Critics of a new casino planned for downtown Vancouver are questioning the propriety of the deal, and the choice of a major political donor to develop and manage the 0 million gaming hall.
T. Richard Turner is chairman of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and former chairman of the province’s lotteries and gambling corporation. His company contributed $50,000 to Liberal candidates before the 2009 election, and Turner personally donated about $17,000.
He told the National Post that he sees nothing wrong in taking control of the project. “I sleep nicely at night,” he said.
In 2006, Turner joined the board of ParagonCanadaHoldingsULC, a division of Las Vegas-based Paragon Development Ltd., which had just bought a failing casino in Vancouver. His job, he said, was explaining to Paragon local perspectives and matters of community interest.
In May, after the election, Paragon bid for and won the right to build the new casino and hotel, and Turner was named to run the show. He told the Post he had little input in the bidding process. He had not even “read the bid book” that lay on his desk. He “only looked at the pictures,” he said.
“I purposely stayed out of the process. My only input was about using as much wood as possible and not to use neon” in the proposed casino, he told the Post.