Olg Casino Woodbine
Party emails show the PCs, under former leader Patrick Brown, originally decided to attack the Toronto casino deals after B.C. Attorney General David Eby in September 2017 launched an independent review into allegations of transnational money laundering in Metro Vancouver casinos.
The emails, and extensive interviews with a number of party insiders, show that BloombergSen — the Toronto hedge fund that was seen as pro-Great Canadian” according to PC emails — repeatedly contacted the Tories seeking to stop questioning of Great Canadian.
In an interview, Ajax Mayor Steve Parish — who claims that his municipality lost its successful casino to a new Great Canadian location in a process that smelled of backroom deals” — said he hopes complaints to market regulators will re-open and invalidate” the Toronto-area casino deals.
In a series of October 2017 emails exchanged between Patrick Brown, Rick Dykstra, and former party communications director Rebecca Thompson, Thompson suggested the PCs should question whether there were changes in the OLG bid process for the Toronto contracts, and whether there was political involvement.
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario spokesman Ray Kahnert said the review was triggered by allegations in B.C., and Ontario's review focuses on management's integrity and reporting obligations in Ontario, and the company's capacity to minimize unlawful activity including money laundering.
But now, an investigation by Global News shows that a Toronto hedge fund that is connected to PC candidate Caroline Mulroney — and held a massive stake in the B.C. casino company — repeatedly lobbied the PCs in late 2017 to stop criticizing Great Canadian.
In a brief interview, Di Nino maintained that the very disturbing” information he conveyed to Soliman, was simply that he couldn't believe OLG would award Great Canadian significant contracts while a review of money laundering allegations continued in B.C.
In an abrupt shift, the PCs muted their public attacks on the controversial Toronto casino deals. BloombergSen and some of its board of directors, including Sanjay Sen and Jonathan Bloomberg, are significant donors to both the Ontario Liberal and Tory parties.
The story reported that despite ongoing probes in B.C. and Ontario, Great Canadian had just been awarded yet another bundle of southern Ontario contracts, this for several casinos west of Toronto. Great Canadian's stock price surged by about 40 per cent in May 2018 when investors discovered how profitable the new Toronto contracts were for the company, in comparison to the price paid for the assets.
As Ontario's election approaches there are increasing calls for investigations into lucrative Greater Toronto Area casino contracts awarded by Ontario's lottery corporation last year to a British Columbia-based company. Furthermore, a Toronto investment fund has told Global News that it has asked the Ontario and British Columbia stock market regulators to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Toronto-area casino deals.
Donation records show that the Bloomberg family, including father Lawrence, son Jonathan, and mother Frances, each donated $1,222 to the failed PC leadership campaign of Caroline Mulroney, in February 2018, for a total of $3,666. In the fall of 2017, Ontario's Progressive Conservative party urged the provincial government to freeze the deals, after it was revealed Great Canadian Gaming was at the centre of casino money-laundering probes.