smell lingers in some areas of the property.

Another US$1 million is earmarked for further upgrades over the next year.

"We are working towards the future," said Rosheuvel, noting that the owners of the property continue to have high confidence in Jamaica and its potential for business, notwithstanding what he described as the city's tendency to focus too much on its crime problem....


CCWIPP has no problem pumping money into swimming pools and golf courses. If the place is such a deal, why isn't it sold so that CCWIPP can recoup some of its huge losses?

  • posted by blasdell
  • Tue, Oct 28, 2003 10:43am

I spoke to the Financial Securities Commission today and asked if there had been any significant increases in contribution to the plan by Loblaws.She said if I requested in writing and proved I was a member of the plan she would request the information from Loblaws.She also explained the difference between an investigation and an examination.The difference is investigations deal with search warrants and subpeonas, court orders etc.there has to be an examination first and if there are problems charges may be filed under either the provincial offenses act or the criminal code.If the charges are under the criminal code the RCMP becomes involved.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, Oct 28, 2003 12:06pm

Well it's good to see that the fine folks at FSCO have confirmed that they're doing something. I'm assuming that your written request is on its way!

  • posted by blasdell
  • Tue, Oct 28, 2003 2:29pm

Not yet,But very Soon,gotta find that statement

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, Oct 28, 2003 5:18pm

This is a very good time to be asking the FSCO people what's going on. What with a new government just taking office, ambitious public servants do not want to get caught snoozing at the wheel.

  • posted by blasdell
  • Wed, Oct 29, 2003 5:11am

I forgot to mention yesterday that the Financial Services Commission is aware of this site.I asked the woman on the phone "have you been to the site",she was evasive with her answer and replied "we are aware there is a site".Keep up the good....excellent work.

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, Oct 29, 2003 6:37am

I'd phone Tom Golfetto Director, Pension Plans Branch Financial Services Commission of Ontario and ask him what the heck he's doing about this plan. He can be reached by phoning: (416) 226-7776. Ask for his e-mail address so that you can e-mail him threads from the site.

I'm sure it's been done before. Try this address: pensions@fsco.gov.on.ca

Make sure you address it to Tom and ask for a reply.

ed=fixlink

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, Oct 29, 2003 8:55pm

Ah, these guys are so generous with the members' pension money. Even though they have close to one quarter billion dollars "sunk" into this debacle, they are the big shots who:

quote:


Propco has unwaveringly funded the payment of all debts of both BCDC and SODC as required. It has paid all taxes and government levies, all utility bills of the publicly-owned utility companies amounting to millions of dollars (unlike, apparently, some other, directly competitive resorts in Nassau), and all payrolls, payroll benefits and license fees. In addition, it has made available to the general public the opportunity for local residents, individually or through organizations, to play golf at South Ocean Golf Club, at prices subsidized by the company.


The "company" is losing money hand over fist. The rounds of golf aren't being subsidized by the friggin' company, they are being subsidized by UFCW members who are far away and watching their pension money being pissed away.

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Oct 30, 2003 3:25am

I've heard that the investigation has widened.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Thu, Oct 30, 2003 5:59am

Gotta ask W, if some of the boys end up in the big house (not Cliff's place in Florida), will you be gloating?

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Oct 30, 2003 7:11am

If people wind up in jail, and that remains to be seen, then I think that this site and lots of concerned caring people played an important part in ensuring that justice is served and that 200 thousand Canadians had at least part of their deserved pensions salvaged.

It ain't the prospect of jail, as much as the prospect of having corruption and stupidity stopped.
Sometimes it's not criminal to be a stupid patsy--again and again. However, it is against other legislation.

Ya, and I'm with you, I don't think anyone will be allowed to spend time in the Boca Raton compound. Hey, and not even the retirement gift house in Florida either. Cliff doesn't like visitors that much.

