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Locals squeezed out of lucrative contracts

Whitehorse firm Mega Reporting was squeezed out of a $980,000 Yukon government court-recording contract in 2004.

Whitehorse firm Mega Reporting was squeezed out of a $980,000 Yukon government court-recording contract in 2004.

Three years later, owner Joyce Bachli is still trying to get answers from the government.

“It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me,” Bachli told reporters in the foyer of the legislature during question period on Tuesday.

“I’ve been trying for years to get someone to listen to me.”

Bachli teamed up with an Ontario-based firm, International Reporting, to vie for the three-year gig and the two companies submitted a joint proposal.

With more than 20 years of experience in court reporting and a large firm as a partner, Bachli thought she’d be a shoo-in for the contract.

And the pair was given the contract, according to a letter Yukon’s Justice department sent to International Reporting dated February 13, 2004.

“I am pleased to officially notify you that the joint venture between International Reporting Inc. and Mega Reporting Inc. has been awarded a three-year contract to provide digital court recording services to the Yukon courts beginning April 1, 2004,” it read.

“Court Services will be forwarding a copy of the court recording contract to you for signature.”

The letter was signed by then-Justice Minister Elaine Taylor.

But Mega Reporting received neither a copy of the letter nor a copy of the contract.

On March 4, 2004 the Yukon government sealed the deal with International Reporting.

Bachli was squeezed out of the action, she said.

“It was incompetence by the government,” she said.

Her business and four other Yukoners working on the contract in 2004 also lost jobs because of bureaucratic dithering, said Bachli.

 “The Yukon-based company Mega Reporting has been shut out of this contract despite the minister’s letter,” said Liberal Don Inverarity.

Since 2004, Bachli has been trying to get answers from the government.

“This Yukon business owner has endured meeting after meeting with the government in an attempt to determine what happened with the court-reporting contract,” said Inverarity.

“When she wasn’t blown off by ministers that ignored her request, she was given the royal runaround and then led to the nearest exit,” he said in the legislature on Tuesday.

Bachli’s problems with the government contract led to other problems between her and the company she worked with, International Reporting, she said.

She’s been through months of court proceedings with the firm, which cost her $43,000 in out-of-pocket fees.

Now she’s looking for the Yukon government to cover those costs.

Bachli left the legislature on Tuesday afternoon still without answers.

“Because of the importance of this issue, I would be pleased to provide a more detailed explanation once I look into it,” said Justice Minister Marian Horne.

Bachli is waiting to hear the government’s response.

“Mega Reporting never had a contract with the Yukon government,” said Justice department spokesperson Chris Beacom on Wednesday.

“The letter is wrong,” he added.