Vancouver Sun

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.

 ?? JENNIFER SALTMAN ?? Kash Heed told the Cullen Commission he never said anything about the government overlookin­g illegal cash at casinos and it was “a breach of trust” that Fred Pinnock would record their conversati­ons.
JENNIFER SALTMAN Kash Heed told the Cullen Commission he never said anything about the government overlookin­g illegal cash at casinos and it was “a breach of trust” that Fred Pinnock would record their conversati­ons.
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