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Former chief of B.C. Lottery Corporation misses deadline to repay portion of salary

A government review found that Michael Graydon was in a conflict of interest earlier this year when he took a management position with an affiliate of Paragon Gaming.

Ben Nelms/The Globe and Mail

A deadline set by the B.C. Lottery Corporation for its former chief executive officer to repay $55,171 after being found in conflict of interest has quietly passed, unmet.

While the corporation has not received a formal response from Michael Graydon, "preliminary discussions are under way with [his] representative," Aly Couch, a spokeswoman for the BCLC, said in an e-mail on Tuesday. The corporation would not comment further on the matter.

The call for repayment was outlined in a July 11 letter sent by a lawyer representing the BCLC to Mr. Graydon. It came one day after a government review found that Mr. Graydon was in a conflict of interest earlier this year when he took a management position with an affiliate of Paragon Gaming, a Las Vegas-based company that operates Vancouver's Edgewater Casino.

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The BCLC's board of directors is seeking the return of salary holdback pay and salary paid to Mr. Graydon for February and March, for a total of $55,171. The BCLC requested the amount be paid within 10 days of the date of the letter – a deadline that passed on Tuesday.

A request to Paragon Gaming for comment was not returned.

Mr. Graydon started work as president of PV Hospitality ULC, a partnership formed by Paragon Gaming and 360 VOX Corp., on Feb. 11, one week after his last day as BCLC president and CEO. While his main task is to develop hotels, a conference centre, restaurants and a spa around a revamped Edgewater Casino at BC Place, critics feared his knowledge of the industry would be used toward an expansion of gambling activities. The government review found no evidence that his new employer benefited from the conflict of interest.

The BCLC is expected to introduce one-year postemployment restrictions as a result of the review.

Meanwhile, Vancouver Councillor Adriane Carr wants the city to place a restrictive covenant on Edgewater Casino's land title, prohibiting any future increase in slot machines, tables or any other form of gambling. This, she says, would essentially bolster an existing bylaw that already places restrictions on Edgewater.

Ms. Carr's two-part motion, introduced Tuesday, will be open to speakers Wednesday. The motion also calls for the city to contact the B.C. Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch to see if any conditions can be imposed on a licence holder if there are concerns over integrity, lawful conduct or management of gambling.

City manager Penny Ballem, however, said the existing bylaw already restricts the number of tables and slot machines as well as the square footage of space that can be allocated to the casino floor.

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"Those things are embedded in the bylaw, which, for a municipality, is the highest level of regulatory action you can take," Ms. Ballem said.

"There is nothing that can be added to that that would make it more effective. A covenant on a land title, while it is not out of order to do that, is redundant and unnecessary."

Ms. Carr defended the motion in an interview, saying it is "absolutely not redundant."

"You could ask that same question of 'why do we put restrictive covenants on every single one of our rental housing developments, making sure those units will stay rentals for 60 years, if just having a bylaw is sufficient,'" she said. "We put covenants on because it strengthens the agreement and strengthens the commitment for something to happen."

In council chambers on Tuesday, Councillor Andrea Reimer cautioned that Wednesday's speakers must be careful not to defame any individual. She also noted there are significant legal issues in what she viewed as a rewinding of the public hearing process by revisiting the issue.

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News reporter

Based in Vancouver, Andrea Woo is a general assignment reporter with a focus on multimedia journalism. More


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