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CBC television host Evan Solomon is out of a job amid allegations that he brokered lucrative art deals in ways “inconsistent” with the broadcaster’s code of ethics. His dismissal was announced Tuesday soon after a Toronto Star report claimed he took commissions from the art sales to people he knew through his television work, without disclosing to the buyers that he was being paid. Here is what he’s alleged to have done, and with whom.
Former host of CBC’s Power and Politics TV show and The House on CBC radio
What the Star alleges: Mr. Solomon entered a business arrangement last year with art collector Bruce Bailey to arrange art sales and take a 10-per-cent commission. The buyers weren’t told that Mr. Solomon was taking a cut.
What the CBC says: Jennifer McGuire, general manager and editor-in-chief of CBC News, issued a memo to staff Tuesday saying the broadcaster had “ended its relationship” with Mr. Solomon. CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson said the broadcaster determined some of Mr. Solomon’s activities were “inconsistent” with the organization’s conflict of interest and ethics policy, as well as its journalistic standards and practices. Sources at the CBC told The Canadian Press that Mr. Solomon’s departure was discussed at an emotional meeting of the Power and Politics team after its Tuesday’s show, which was airing when the Star story was published.
What Solomon says: In a statement issued Tuesday night, Mr. Solomon said he was “deeply sorry” for the damage his actions had caused for the CBC. He said the business partnership involved only two clients and he disclosed the arrangement to his employers earlier this year. “I did not view the art business as a conflict with my political journalism at the CBC and never intentionally used my position at the CBC to promote the business,” Mr. Solomon said.
Art collector and dealer
What the Star alleges: Mr. Bailey wanted to sell some of his large collection of artwork, and in October, 2013, he signed a contract with Mr. Solomon – with whom he has been friends for years – to introduce him to prospective buyers. Over the two years of their business arrangement, Mr. Bailey paid commissions to Mr. Solomon that, in at least one case, topped $300,000. In their communications, they described the buyers by codewords: “The Guv” for Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, and “Anka” for businessman Jim Balsillie.
What Bailey says: Neither Mr. Bailey nor Mr. Solomon responded to calls or e-mails from The Globe requesting comment on Tuesday.
Current Governor of the Bank of England; former Bank of Canada governor
What the Star alleges: Mr. Solomon brokered a deal in 2014 to sell a $22,500 painting to Mr. Carney, who had previously appeared on Mr. Solomon’s show.
What Carney says: The Star said Mr. Carney declined to comment but cited his spokesman at the Bank of England as saying: “Governor Carney has no enduring professional relationship with Mr. Solomon. He never comments on matters relating to his personal life.”
Businessman, co-founder of Research In Motion Ltd. (now BlackBerry Ltd.)
What the Star alleges: Mr. Balsillie, whom Mr. Solomon had contacted in 2013 to bring on his show, bought several paintings from Mr. Bailey.
What Balsillie says: The Star quotes Mr. Balsillie as saying he was “not aware of any commissions paid to Mr. Solomon as a result of my purchases” and said he did not know Solomon was involved in the transactions.
With reports from James Bradshaw, The Canadian Press and Reuters