Independent review finds no conflict of interest or favouritism in Regent Park condominium purchases
TORONTO, August 10, 2012—No conflict of interest, preferential benefit or special treatment occurred when executives and employees of Toronto Community Housing bought condominium units at Regent Park in 2009, an independent review has found.
Toronto Community Housing’s board of directors today released a report by the Honourable Patrick LeSage, QC on his independent review of condominium purchases by executives involved in Regent Park Development Corporation, Toronto Community Housing’s holding company for the joint venture to sell market condominiums at Regent Park.
Regarding the purchases, Mr. LeSage found that:
- No Toronto Community Housing executives or employees were in a conflict of interest.
- Toronto Community Housing employees did not receive any benefit or preference not available to the general public.
- Toronto Community Housing executives received no preferential benefit.
- Employees and executives of Toronto Community Housing’s development partner, The Daniels Corporation, and their family members, received only the benefits they were entitled to receive.
- Loan programs created to help Regent Park residents buy a home were accessed only by those who qualified.
- Toronto Community Housing and its business partner, The Daniels Corporation, may be proud of their accomplishment with phase one of the Regent Park revitalization.
To provide greater transparency and help avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, Mr. LeSage recommended that financial transactions of future purchases by executives and employees of Toronto Community Housing be disclosed through a public registry. Toronto Community Housing has accepted this recommendation and will be implementing a public registry, which will be subject to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Toronto Community Housing’s board of directors appointed Mr. LeSage to conduct the independent review in April 2012, after media reports raised questions about purchases of condominium units by officers of the joint venture.
Regent Park is undergoing a revitalization that is rebuilding the neighbourhood for over 12,500 residents, transforming the area into a successful, mixed-income, mixed-use neighbourhood, like many others in Toronto, offering residents a mix of rental buildings, market condominium buildings, townhomes, commercial space and community facilities.
“I thank Mr. LeSage and his team for the report. We took this matter extremely seriously. It is essential for the success of revitalization projects at Regent Park and elsewhere that potential buyers, the public and our shareholder, the City of Toronto, have full confidence that processes for selling market condominiums are open, fair and transparent.”
—Norman W. (Bud) Purves, Chair, Board of Directors, Toronto Community Housing
“Like Mr. LeSage and the current board, I am a strong believer in transparency. Having a fair and open process helps prevent conflicts or favouritism, and making all the facts public helps avoid the appearance of conflict or favouritism. That’s how we’ll do business under my watch.”
“I hope this report will strengthen public confidence in Regent Park’s revitalization—which, by any yardstick, is a huge success story. In my 30 years of working in social housing in the United States, I have never seen anything like it or even close to it. Toronto Community Housing and its many partners can be rightly proud of what is happening in Regent Park.”
—Eugene E. Jones Jr., President and CEO, Toronto Community Housing
- Toronto Community Housing and its development partner, The Daniels Corporation, are partners in joint ventures to sell market condominiums at Regent Park.
- Regent Park Development Corporation is the holding company for Toronto Community Housing for the joint ventures. Daniels Eastside Corporation is the holding company for The Daniels Corporation.
- The Dundas and Parliament Development Corporation is the joint venture formed by both parties in phase one of the Regent Park revitalization. The Parliament and Gerrard Development Corporation is the joint venture formed in phase two.
- One Cole, a market condominium building with 294 residential units located on Cole Street in Regent Park, was built during phase one of the revitalization. Sales of condominium units at One Cole took place in May and June 2009.
- In May to June 2009, the board of directors of Regent Park Development Corporation included, among others, Toronto Community Housing’s then Chief Executive Officer Derek Ballantyne and then Chief Financial Officer Gordon Chu. Both individuals have since left the company.
- The Regent Park revitalization business plan is to use profits from the sale of some 3,000 market condominiums to help pay for the replacement of 2,083 new social housing units and contribute toward the construction of 700 new affordable rental units.
About Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest social housing provider and home to more than 164,000 tenants with low and moderate incomes—about six per cent of Toronto's population. Toronto Community Housing and its subsidiaries employ 1,300 staff in a broad range of jobs, who deliver its mission to provide affordable housing, connect tenants to services and opportunities, and work together to build healthy communities.
Media contact: Sara Goldvine, 416-981-4252, firstname.lastname@example.org