Pasloski was on Mountain View Golf Club’s board at time of secretive $750,000 bail out

Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski sat on the board of the Mountain View Golf Club in February of 2011, when the society inked a secret $750,000 deal with the Yukon government that was made to look like a land purchase.

Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski sat on the board of the Mountain View Golf Club in February of 2011, when the society inked a secret $750,000 deal with the Yukon government that was made to look like a land purchase.

According to documents filed with Community Services, Pasloski sat on the board from May 2010 to April or May of 2011.

His tenure precisely overlaps the period when then-Community Services minister Archie Lang was instructing staff to come up with a creative way to help Mountain View with its $500,000 debt load, according to correspondence made public last week.

Pasloski announced his candidacy for leader of the Yukon Party in late April 2011, and won the position a month later.

The 2011 agreement saw the Yukon government pay the golf club $750,000 to relinquish a lease to an adjacent parcel of land that had been set aside for possible future course expansion.

But Mountain View had only ever paid $125 annually on the lease, and had neither the intention nor the means to expand the course in the near future.

The Yukon government’s official story, until last week, has been that City of Whitehorse was interested in the parcel for potential expansion of Whistle Bend. But this is not true.

Both then and now, the city would oppose the idea of such an expansion.

The deal was hidden from public scrutiny until last week, only after the owner of the Meadow Lakes Golf and Country Club spent a year and close to $1,000 fighting the government to release information about the deal.

* * *

This past week the Yukon government has deflected questions by asserting that a former Yukon Party government is responsible, and ministers are relying on information provided by staff.

But Elaine Taylor, who was a cabinet minister both then and now, has not responded to repeated interview requests on the issue.

And now it seems highly likely that Pasloski was intimately involved in the deal.

On the phone Tuesday, Pasloski said he hasn’t spoken to the issue on the advice of Yukon’s conflict of interest commissioner.

“I did talk to the conflicts commissioner who advised me quite a long time ago that this in fact would be a conflict for me and that’s why I haven’t been part of any of the discussions,” said Pasloski.

When asked if he was aware of the deal at the time, he declined to comment.

When asked why the conflict of interest was not disclosed to the Yukon public, cabinet spokesperson Elaine Schiman interrupted the interview to say that that’s all the premier will say on the issue at this time.

Schiman later sent the News a copy of a letter dated Oct. 11, 2013, from Pasloski’s executive assistant to ministers Cathers and Kent, about the golf course issue.

It says that after a discussion with the conflict of interest commissioner, “and to avoid any possibility of the perception of a conflict of interest, Premier Pasloski will not be involved with this file.”

It does not say that the commissioner advised Pasloski not to speak to the issue or not to disclose his involvement with the golf course to the public.

In fact, because Pasloski was not a member of the legislative assembly when the golf course deal was inked, and left his position on the board before being elected, none of his involvement with Mountain View meets the definition of a conflict of interest under Yukon’s legislation.

While it might be considered a conflict of interest if Pasloski were to, say, vote next week on a deal that would benefit the golf club, there does not appear to be anything in the legislation that would prevent him from addressing today his actions on the golf club board before he was premier.

David Jones, Yukon’s conflict of interest commissioner, confirmed that the Conflict of Interest (Members and Ministers) Act covers only the actions of ministers while they hold the position.

“I do not have jurisdiction with respect to events that took place before a person became a member or minister, or after they cease to be a member or minister,” he wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon.

Jones also wrote that MLAs can ask him for confidential advice, but that advice is rarely made public.

* * *

While a former Yukon Party government signed the golf club deal, the current government is complicit in the cover-up.

A Community Services communications document from October, 2013 describes the deal this way:

“As this land was a prime location for the future expansion of the Whistle Bend residential project, the Yukon government obtained an independent property appraisal and with the support from the City of Whitehorse, purchased the land from the Mountain View Golf Club in 2010.”

This was the government’s suggested response to questions from the public and the media, and almost every word is untrue.

The government has failed to answer questions about the briefing or take responsibility for the false information contained in it.

Jeff Luehmann, owner of the Meadow Lakes golf club, first heard about a sketchy land transfer involving Mountain View from a government employee a little more than a year ago.

That’s when he started asking questions. In fact it was a letter from Luehmann requesting information about the deal that triggered the communications briefing just mentioned.

“A lot of times, I was just getting stuff, ‘We can’t find it, it’s not available, we don’t know what you’re talking about.’ It was frustrating, to say the least,” he said.

Community Services acknowledged receipt of an access-to-information request from Luehmann on October 11, 2013.

The deadline to respond was pushed back twice by the records manager, the second time after the previously set deadline had passed.

At that point Luehmann requested a review by the information and privacy commissioner, launching a long inquiry into the department’s handling of the file.

Community Services challenged the commissioner’s authority to investigate, arguing that failure to meet a deadline does not constitute a refusal to release records, according to the August 2014 inquiry report.

Diane McLeod-McKay, the commissioner, ultimately found that the department had no authority to refuse access to the records, and recommended they be released.

Two years ago the Yukon Party government amended the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, making it harder for Yukoners to get information about government business. Some of the restrictions were unprecedented in Canada, according to the commissioner at the time.

Luehmann said he was charged close to $1,000 for copies of the documents related to the Mountain View deal, some of which have since been posted online at the Yukon NDP Caucus website.

The government needs to be held accountable, he said.

“I don’t think that amount of money should just go without notifying the public. I think the public needs to be aware of those things.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wyatt's World for Oct. 28, 2020.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 28.… Continue reading

Yukon Child Care Board chair Amy Ryder says the board could be playing a bigger role in childcare policy making if they had more financial support from the Yukon government. (Submitted)
Yukon Child Care Board asks for larger role in annual report

The board is asking for a larger budget to increase outreach and advice

Yukon’s clocks will no longer change in March and November but will remain permanently on Pacific Daylight Saving Time. (Courtesy Yukon government)
Off the clock: Yukon prepares to end seasonal time changes

Starting on Nov. 1 Yukon will be one hour ahead of Vancouver and two hours ahead of Alaska

Dawson City as scene from West Dawson. Art Webster, the vice-chair of the Dawson Regional Planning Commission resigned last month over the Yukon governments unwillingness to pause speculative staking. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Vice-chair resigns from Dawson land-use planning commission

NDP warns that not pausing mining activity is the road to a second Peel decision

The opening ceremonies of the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg on July 28, 2017. The 2021 Canada Summer Games have officially been rescheduled for Aug. 6 to 21, 2022, exactly one year from the date the national competition was originally set to take place in the Niagara region of Ontario. (Canada Summer Games/Flickr)
Canada Summer Games dates set for 2022 but uncertainty remains for Yukon athletes

Yukon athletes continue waiting to get back into schools

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read