Trust in waterfront trust not new issue
Discussions about the viability and transparency of the Hamilton Waterfront Trust have been taking place for at least six years. Here are some of the issues raised: Questions about the Hamilton Waterfront Trust’s solvency emerged at council in 2011 when politicians asked for an update out of concern over funding. The trust had used up most of the $6.3 million in seed money it started with — a settlement from a lawsuit with the federal government.
Two days later, city council unanimously supported a motion endorsing the trust.
Then, in 2012, the trust secured a 20-year sublease with Sarcoa. This figured heavily into its plans to generate new revenue at a time when many of its operations were carrying a loss.
The eatery’s sublease was terminated in July. At the same time, the trust and Sarcoa have been involved in a $15-million lawsuit launched by the restaurant in late 2015.
In 2012, owner of The Pearl Company, Gary Santucci, appeared before council and raised issues about the trust’s finances. His request for a forensic audit of the trust was unsuccessful at the time.
The same year, the Bay Observer newspaper accused the waterfront trust of financial mismanagement.
As The Spectator reported in 2015, the trust lost about $2.5 million over seven years, starting in 2007.
A 2015 audited financial statement that was provided to the city shows a deficit of $453,563.