Following the release of the German report last year, I posted a video of Rich Coleman being interviewed by Sean Holman, with a dissection of what he said and how he said it. You can find that post here: https://lailayuile.com/2018/06/27/money-and-corruption-are-ruining-the-land-2
Since then, Sam Cooper has broken story after story of how completely out of control the situation is in BC casinos, with criminals having washed an estimated billion dollars plus in a completely unfettered manner. ( you can find his stories in that embedded link)
That’s why the decision to disband the IIGET still makes no sense, nor do the many explanations given by Rich Coleman then, or since. Frankly, the decision stunk more than old herring eggs washed up onto the beach do, after sitting in the sun for a few days…
In fact, his statements have most often been at odds with documents Holman obtained via FOI requests, and with statements given by others…and after going back to look I saw Sean had more Coleman videos on the same story.
Just for posterity, I wanted to bring all that info here in one post to make it easy for you to watch and read. One article or video alone takes on a far greater context when it is read and compared to the others.
Let’s start with this video posted October 2009, the fall after the decision to disband the IIGET was made.
Huh. According to Coleman, everything was awesome at BC casinos, BCLC has all eyes and ears and surveillance in casinos, sophisticated equipment most problem gaming happened at illegal gaming houses (he disputed Fred Pinnocks statements. )
We’ll get back to this all in a moment, but here is Holman with Coleman again, asking more questions following documents that contradict his statements.
So,to be perfectly clear, at different times, Coleman has stated: that the board made the recommendation to disband; that he consulted with senior members of the RCMP; that the unit was inefficient and had not achieved directives; that it was redundant with the increase in officers and funding in other units that would cross over investigations with organized crime.
Yet as Sean Holman pointed out here: http://www.publiceyeonline.com/archives/004457.html , that’s not what some RCMP were told was the reason for disbanding:
” Last month, Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Colemantold Public Eye the government-funded RCMP team wasn’t shutdown because of funding pressures. Instead, he said the team was shutdown because it hadn’t prepared a business plan and the government wasn’t “getting the results we wanted.”
But, in March, the RCMP’s criminal operations branch cited urgent “funding pressures, criminal enterprise activity and/or other operational and investigative priorities” as the reasons for that shutdown, which took place on April 1.
This, according to a message sent to officers in British Columbia and obtained via a freedom of information request.
That’s consistent with what a RCMP spokesperson earlier told Public Eye.
And it seems to support former unit commander Fred Pinnock‘s statement that illegal gaming was pushed to the backseat because of a need to focus on other enforcement priorities
In an exclusive interview, Pinnock said those priorities included criminal activities that would “keep (the RCMP) positioned to ensure the renewal” of their provincial policing contract in 2012, such as gang violence.
The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned message.
To: All Members “E” Division
From: Criminal Operations Branch
“E” DIVISION BROADCAST
Dissolution of Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET)
Established in 2004 under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB), Police Services Division (PSD) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), IIGET was created due to a growing concern about the enforcement response to illegal gaming in British Columbia and acted within the regulatory framework of the Gaming Control Act.
IIGET was dedicated primarily to preserving the integrity of legal gaming in this Province and targeted illegal gaming activity such as; illegal lotteries, common gaming houses, the distribution of illegal video lottery terminals, animal fights, bookmaking, and internet gaming.
Other activities of the IIGET included; the education of partner agencies, the gathering and recording of intelligence and reporting on the scope and extent of illegal gaming provincially.
On 2009-02-18, given exigent funding pressures, criminal enterprise activityand/or other operational and investigative priorities, a decision was made not to seek a renewal of the current MOU for the IIGET.
Please be advised that effective April 1, 2009, the IIGET is to be collapsed and will cease to exist as a unit. As IIGET will no longer be in a position to take on illegal gaming investigations, the relevant “police force of jurisdiction” will now be responsible for illegal gaming investigations.
Funding pressures….or an inefficient, redundant unit?
Lets move on again, to the infamous video
interrogation interview Holman conducted in 2010…part 1 here, followed by the second portion.
Holman does a complete write up with the above video here: http://www.publiceyeonline.com/archives/004991.html
But here’s what continues to confound us: neither of those reports recommended shuttering the team – quite the opposite. Other records obtained by Public Eye also show the RCMP and the minister’s own communications staff were offering opposing explanations for its closure – citing funding pressures and the need to focus on other policing priorities. And those explanations are more consistent with what the team’s former unit commander Fred Pinnock told us last year during an interview in which he questioned the government”s commitment to “meaningful” illegal gaming investigations.
So what was the minister’s response to that inconsistency? Well, you can see for yourself what he had to say when we spoke to him last week in his office.
But, it gets better. Here is the second part of that interview
From Holmans report: http://www.publiceyeonline.com/archives/004995.html
Who made the controversial decision to shutdown the province’s anti-illegal gaming enforcement team? In October, Rich Coleman told reporters he did. Later, the gaming minister explained he only meant to take “responsibility for that decision” – which was actually made by the team’s consultative board. But internal documents obtained to-date by Public Eye suggest the board may have had little involvement in disbanding IIGET. Here’s why: for starters, that decision was supposedly made on February 18, 2009. But the board’s last minuted meeting happened on January 26, 2009. And those minutes don’t record any discussion about disbanding the team. Although its members did discuss “the uncertainty of future funding for IIGET.” Then, there’s the email that was sent on February 18, to the gaming policy and enforcement branch’s general manager Derek Sturko.
“Did iiget get the funding or not?,” wrote Larry Vander Graaf, executive director of the branch’s investigations and regional operations division.
“No, but we have not yet advised them,” replied Mr. Sturko, who was also a member of the consultative board.
He then went on to add the director of the ministry of public safety and solicitor general’s police services division Kevin Begg “will advise the RCMP and let me know when he’s done so. Until then, the decision is confidential.”
Then, a month later, another civil servant asked Mr. Sturko whether “the Board and OIC of IIGET” needed to be told of the team’s status.
The response: “IIGET is being discontinued. The IIGET Board knows,” later adding in a separate email, “I think they all know. Certainly Dick Bent does” – a reference to the RCMP’s deputy criminal operations officer in British Columbia.
But if the team’s board had made that decision in February, why would there be any uncertainty about its members knowing IIGET was being disbanded?
These are the questions we had for Minister Coleman when we spoke to him earlier this month in his office.
His response: “The minister doesn’t deal with everybody else’s emails. So what Derek is writing to one person or this person is writing to that one is never an issue for me…I don’t get into the minutiae of the little discussion going back and forth. And I can’t speak for those guys little minutiae of discussions. I just know for me it was, it wasn’t working, looked at the budget, got the board decision, shut it down.”
The minister later stated that while the consultative board may have recommended shutting down IIGET, he was responsible for executing that decision.
Later that summer, in August 2010, Holman posted this: http://www.publiceyeonline.com/archives/005198.html
The province’s gaming minister has said an RCMP team targeting illegal gaming was axed, in part, because it “never, ever” prepared a “business plan” – a document describing how it would be managed over the long-term. But records obtained via access to information requests show the team did prepare a pair of “business cases” arguing for its expansion in 2007 – with the more detailed of the two including a three-year budget plan. By January 2009, it had also completed the research needed to write a “five-year strategic plan,” as well as a “final business case” that would have included short and long-term objectives and performance measures for the team. Three months later, though, the provincially-funded unit’s doors were closed – with a government spokesperson later stating a business case isn’t a business plan because it only explains why a particular program is needed.
In an action plan written during the early months of 2008, Wayne Holland – the officer who was then in charge of the team – acknowledged the more detailed, 19-page business case he had prepared for his RCMP superiors was “somewhat lacking in content.”
The reason: according to the inspector, the team hadn’t yet prepared a threat assessment on the “scope and extent of illegal gaming” in British Columbia.
But once that happened, Insp. Holland promised the team would be able to paint a more comprehensive picture of the team’s future – including “timeframes for the recruitment and training of additional staff and the infrastructure required to support them.”
That threat assessment – which warned Asian and Italian organized crime figures, as well as Hells Angels, were likely involved in illegal gaming – was ready by January 29, 2009.
Three months later the team’s doors were closed with no record of any further business cases – or plans – being written.
Every single reason Coleman is on record for, has been contradicted or opposed. In documents or by statements from people like Fred Pinnock, and almost entirely by Sean Holman. In fact other than a report in the Globe and Mail by none other than Sean himself, it really doesn’t appear that the press really picked this up back then, which is a shame. ( This isn’t surprising considering how some of the older members of the press gallery recently acted, attacking Plecas prior to the release of his report)
You can access Seans archived stories on this here:http://publiceyeonline.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&tag=integrated%20illegal%20gaming%20enforcement%20team&limit=20
Why does all this matter?
Because as Coleman finally started getting put under the spotlight last year about this, he still pulled out all these old reasons that have been largely contradicted… https://rock101.com/news/4315391/rich-coleman-says-bc-liberals-did-everything-we-could-to-crack-down-on-casino-money-laundering/
“Coleman told CKNW’s Lynda Steele Show that it is “load of garbage” to suggest his government knew money laundering was going on and didn’t stop it because the government was addicted to the gaming revenues.When Coleman was serving as solicitor general, the government decided to scrap the Integrated Illegal Gambling Enforcement Team (IIGET) even though there were reports that showed substantial money laundering in B.C. casinos.
“I think we tried. I think the challenge was IIGET didn’t work. I thought IIGET would work better than it did. And I think that was our biggest disappointment,” said Coleman.
“We did everything we could. I had the confidence to do my job arm’s length from any interference with any investigation from police.”
But as we have seen above, neither report recommended shuttering that team, and RCMP issued a statement following this segment refuting Coleman.
And as far as having an arms length from BCLC decisions and operation…we know that’s not quite accurate either. https://lailayuile.com/2013/01/23/time-for-minister-rich-coleman-to-step-down-calls-to-surrey-councillors-absolute-political-interference-in-process/