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Vancouver mayor invited donors, foster son to swearing-in

City hall withheld guest list for mayor's swearing-in Dec. 5

Mayor Gregor Robertsons invitees to the Dec. 5 city council swearing-in included Vision Vancouvers bagman, two union bosses, two ex-mayors and his foster son who was later charged in a Richmond dial-a-dope case.

City halls Freedom of Information office kept most of the guest list for the 334-seat, Creekside Community Recreation Centre ceremony secret, claiming identification of politicians friends, family and associates would be an invasion of privacy. Names of staff and board appointees, civic, provincial, federal and aboriginal politicians and visiting Guangzhou, China government officials were provided. Among the few names not censored were Marilee Welch (daughter of NPA Coun. Elizabeth Ball), Robert McDowell (NPA Coun. George Afflecks campaign manager), Jordan Bober (a supporter of Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr), Concord Pacific president Terry Hui and CUPE local 1004 president Mike Jackson, both invited by Robertson.

The Courier sought comment Wednesday morning from the mayors office on why so many names were censored. The mayors own guest list was emailed later in the day, but Robertsons assistant Kevin Quinlan said the city does not keep records of who attended.

Robertson invited his wife Amy, daughters Hanna and Terra, son Satchel and foster son Jinagh Navas-Rivas. Navas-Rivas, 21, was charged in late December for allegedly transferring a gun and trafficking cocaine, but Quinlan denied he was present.

Robertsons list of 112 people also shows Vision Vancouver executive director Ian Baillie, fundraisers Joel Solomon and Carol Newell and strategists Bob Penner and Marcella Munro, along with ex-mayors Larry Campbell and Mike Harcourt and B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair and CUPE B.C. president Barry ONeill.

B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association executive director Vince Gogolek told the Courier that city hall was wrong to withhold names of people granted special access to a taxpayer-funded and catered event. This is stuff that should be out there, its for the public scrutiny, Gogolek said. Who is hobnobbing with the nobs?

Premier Christy Clark was invited, though her name was misspelled Christie. By comparison, the guest list for her March 14, 2011 swearing-in at Government House in Victoria was disclosed almost entirely. It included senators, members of parliament, judges, deputy ministers and consular officials. Seven ex-premiers got invites, but only Glen Clark showed up. B.C.s first female premier, Rita Johnston, was not on the list. Robertson and chief of staff Mike Magee were, but only Magee attended.

The list included Liberal party donors Francesco Aquilini, Peter Brown, Jason and Sacha McLean and Peter Wall; campaign advisers and organizers Patrick Kinsella, Gwyn Morgan, Doug Eastwood and Don Millar; and top aides Athana Mentzelopoulos and Ken Boessenkool.

This is not the first time city hall withheld a guest list. The Vancouver House guest list was finally published a year after the 2010 Winter Olympics because appealed to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

The swearing-in budget was $14,422.57, almost half of which was for Rocky Mountain Production Services ($4,606.22) and HAVE Culinary Training Institute and Templeton secondary catering ($3,750.51) combined. Security by the Vancouver Police Traffic Authority and Concord Security cost $1,436.96.