Jenny Kwan in the Chinese Media
I’m curious how the Chinese newspapers are reporting on Jenny Kwan and the Portland Hotel Society (PHS) scandal, so I translate an article from the well-known Sing Tao Daily newspaper(星島日報). I quote the Chinese text from their web site.
Each paragraph or heading in Chinese is followed by my translation in English. See below.
Chaotic Accounting: Four Senior Executives Still Get Severance Pay
March 23, 2014
By Sing Tao Reporter: Ming Lei Sun
Provincial government confirms expenses included in PHS annual appropriation
為溫市中心東端精神病及癖癮者提供廉租屋等服務的非牟利組織波特蘭酒店協會(Portland Hotel Society，簡稱PHS)，近日被審計處查出賬目及管理混亂後，又爆出辭職高層可獲發遣散費。卑詩省府周六證實，該筆費用包含在年度撥款中，但未透露金額。省府強調，新上任董事會將對未來的開銷嚴格把關。
Recently, after the auditors found confusion in the accounting and management, it broke out that the resigning executives also were entitled to severance pay in the case of the non-profit organization Portland Hotel Society (PHS), which provides low cost grade of rental housing and other services in the Downtown Vancouver Eastside. On Saturday, BC confirmed that this cost is included in the annual appropriation of funds, but the amount is not yet determined. The provincial government stressed that the newly appointed board will strictly control spending in the future.
包括PHS前任行政總裁湯森（Mark Townsend），以及卑詩新民主黨省議員關慧貞分居丈夫、PHS前任政策研究及經費開拓董事斯莫爾（Dan Small）在內4人，已於上周三辭職，他們將獲發遣散費，具體金額未明；該費用當初正是經由本次辭職的這批高層核准。
Former PHS CEO Mark Townsend along with former PHS director of policy, research and fund development Dan Small, the estranged husband of NDP MLA Jenny Kwan, were among four persons who had already resigned on Wednesday. They would be entitled to severance pay, the amount as yet undetermined; this cost was ratified at the time of the resignation of this management team.
One of the resignation conditions: no litigation
During Saturday’s interview with a Sing Tao reporter, BC Health Ministry spokesperson Ryan Jabs acknowledged the existence of a sum of severance pay, and pointed out that this cost was already included in PHS’s annual appropriations: “management who are resigned from PHS, at which time is eligible for severance pay; now resigned they will be eligible for this sum of money.” He moreover said that newly appointed PHS directors will strengthen supervision of the organization’s future spending and ensure funds are effectively used for services.
BC Health Minister Terry Lake previously stated that one of the conditions of the PHS management resignation in order to also avoid litigation. He then stressed that the services provided for low income people will not be interrupted by this controversy.
Fraud not found
BC Deputy Premier, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing, Rich Coleman pointed out on Saturday that severance pay will be implemented with in line with labour standards. He stated Vancouver Police was already contacted. If fraud is found, the police will open a criminal investigation, only now no finding of such behaviour. Coleman believed that PHS provided services, including the kind such as the Vancouver Insite drug safe injection centre, will not be affected by this matter.
The BC government recently disclosed audit report, points to PHS accounting and management confusion, including management’s involvement in suspected misuse of public funds. The report indicates that Dan Small used public funds in 2012 to bring along his wife Jenny Kwan and two children on a foreign trip to Europe, the US and other places.
MLA Jenny Kwan announced Friday to have repaid $35,000 travel expenses, and also took temporary leave from work.
Former CEO also uses public funded vacation
And the above mentioned cases only are the tip of the iceberg of PHS accounting confusion. PHS has other expenses pointed out as “very unusual”, for example, one member of the managerial staff, reported spending $5,832 on a European luxury cruise, along with a large purchase of a $817.83 gift for a baby. Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu even directly pointed out that the chief executive Mark Townsend had also used public funds for vacations, which leads him to very much lose hope.
And Coleman did not criticize Dan Small’s wife Jenny Kwan being implicated, just stating that her person as a member of the provincial opposition party, Kwan’s hard work in the provincial legislative assembly, currently also was implicated.
END OF TRANSLATION