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Oct 30, 2003 8:49pm

If you look at the following excerpt from a US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, you will see that CCWIPP is a major owner of Acubid that later turns into Asia Web Holdings and later into Case Financial. You'll also notice that CCWIPP's Bahamian lawyer invests a whack of dough into Acubid just after the Bahamas hotels are bought. Likewise you will see some familiar names like Michael Schaffer.

quote:


In August and September, 1999, pursuant to a private placement offering, the Company issued 3,950,000 shares of Convertible Redeemable Preferred Stock which is convertible 1 share of the preferred into 0.66 shares of Common Stock beginning on February 2, 2000. Assuming that all 3,950,000 was converted on that date and no additional Common Stock was issued, there would be 8,678,851 shares of Common Stock outstanding. In that event, Lawrence Schaffer and Michael Schaffer would no longer be holders of 5% or more of the outstanding Common Stock; however, there would be two purchasers of the preferred shares that would hold in excess of 5% of the outstanding Common Stock. [b]Andora Holdings Ltd., a Bahamian corporation whose address is c/o[b] David Johnstone, Lennox Paton, Devonshire House, Queen Street, Nassau, Bahamas, purchased 750,000 shares of the preferred stock which would convert into 499,950 shares of Common Stock which would constitute 5.76% of Common Stock outstanding, assuming all shares of the preferred were converted. Upon inquiry, the Company has been advised that, with respect to Andora Holdings Ltd., investment decisions, as well as decisions relating to voting the Common Stock, if converted, are made by the Managing Director of Andora Holdings Ltd., David Johnstone. The Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan, whose address is 125 Queens Plate Drive, Suite 220, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada M9W 6V1 purchased and is the beneficial owner of 1,250,000 shares of the preferred stock which would convert into 832,500 shares of Common Stock which would constitute 9.59% of Common Stock outstanding, assuming all shares of the preferred were converted. With respect to The Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan, investment decisions, as well as decisions relating to voting the Common Stock, if converted, are made by the five member Joint Labor Management Board of Trustees. For further information on the private placement of these preferred shares, see Part II, Item 4, Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities.


Now let's look at some guys that get over US $200 thousand (abour $300 thousand Canadian) for introducing CCWIPP and its investment committee chair Cliff Evans to Case Financial (formerly Acubid/Asia Web Holdings):

quote:


Mike Schaffer and John Irvine ("the finders") have introduced Case Financial Inc. ("the company") to various entities and individuals over the course of the last 9 months in an effort to secure funding for the companies ongoing business. These entities are CCWIPP, Dundee Bancorp and associated & designated companies, Clifford Evans, Ned Goodman, Standard Securities Inc., Peter Martini, Ralph Tersigni, BoilerMakers Union, Retrocomm Funds et al. In the event that there are any other entitities that the Finder(s) wish to introduce the Company the entity must first be approved by the Company in writing.

The finders and the company have agreed to the following fees payable to the finders for their efforts and success in arranging the required capital for the company. The terms are as follows:

1. All compensation is to be split and paid separately 1/3 to Schaffer and 2/3 to Irvine

2. Cash: 10% of proceeds received at closing(s) for each particular closing, payable in 3 equal annual installments commencing January 6, 2003 for the initial closing assuming it closes and in 3 equal annual installments for each subsequent closing, but in no case, commencing later than 30 days after each particular closing.

3. Warrants: Warrants to purchase 100,000 Common Shares for each $1.0 Million in proceeds, four year term, exercise price of $0.50, and upon such other terms and conditions as the warrants to be issued in the Financing.

4. Costs: company shall reimburse finders $25,000 in costs, less expenses previously advanced.


Now if Mike Shaffer and Cliff were such close buddies and if they both were associated with the company that eventually became Case Financial, why would the new owners pay Mike any money to introduce them to Cliff. If they bought a company in which Cliff had placed enough dough for CCWIPP to be a primary owner, wouldn't they already know each other?

And why did the Ontario "finder" get 2/3 of the finders fee? Did he have to share it with anyone?

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, Nov 3, 2003 6:29am

Hmmm.... Warren Adamson was a long-time big shot with AFM Hospitality. That's the company that Ron Kelly of RHK Capital started. CCWIPP was a major owner of AFM. A woman who lives at the same address as Adamson does all the web sites for AFM companies and for South Ocean Golf and Beach Resort, which Ron Kelly owns and CCWIPP pours endless amounts of money into. Warren Adamson pleads with the Bahamian government for a casino licence for South Ocean -- even though it doesn't qualify and probably never will.

