Hand in hand, we’re all in this together …

The City has now published a list of who donated to the various candidates in the last municipal election. In my mind, it is appalling that this list comes out months after the election. I think it should be a public list being updated daily. If candidates can have a treasurer that cashes cheques, they can type in the name and amount to an on-line list at the same time.

It might be necessary to “cut off” donations in the last three days of the campaign, to prevent a sudden dump of money (and consequently conceal the publicity of donors) in the last moments, in the hopes of avoiding scrutiny. Otherwise we can expect thousands of dollars to be donated/postmarked at 11.59pm of the day before the election.

The public has an interest in who donates, and how much, because it reflects the influence and sectors of support a candidate has. I would therefore support the list including a column that identifies the donor’s affiliation. You can see the City’s list of donations for all candidates here: http://ottawa.ca/city_hall/elections/financial_statements_en.html

So, for the two victorious Councillors representing wards on the west side, here is the data: I really would appreciate reader help in identifying individuals and corporations I missed if they have a connection to the development and real estate industry. This is a great crowd-sourcing opportunity. Send your info to the comments link at the bottom of the post.

First, Diane Holmes, Somerset Ward, individuals donated $10,612. Note that I am the first name on the list (surely a reflection of my eagerness to give away my scarce retirement funds). Other individuals in the list that I recognize as having real estate or development connections include Dianna Kirkwood (realtor, twice, $450); Ray Sullivan (CCOC, $150 ); Susan Garvey (Cornerstone housing for women, $500). On the list below that, of corporate donors, are two in the development industry: the architect Mohaupt, and 10 Driveway, which is Holmes’ landlord and is owned by Arnon Development Corporation, for $550 in total. Total of those sums: $1650 of $11,762 in donations, or 14%.

I did not include Catherine Boucher ($200) as she is retired from CCOC, a non-profit housing developer and operator active in the ward.

So, on to Kitchissippi Ward, where the winner was Katherine Hobbs. Her individual donations totalled $12,640. Names I recognize as belonging to the development and real estate industry include Marie Breton (Starwood-Mastercraft, $750); Bruce McMahon (Starwood-Mastercraft, $750); Lisa McMahon (Starwood-Mastercraft, $750); Julie Taggart (Taggart Construction, $750); Mark Purchase (Phoenix Homes, $500), Steve Grandmont (COO of Richcraft, $500); Edward Phillips (Taggart Realty, $750); totalling $4750.  

I didn’t include Ron Jack ($300) of Delcan since they are development consultants but not themselves developers; nor G Patterson ($1000), a golf course owner, which may or may not be involved in land development. Also not included is Timothy O’Connor of 2909 Cowell in North Gower ($500). In 2008 Timothy O’Connor was listed as the applicant to re-zone that property from agriculture to residential, with the property being owned by Daniel and Dianne O’Connor.  Timothy O’Connor is listed on that application as living at   the same building as Katherine Hobbs now lives . Nor did I include John Riddell (Novatech Engineering, $500).

And there is the supplement to the above list, included in the $12,640 total:

So, of the individual donors, at least $4750 of $12,640 (37%) comes from persons closely connected or associated with real estate development. Another $2300 (18%) comes from persons probably associated with real estate development.

For her corporate donors, here is the list: real estate firms are $8375 of the amount. Campbell Iron and Steel at the bottom of the list is an Arnon Corporation (853 Carling, currently in development proposed stage). Charlesfort, ($250) the condo developer, is second on the list, and rumoured to be angling to develop the 853 Carling site (Arnon and Charlesfort are operated by the brothers Mike and Doug Casey). Connelly Properties for $500. Fotenn ($250) is the planning firm representing Starwood-Mastercraft for the 500 Preston site (Soho Italia).Also on the list is JL Richards (planning consultants, $200); Keith Taggart ($375); Osgoode Properties ($500); Domicile ($300); Nicol & Lazier (they represent Tartan Land Co?, $500); Graham Bird ($500); the Sachs (LS, $750; Urbandale $500); Uniform Developments ($500); Larco (developer, $300); Shenkman Corp ($500). There are some other corporations there I am not able to identify if they are developers.

