Trust in water­front trust not new is­sue

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - NATALIE PAD­DON npad­don@thes­ 905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec

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.

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