B.C. Premier Christy Clark is renting a house from a close associate of the owner of a professional sports team that plays at a provincially owned stadium and practices at a provincially funded training centre, yet her tenancy is not disclosed in published conflict of interest filings.
The land titles registry shows the house, which is within the Vancouver-Quilchena riding on Vancouver's west side, is registered to Nevin Sangha with a declared value of $3.688 million.
According to the B.C. companies registry, West Vancouver-based Sangha is the only director of Carrera Management Corp. Carrera manages Greg Kerfoot’s real estate holdings in downtown Vancouver, including The Landing, the heritage office building on Water Street where the Kerfoot-owned Major League Soccer franchise is headquartered.
The companies registry shows that Kerfoot is the only director of Landing Holdings Ltd. Carrera’s office in the Landing is listed as Kerfoot’s mailing address. Carrera and Landing have the same records and registration office in a law office at the RDG Corporate Centre in Langley, according to updated filings from last summer.
Sangha donated $1,250 on Aug. 5, 2010 to the BC Liberals, but Kerfoot is shown by the Elections BC database as Carrera’s only principal officer for a $7,500 donation to the BC Liberals on April 14, 2014. The party’s annual Elections BC report shows that it raised $148,830.78 at a Surrey fundraiser on that date, but the ticket buyers were not identified.
Ben Chin, the Premier’s executive director of communications, said Clark was not obliged to register it as a conflict, but discussed it with Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser. Fraser did not immediately respond to a BIV query.
The house was assessed at $2.5 million in 2015. Real estate agent Tina Oliver of Dexter Associates Realty publicly announced the sale of the house in early April as taking place in six days and over the asking price. Oliver is a close friend of prominent BC Liberal strategist Patrick Kinsella and his wife Brenda.
Chin said Clark is personally paying the rent, between $5,500 and $6,500 a month.
“The Premier had been looking for a more secure, frankly, safer and more private place for some time,” Chin told BIV.
“As for the landlord, it’s strictly a tenant-landlord relationship,” Chin said. He added that Clark and Sangha “may have met or crossed paths at different things a few times, I understand.”
Clark remains the registered owner of a two-storey duplex near Vancouver city hall in Mount Pleasant. That property was assessed at $1.73 million last year and referenced on her 2015 Public Disclosure Statement.
The only Material Change update to her annual public disclosure statement that she has filed this year was on Oct. 27 with Fraser, regarding the Sept. 30 acquisition of a half interest in recreational property. That document was, in turn, filed with the Clerk of the Legislature on Nov. 4 and obtained by BIV.
The land titles registry shows that transaction involved two parcels on Galiano Island, totalling 3.87 acres and a declared value of $720,000. The larger parcel has beachfront and includes a one-storey, 953-square foot house built in 1966. Her brother Bruce bought the other half-interest. Clark’s 2015 Public Disclosure Statement mentioned she held trust property on Galiano Island, specifically an “inherited estate: money on deposit and property.”
“Any politician, particularly the premier or cabinet minister, should go further than any legislation ever requires in terms of disclosure,” said Dermod Travis, executive director of the non-profit watchdog IntegrityBC. “The premier has already demonstrated that it is not her practice and, given the entanglement of potential business and public interests with the players on this particular rental agreement, the premier’s office should’ve recognized this was something that should’e been put on the MLA disclosure statement, so that there was no suspicion that when the story broke, that it was anything potentially improper about it.”
Clark had vowed, after winning a seat in Westside-Kelowna in 2013, that she would buy property there. She told a Global TV reporter earlier this year that she is renting. However, her calendar and expense reports show that she has rarely stayed overnight in Kelowna. She has opted instead for same-day, round-trip charter jet flights from Vancouver with members of her staff.
Vancouver-Quilchena, widely considered the safest BC Liberal seat, is held by Andrew Wilkinson. Wilkinson is already advertising for his re-election campaign with bus shelter posters that include the BC Liberal Party branding, but not the name of Clark, the leader.
Clark was nominated in September to run again in the Kelowna riding for the May 9 provincial election and Chin said that nothing has changed on that front.