Ian Mulgrew: B.C. Supreme Court turns Caribbean bill collector

Antigua and Barbuda’s idyllic white beaches attract celebrities like Elton John, but it is financial shenanigans under their azure skies that have caught the eye of the B.C. Supreme Court.

A default judgment and garnishee order for $30 million have been issued by the court against the government of the postcard islands amid the confluence of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

HMB Holdings Ltd., a group of New York investors, won the rulings as part of a decade-long quest to recoup losses from the expropriation of the defunct Half Moon Bay Resort which it purchased in 1971. (The case was heard in B.C. because the resort is now owned by a B.C. company through a subsidiary).

It is a stunning seascape of sapphire coves and fecund reefs, but in 1995 a one-two punch of hurricanes devastated the resort.

Five years later the Antiguan government took the first step towards condemning the property and in 2007 decided to expropriate it, ostensibly for a “public purpose”.

The move was made at the reputed behest of Texas fraudster Allen Stanford, who held dual citizenship and was described as “the leading benefactor, promoter, employer and public persona” of Antigua, a yachting hub that is home to about 80,000.

In Nov. 2006, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Nation — a former British colony where Admiral Horatio Nelson lived for three years.

Calling himself “Sir Allen,” the conman apparently had plans to redevelop the Half Moon Bay property on the government’s behalf.

However, three years later U.S. law-enforcement busted Stanford over an elaborate international Ponzi-scheme. He was stripped of his title and convicted of running a multi-faceted, sophisticated $7-billion scam.

Stanford is now breaking rocks in the hot sun, serving a 110-year sentence in a federal prison in Florida.

Left holding the expropriated property, the Antigua …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Ex-gangster finishes Crown evidence at murder trial of Cory Vallee

A former United Nations gang member said a cryptic comment accused killer Cory Vallee made after a Langley murder gave him the impression Vallee had committed the crime.

The man, who can only be identified as D, testified in B.C. Supreme Court Monday that Vallee disappeared immediately after rival gangster Kevin LeClair was fatally shot outside a Langley strip mall on Feb. 6, 2009.

When Vallee resurfaced a while later, D went out to a restaurant with him, he told Justice Janice Dillon.

As Vallee sipped his soup, D said: “I just looked at him and I said `Everything went OK?’”

“And then he just kind of looked up at me and nodded and gave a smile, Yep, and he just went back to eating his soup.”

D said the cryptic reference was “significant to me.”

“I was making a reference to the LeClair shooting,” he said.

D has already testified that Vallee was brought into the UN fold as a hitman to kill the Bacon brothers and their associates, including LeClair who was formerly with the UN.

Vallee is charged with the first-degree murder of LeClair, as well as conspiracy to kill the Bacons.

In the months before LeClair’s murder, D said he associated regularly with Vallee and another UN member named Jesse “Egon” Adkins. The two men showed D an AR-15 firearm they had been given for the Bacon hunt.

A short time before LeClair was killed D was driving in Abbotsford with Vallee and Adkins when they saw Jamie Bacon and LeClair on an isolated Abbotsford road, he testified.

D said he recognized Bacon and that Adkins said the other man was LeClair or “Traitor” as the UN called him.

UNDATED — October 22, 2009 UNDATED handout photo of Jamie Bacon and Kevin Jamie Bacon (left) and Kevin LeClair in an undated photo. LeClair was killed in …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

MEDICINE MATTERS: The cosmetic roots of private surgery clinics in BC

Surgeons are trained to cut and mend. They need lots of time in the operating room to hone their skills and “practise” their trade.

That’s why 700 BC surgeons choose to supplement their work at private surgery centres – so they can do more operations – a total of about 60,000 last year which represents only 10% of surgery cases done in public hospitals.

In the publicly funded Canadian hospital system, there’s a finite supply of financial and human resources for surgeons, nurses, hospital beds and operating rooms. Budgets are capped and many, if not most, surgeons, are allocated only a day per week in the hospitals where they have privileges. Surgeons say that’s not nearly enough time to improve or even maintain one’s surgery skills.

Dr. Richard Warren, Vancouver plastic surgeon and private surgery centre pioneer

In this story, I referenced the huge $30 million contract that Vancouver Island Health has just given a new private surgery centre in Victoria. As you will hear during the BC election campaign, the NDP and health care unions are opposed in principle to contracting out, on the grounds that private facilities take nurses and other health professionals away from the public system. In my last interview with retiring health minister Terry Lake, he said the Liberals see these contracts as useful tools for processing more elective surgeries for the purpose of reducing waiting lists.

Patients in BC can receive care in private clinics two ways – they can pay privately for their surgery or they can try and get it as part of a contract between certain clinics and health authorities. Since the Cambie Surgery Centre trial has been adjourned, it remains unclear whether the courts will decide patients have constitutional rights to use their own …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun