“508 Helmcken”

Not only was the City required to approve the privately arranged $50 million [Section 10(2) BC Assessment Act] amendment, to reduce the value of 508 Helmcken as the City’s land was being sold, but a Secret City expense account looks like it may have funded efforts to get it done. Either way, the City completely ignored the value of a $50+million unconditional land interest in order to possibly save a few dollars in taxes for a tenant that had their tax increase covered anyway?

Below: Surrender of Lease Agreement- January 2013

Below: May 2013 Development Agreement

Below: Financial Terms Loan Document MT900183


508 Helmcken – ($50 million) Assessment Reduction Lobbying

Timeframe coincides with City contract for BCSA in contract “A” Jan24, 2015.

1) Assessment Complaint was filed against 508 Helmcken’s assessment between Jan 2-Feb 2, 2015.

2) City was owner of 508 Helmcken. 127 Society were the tenant of 508 Helmcken.

2) The 127 Society were listed as the complainant (nominee).

3) Burgess Cawley Sullivan “BCSA” were retained by nominee (127 Society) before March 2015).

4) BCSA secured a $50 million dollar assessment reduction before the March 15, 2015 deadline.

Wide ranging expense approvals the City granted provided the tenant of 508 Helmcken unlimited expense authority to hire consultants such as BCSA. Legal agreements and loan agreements required that the purchaser or the City “Project management budget” fully cover all of 127 Society expenses in relation to the sale of 508 Helmcken. Such expense would include the rezoning. 127 Society did not have to pay the consulting expense of BCSA and the money was authorized to come from the “Project management budget”.

  • City staff had publicly declared a $15million dollar value for 508 Helmcken for its sale.
  • BC Assessment assessed 508 Helmcken at $59.4 million dollars on January 1, 2015.
  • City Staff were required to approve the Section 10(2) of the BC Assessment Act for this Property Assessment Review Panel “bypass agreement”.
  • Ernst & Young “E&Y”

$50 million dollar assessment appeal

Payments and command flow

Money Flow Beneficiary Command Flow
The secret City spending account known as the “Project management budget”, was made available for all costs associated with this rezoning including any consultants.

Ernst & Young could have also paid BCSA for this work and been compensated by the budget, or it could have been included with Contract A
127 could have paid BCSA directly and been compensated by the following pre approved City payment arrangement.

Only the Purchaser could benefit. The 127 Society could not benefit from this assessment reduction since all their costs associated with this rezoning including tax increases were required to be paid by the purchaser. The City were notified in Jan 2015.  The assessment appeal had a long standing pre-approval from original long term lease agreement. However, the new 2015 “agreed amendment” to reduce the assessment by $50 million dollars required a City approval to comply with Section 10(2) of the BC Assessment Act for this Property Assessment Review Panel “bypass agreement”.

City staff were in a bind as they were required to receive the highest value for the City land but the BC Assessment value indicated a market value 400% higher than the value they disclosed to the public.

City paid Brenhill
Brenhill paid 127 Society
127 Society paid any required consultants as a result of this land swap deal. The City were simultaneously working with BCSA on contract “A”.
BCSA fulfilled contract to reduce assessment of City land by $50m.