Robertson sells out of his Happy Planet Juice Co.: city hall disclosures

Mayor Gregor Robertson has divested himself from the company he co-founded, city hall annual financial disclosure statements revealed yesterday.

Mayor Gregor Robertson has divested himself from the company he co-founded, city hall annual financial disclosure statements revealed yesterday.

Robertson's annual financial disclosure statement, dated January 8, 2013, does not list Happy Planet Juice Company among his holdings. The Financial Disclosure Act requires local government officials to disclose the name of each corporation in which one or more shares are held, including shares held by a trustee.

Last fall, Robertson's name was omitted from the company's redesigned packaging, which now displays only vice-president of business development Randal Ius as "co-founder."

When asked last October, Robertson's assistant Braeden Caley said the mayor continued to hold shares in the company, but Happy Planet general manager Rex Sheehy took credit for removing Robertson's name from the juice boxes.

"As a non-actively involved person, there's no point promoting Gregor on our packaging," Sheehy told the Vancouver Courier.

Robertson and Ius started Happy Planet in 1994. Robertson left day-to-day operations in 2005 when he won election as the Vancouver-Fraserview NDP MLA. Robertson continued to list Happy Planet on his annual city hall disclosure form, even after winning a second term as mayor in 2011 with Vision Vancouver.

One of Ius and Robertson's early Happy Planet backers was Renewal Partners, the venture capital fund run by Joel Solomon and Carol Newell, key funders of Vision Vancouver.

Three years ago, Happy Planet closed its 950 Powell Street office and warehouse. It is now headquartered in Burnaby, but juices and soups are made and warehoused in Richmond and Delta.

Robertson's disclosure form lists interest in his family company Ohana Partners Ltd., a "landholding company with one residential property at 912 West 23rd Avenue, Vancouver." The value of his residential property is assessed at $1.608 million.

Robertson's assets also include shares in Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-op in Abbotsford, where shares sell for $5,000 each, and Treedom Ventures Ltd., a company that owns 80.53 acres of oceanfront property on Cortes Island near the Hollyhock retreat, whose chairman is Joel Solomon. The property at 1062 Seascape Road includes a 2010-built, two-storey recreation home that was assessed at $1.367 million.

Vision Vancouver newcomer Tony Tang may have the biggest real-estate portfolio on council.

He owns construction and property management company Annex Management Ltd. and is director of K. Tang Enterprises Inc. (Tang's middle initials are K.P.), which manages a $1.832 million-assessed apartment building at 1440 West 71st Ave. and the $3.675 million-assessed 1445 West 71st Avenue apartment building.

Tang owns two lots on Passage Island, off the coast of West Vancouver. One of them contains a two-storey house and is assessed at $491,000. He lives in a $2.241 million house at 2060 West 35th Avenue in Vancouver, but it is not listed among his holdings.

Vision Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie has the biggest stock portfolio on council, with an undisclosed quantity of shares in Bank of Montreal, Crescent Energy, CGI Group Inc., High Yield and Mortgage Plus Trust, Manitoba Telecom, Marret, Nortel, Rainmaker Mining, Royal Bank, Nokia and Warrior Energy.

Vision Vancouver's Heather Deal, Geoff Meggs and Andrea Reimer and Green Party's Adriane Carr disclosed no assets, liabilities, real estate or non-government income.

NPA councillor Elizabeth Ball lives seven blocks east of the mayor at 208 West 23rd Avenue in a house assessed at $1.645 million. Ball lists assets in Ball Welch Holdings, Lightscene Ventures and Eos Lightmedia and is a part-owner of Eos Lightmedia. Lightscene holds shares in CDM2 Lightworks Corp., which supplied the LED lighting system for the new BC Place stadium roof, while EOS and Virginia-based C. M. Kling programmed the effects.

NPA councillor George Affleck owns Curve Communications and has shares in Optima Minerals, Build-a-Bear Workshops, Yaletown Capital Corp., Citigroup and Finavera Wind Energy Inc.

BMackin@biv.com

@bobmackin

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