If we add the real estate connected individual ($4750) and real estate corporate donors ($8373) to Katherine Hobbs, we get $13,123, or 57% per cent of the total $22,890 raised.



Here are the other corporate donors:


Reader help wanted:

Does anyone out there recognize any other individual donors in either Councillor’s list as being connected to real estate and development? Please send them into the comments section, and I will update the lists, and make any corrections if I got something wrong.

Note to readers: the tables come from the City’s web site, but their source documents vary in quality. I cut and pasted the tables in the same way; variations in size reflect the source documents. I will replace them with better versions if someone sends me one as a jpeg.

10 thoughts on “Hand in hand, we’re all in this together …

  1. A place to start is to examine the list for anyone who is non-local to the ward (I suppose figuring out the postal codes to a ward would be the quickest way to determine whether an address is local or not, short of having London taxi driveresque knowledge of the ward). Common sense would tell us that non-locals donating funds are more likely to be doing so for reasons other than a desire to be represented by that person than would be the case for locals (not that that necessarily proves anything – non-locals could be friends, family, colleagues for example – but it is a place to start).

    Of course, there is always the possibility of developers who live in the ward donating funds, so local donors can’t be ignored.

    Btw, they City has a bad link to Leadman’s file. Here’s the actual link:

    A quick glance at the two candidates quickly reveals that Leadman received a far greater share of her donations from in-ward (inward?) donors and from non-business donors than did Hobbs, and of Leadman’s business donors very few appear to be development-related.

    More to come…

    1. I was reading the planning rationale for 335 Roosevelt earlier today and it was prepared by Willis Consulting. That name rang a bell – I knew I had seen it somewhere – and when Katherine Hobbs’ office managed to push out a press release just minutes after the Planning Committee meeting today it clicked: Willis was a contributor to Katherine Hobbs, for $200. Oddly enough – or perhaps not – the entry is right after that of Uniform Developments – the developer of 335 Roosevelt, at $500.

      Also on that list is John Riddell of NovaTech, at $500.

  2. A couple of observations I made in randomly browsing the reports from Ward 17 – Capital:

    Councillor Chernushenko had a $16,000 campaign. I don’t immediately spot any unusual donors (apart from myself). There might be developers on the list, but I don’t know them. Most of the donations seem to be from within the ward.

    Isabel Metcalfe’s ability to raise funds is remarkable. She ran a $31,000 campaign, with many recognizable Liberal party names (Aline Chretien, John Manley, Ralph Goodale…).

    Local restauranteur Dominic Santaguida put in around $13,000 of his $21,000 campaign. Even though he got the Sun endorsement, Eugene Haslam put in $10,750 of his $13,900 campaign (and yet got just 8.4% of the vote). Ouch.

    What’s notable in all of this is that Councillor Chernushenko won handily, getting twice as many votes as Isabel Metcalfe.

    I suspect there’s a correlation between the proportion of local donations to being elected, and I think there’s a negative correlation between winning and contributing to your own campaign.

    However…. the most notable entry I came across was that for Councillor Hume. A whopping $45k campaign, the corporate donors’ list is a whos-who list of the development community. You’ll recognize more of the names than I do. Domicile, JL Richards, Minto, Phoenix, etc. And he got nearly 60% of the vote.

  3. Wow. A quick scan of the postal codes in Hobbs’ donation list shows only a few in-ward donations. Big difference from Christine’s list. Now, I certainly looked to my personal friends for support when I ran but only 3 in-ward donations seems a bit odd.

    As for the obvious development connections and their proportion of her tally… I am going to have to wait to calm down before I write about it.

  4. I was disappointed that Don Fex’s return isn’t on there. I’m very curious to see how much financial support he got, and from whom.

    It’s also pretty vulgar to see some of the suburban councillors’ returns listing numerous $750 donations from a half-dozen corporations and people all connected to the same developer.

  5. The summary of the reference to Mr Patterson (above) who is a Katherine Hobbs supporter, is that he is a low-density sprawl-type subdivision builder for whom the Planning Dept opposed his subdivisions and that advice was turned down by the Rural Affairs Committee who approved a large-lot subdivision near Greely.

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