How dirty money helped to destroy a friendship
Ex-MLA humiliated by `breach of trust' of former officer who recorded their talks
Kash Heed should have known the bromance that started nearly 40 years ago would end in tears — he was with the Vancouver Police Department, Fred Pinnock the RCMP.
Still, who would have predicted such an embarrassing breakup — one feeling utterly betrayed, the other considered a disgruntled ex-cop with a chip on his shoulder.
The unseemly episode spoke of the complicated relationships and, in some cases, long-standing gripes among police and regulators muddying the dirty-money debate.
For some, like Pinnock, this was never a policy debate, it was a chance for payback.
Heed didn't realize the lengths to which his former friend would go — allegations about Liberal wilful blindness to organized crime infiltrating casinos and secret recordings.
He never expected it, given the nature of their relationship.
“I believe at that time I was a dog handler,” Heed recalled in front of the Cullen Commission into money laundering. “And I was dating a particular girl who knew a friend that he (Pinnock) was actually dating at that time. He was a young officer in Richmond, which is my hometown. And that's originally when I met him … 1983, 1984. We would see one another off and on.”
Heed eventually left policing, was elected as a Liberal candidate in the May 2009 election and was appointed solicitor general. He was in cabinet until April 2010.
In November 2009, Heed and Pinnock had a 40-minute lunch in Victoria.
“Most of it, you know, we hadn't seen one another in probably 14 years,” he said.
“Most of it was catching up. You know, I had a family; he had a family. We talked about personal issues. We talked about common friends we had in policing. We talked about my time in West Vancouver, elsewhere. ... After we had a lot of laughs and various things like that, Mr. Pinnock said that he wanted to fill me in on a few things related to gaming … his tone actually really changed … he went on for about five minutes and talked about how he was more or less poorly treated by the RCMP with respect to his position in this gaming enforcement team. … He went on, as I say, almost for about five minutes straight talking about the disdain that he had for the RCMP.”
Heed insisted he said nothing about anyone in government knowingly overlooking illegal cash flooding casinos. He rejected Pinnock's claim that he accused former Liberal minister Rich Coleman of being responsible for the tsunami of currency: “He is incorrect.”
After leaving politics in 2013, Heed built a new life in academia and consulting.
In 2018, he reconnected with Pinnock as a result of the media attention on money laundering. They spoke first by phone on July 10, then over lunch Sept. 7 at the Cactus Club in Richmond.
Heed expressed strident opinions during the conversations, including the view that senior RCMP officers had been puppets for Coleman, a former Mountie.
Heed had no proof. He was mouthing off, and he was stunned afterward to learn Pinnock had recorded the conversations and planned to make them public.
“We met at Artigiano on 41st Avenue in Kerrisdale,” Heed said. “It was a short and, from my opinion, a very disturbing interaction with someone that I thought I could trust.”
The meeting sickened him; he found it morally repulsive.
“Those were personal. Personal opinions that I expressed at that time under the understanding that ... these personal opinions, shooting the breeze, would not become public. … There was a lot of rhetoric.”
Pinnock left the last meeting quickly.
“I think he was certainly aware of how I viewed anyone that would secretly or surreptitiously record a conversation between what I thought were trusted friends with the absolute expectation of privacy and that the discussions which, again, were somewhat rumour-mongering, gossip, shooting the breeze, whatever you want to call it, over a beer at the Cactus Club,” Heed said. Heed was shattered. “Absolutely a breach of any trust I would have with anyone that I thought was a longtime friend and associate of mine in policing.”
His disparaging barbs were not based on any first-hand knowledge or experience from his time in policing or in government, he emphasized.
“This is many years later, almost nine years later, where in fact I'm a private citizen, you know, sharing something with — I would say a friend, not knowing that he has ulterior motives to tape what we're actually talking about. So, again, I've got to stress … those were just strictly personal opinions.”
His humiliation burned.
“I don't want to talk about personal opinions that could be viewed as gossip, rumours, you know, lighthearted discussion, you know, old-time cops discussing something versus my role as an elected official … and the responsibility and obligations I had while sitting as a solicitor general.”
It was heartfelt testimony and it brought into focus that the money-laundering debate involves primarily a relatively small group of men, some known to each other professionally and personally for decades, and the institutionally incestuous relationships.