Hey, there's more, but why is it that just about all of the big CCWIPP debt has a link to Ron Kelly?

What I love about this John Irvine guy is that he's always at the UFCW's door selling something. If it ain't long-distance phone plans, web pages or schemes to fund lawyers' law suits, it's with his palm upturned for the largest chunk of cash for introducing a UFCW Pension Plan to guy who the pension plan only recently sold one of its holdings.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Nov 3, 2003 5:36pm

I can't for the life of me understand what the CCWIPP trustees have been doing all these years and why they have chosen to invest in these high risk ventures. If you ask me they might as well have bought $155 million US dollars worth of magic beans as invested in these floundering hotels. I would think that with all the high powered help on the Board of Trustees they, in the least, have had some qualms about these hotels after conducting a proper due diligence analysis.

It seems to me that one of two things is going on. (1) The Trustees have abdicated key investment decisions to some small cabal of businessmen who are exploiting the pension fund to their advantage, or (2) The Trustees have made some monumentally bad investment decisions and are now throwing good money after bad in the hope that they recoup some of their investment sometime down the road. They do not wish to abandon their awful investments for fear of what will happen if it becomes known that millions of dollars have been lost as a result of their decisions.

I can't think of any other possibilities.

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, Nov 5, 2003 10:28am

Well it sure looks grim for CCWIPP in the Bahamas. Seems like Eugene (Gene) Fraser from Guelph (would he be a relative of Cliff's?) is the president of South Ocean Development and Executive Vice President of Propco 100 and a key player in a bunch of other Propcos and a big shot with the Dynamic Mutual Fund that the UFCW sponsors and.... Whew! boy this guy is sure involved in a lot of UFCW affairs (hey, he wouldn't be related to Mke Fraser would he?.

Anyway, Gene says real bad things will happen to CCWIPP if the owners of the South Ocean Golf Course pull the lease and order the CCWIPP boys off. He says that Scotia Bank will call its loans. That could mean that CCWIPP would have to pay up to $60 million or more for the Scotia Bank loans to South Ocean and possibly the British Colonial. If they didn't, then Scotia Bank could foreclose and the properties would have to be sold at fire-sale prices--perhaps similar prices or less to what RHK picked them up for when it bought them out of bankruptcy.

I understand that billionaire Robert Johnson has offered CCWIPP a low-ball price for the South Ocean. If he offers the same amount as what Scotia Bank is owed, he may have a deal. However, without the golf course, South Ocean may be worth only about US$ 7 or 8 million. That's half of what Scotia Bank is owed. That would mean that CCWIPP could kiss anywhere up to US $50 million goodbye on the South Ocean property alone.

I wonder how the Hotels in Jamaica and the Caymans are doing?

  • posted by HJFinnamore
  • Wed, Nov 5, 2003 5:44pm

edit= looks like this was transferred to the front page. Thanks

  • posted by brotherwolf2
  • Thu, Nov 6, 2003 12:20am

"no shoes, no shirt, no problem. Blues, what blues, hey I forgot 'em. The sun and the sand and a drink in my hand with no bottom. No shoes, no shit, no problem" now everybody

no sho.....oh yeah, I forgot the line dedicated to the union leaders on vacat...ehum, I mean on official union business ...."no wives, no members, no cameras. Cash? what cash, I'll just charge it. Send the bill to my room and bring us lots of booze and do notta, tell our wives, or the members, zipauta"

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Thu, Nov 6, 2003 5:27pm

What I find especially troubling about these strange investments is that Eugene Fraser is President of the company that's getting all this CCWIPP money just to stay afloat. Fraser is also a Director of the 4 Propco investment corporations that that funnelling the money to this company. He's also a member of the CCWIPP Investment Committee. Maybe there's something about all this that I'm just not getting but isn't this an example of a guy who's lending money to himself?

Hey FSCO guys, what do you think about that? Is Fraser lending CCWIPP money to himself? What woud you guys call this?

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Nov 7, 2003 8:38am

That's troubling all right, and what's about as troubling is what the heck David N. Harvey of Benefit Plan Adminstrators Financial Group is doing hanging with these guys? He pops up in conversations that relate to other union pension and benfit plans too. Why would he be a partner in the Bahamas fiasco.

Another name that keeps popping up is Andrew Lepper. Andrew is named as an RHK contact and a Propco contact, but apparently he doesn't do work for Propco anymore, but apparently he's tied in with Dave Harvey.

What's with this?

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, Nov 15, 2003 7:55am

I dunno, but wouldn't the trustees of a pension plan be on the same hook? Would they be personally responsible or, let's say for example, would Canada Safeway pick up the tab if its representative were hit with a huge bill? Do these people represent George Weston or Canada Safeway when they sit on the Board of Trustees of pension plans or the other private companies run by union guys, or are they there simply as private citizens?

quote:


6. The Court is to take into account the overall investment performance of the Trust Fund when assessing damages payable by a trustee for a loss to the trust. Previously, trustees could be held responsible for losses in the portfolio without being entitled toany credit for the gains. Now, courts will make an overall assessment of a trust's performance when determining damages.

7. A trustee may not be excused for losses arising from the investment of trust property ifthere is no "prudent investor" investment plan or if the plan is not followed.Previously, courts could relieve a trustee either wholly or partly from personal liability for abreach of trust if it was found that the trustee acted honestly and reasonably and ought fairly to be excused for the breach of trust. Now courts are prevented from excusing a trustee whose investment of trust property has resulted in a loss to the trust unless a trustee has followed a "prudent investor" investment plan that includes a reasonable assessment of risk and return. If a trustee has no such investment plan or fails to follow the plan the trustee's only recourse is to persuade the court to reduce the assessment of damages by virtue of the portfolio's "overall performance" over the relevant period.


  • posted by siggy
  • Sat, Nov 15, 2003 11:06am

I dunno either, but from here it looks like if the employers hand over pension monies to the union cookie jar, they get the same kind of protection as one would get buying a name brand flea collar for the dog.

There may still be some scratching, but overall the fleas are under control.

As much as the pension trusts are to be equally employer/union represented, what incentive does a company have to see that the funds are invested prudently or even invested at all? Oh wait...

Geez I hope the employers, George Weston or Canada Safeway, didn't just leave their 'fiduciary' sitting on the fence post for anyone to steal.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Nov 17, 2003 1:43pm

Oh all of the trustees - employer and union - have their fiduciary duties under the pension laws. All of them!

I certainly hope that they haven't just left it up to whatever experts they've been relying on to make all the decisions. I know these types of things sometimes happen. I've known people who have sat as company reps on jointly trusteed pension funds (not the CCWIPP fund btw) who weren't really conscious of their fiduciary duty. They thought that being a trustee was just sort of a perk that went along with their management job and that the investment firm that was managing the fund or the union president who was also on the board of trustees made all the decisions and would be stuck holding the bag if something went wrong. That's not how it works however. Everybody's responsible.

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, Nov 17, 2003 2:26pm

Just think, if a hypothetical $300 million had to be split 10 ways that would be a mere $30 million a piece.

I'll bet some company guys would go, "whew! $30 million ain't as bad as the full shot." Aaaah, they would probably laugh, "what a dork this guy is, we exercised our fiduciary duty and besides, we're insured for mistakes."

I wonder if things went sideways whether a union would pick up the tab or whether the union appointed trustees would be on the hook personally?

I don't think insurance would cover anyone who was just plain stupid. Insurance only covers those who act prudently and in good faith. I wonder if insurance might cover the losses? That would sure help, now wouldn't it?

RV, your'e right, there is a lot of responsibility that goes with being a trustee. In the off chance that the losses weren't insured, I think even if the companies or the UFCW did pick up the tab, then the individuals would be on the hook for income tax on the hypothetical $30 mil--if that were the case.

Hell, that would still be close to $15 mil in taxes. Ouch!

A tax bill that big would make a fella want to cooperate with the authorities to the fullest. He'd do whatever he could to reduce a tax bill that big.

Exercising prudent investing and fiduciary duty is a pretty big responsibility all right.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Nov 17, 2003 5:16pm

If/when the shit begins to hit the fan, you'll see the finger-pointing begin in good earnest. No matter who's insured and who's not insured. Pompous asses with big egos do not like being made to look like fools or to take flack for stuff with the word "fiduciary" in it. Company guys especially don't like being caused any trouble by their union partners. They'll waste no time trying to cover their asses and blame the union trustees for the whole messy situation. If you sold tickets to an event like that, you'd make a pile.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Nov 23, 2003 2:49pm

I don't know about you people, but I don't make anywhere near $1.1 million per month. However, I do know that it's one heck of a huge chunk of change.

Now, if the CCWIPP would only lend me $200 million interest free then I could be sittin' pretty. I could use the dough and providing that I didn't spend it all, I could use it to make myself over $1 million per month at simple business prime rates (4.5%).

Now I know you would say I'd have to be nuts to expect anyone to lend me $200 million interest free, but that seems to be what the CCWIPP does from time to time--lend money interest free.

CCWIPP's hotel guy, Warren Adamson, was quite up front with the Bahamian government when he assured them that CCWIPP would cover ongoing operating losses amounting to possibly US $10 million or more. He also said that:

quote:


...It should be noted that no interest has been charged by Propco, nor capitalized into the losses of SODC [South Ocean Development Corporation] and BCDC [British Colonial Development Corporation], since the formation of PRK [Propco Ron Kelly]....


It looks like the CCWIPP brain trust turned off the meter on that $220-million loan in 2000 and have never turned it back on. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it would also seem that all the extra millions that get pumped in every year to cover operating losses is interest free too.

I'd appreciate it if someone else could give some of the CCWIPP docs on the site a look see and tell me what you think.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Sun, Nov 23, 2003 3:58pm

OK, I have looked at the documents related to CCWIPP as well as the ongoing feature called Full Disclosure. Any which way that I look at that information, it seems to me that at least one quarter of a billion dollars is sitting in investments (and I use that term very loosely) where no interest is payable (ever) and where return on investment in any form is unlikely.

This is IMHO the equivalent of giving money away as opposed to investing it.

If I took a quarter billion dollars from wealthy investors and pissed it away, it would seem to me that there would be a big controversy - heads would be rolling and controlling minds would be hauled off in handcuffs. If I take a quarter billion dollars from working people, what the hell happens? Where is the regulator at in all of this? How many more billions have to go down the toilet before somebody acknowledges that working peoples' money is as valuable as that of wealthy investors and that playing fast and loose with it is as unacceptable with one group as with the other.

Just an afterthought: Securities regulators on both sides of the border are getting hot under the collar about this greedy prick pissing off with $32 million of the shareholders change. What about greedy pricks who play fast and loose with a lot more than that?

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, Nov 24, 2003 8:15am

One quarter of a billion dollars is one heck of a lot of dough all right. To borrow that amount of coin, the best of the best corporations would have to pay well over $1.1 million per month in interest. Normal companies would have to pay close to $2 million and losers (who nobody would lend the money to in the first place) would pay $3 million or more per month.

That means that even at mid-range, CCWIPP may have given away close to $100 million in interest.

By giving the interest "holiday" since late 2000 to Ron Kelly et al for BCDC and SODC CCWIPP's books don't have to show a loss for the $100 million.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but if CCWIPP had of posted the possible $100 million against the SODC and BCDC debt, the amount would show $300 million or more rather than one quarter billion dollars.

If other interest-free loans are out there, we could, for all we know, be looking at a figure much higher than one-quarter-billion dollars

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Nov 24, 2003 1:22pm

I am appalled at the extent of the generosity that has been extended by the CCWIPP trustees to this small circle of entrepreneurs. If some big corporation had just "invested" a quarter billion dollars of its shareholders change in investments that haven't got a hope in hell of ever generating a return, the shareholders, the regulators and the media would be jumping up and down. Why the silence on the regulatory (and other) fronts in this case? Is it because CCWIPP's "shareholders" are just a lot of women and other working stiffs? What the hell kind of a reason is that?!

  • posted by <FCAGM>
  • Thu, Jan 22, 2004 8:20am

Are there any new developments on this subject? What's the market value on the South Ocean property. I understand the Bahamas Govt. is debating a bill in parliment that may have some consequences for this property.

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