Doucet's getting desperate...now he's alleging "backroom deals" in what is probably the single most transparent and publicly discussed civic project in the history of North America! What a loser. I hope Ottawa residents (outside the Glebe) can see through his very transparent personal goal of eliminating any development to the Glebe and forcing the public to continue to pick up the 4 million annual tab on maintaining Lansdowne, so Glebe residents get to enjoy a higher standard of living than everyone else in the city.
[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/Brien+Hunt+deny+backroom+Lansdowne+deal/2185881/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/Bri ... story.html[/url]
O'Brien, Hunt deny backroom Lansdowne deal
Doucet releases e-mails he says indicate mayor privately met with project heads
By Maria Cook, with files from Patrick Dare, The Ottawa CitizenNovember 5, 2009
Mayor Larry O'Brien and Lansdowne Live proponent Jeff Hunt dismissed suggestions Wednesday of a "backroom deal" in which the mayor had solicited the proposal from the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.
O'Brien dismissed Councillor Clive Doucet's press conference, which was held earlier Wednesday, as predictable "fluff" from a determined opponent of the Lansdowne project.
The mayor urged citizens to call their councillors and express the opinions on the project one way or another.
"This thing has broad public support," said O'Brien. "It's a major move forward for the City of Ottawa." City council will debate the project at a special council meeting that begins next Thursday.
Hunt said he initiated a meeting with O'Brien in what he believes was August 2007.
"I laid it out for him for the very first time. I would have said something along the lines of, 'I think I have a group of guys, the right group of guys finally, who want to try and make CFL football work in this market and we have a concept that involves some redevelopment of Lansdowne.'
"I remember him even the first time we met he really wanted to see a scenario where the stadium would not be a burden to the city any longer," he said. "He was much more excited about a solution for Lansdowne than he was about CFL football, although the CFL football element was significant."
During his press conference, Doucet released e-mails that he said indicated the mayor had invited the proponents and negotiated behind closed doors. "They were supposed to be unsolicited," he said. "This e-mail trail clearly indicates that there was an intimate and requesting relationship between the mayor and this group of people.
"There are private conversations that have been going on for a very long time which nobody else has been part of and information necessary to the public debate has been denied us consistently over a long period of time," he said.
In an Oct. 3 e-mail, Councillor Bob Monette writes, "they contacted the city and then council voted to evaluate their proposal." Another e-mail sent on his behalf says, "from my understanding the Mayor originally asked the group what they thought should be done with Lansdowne."
And in a press release, he wrote, "They were invited to help the city to do something about the decrepit state of Lansdowne Park..."
Monette explained that what he meant was that "one of the big things that was (O'Brien's) platform was to get Lansdowne Park revitalized and I had figured that by winning the election that that's an open invitation to anybody to bring forward some ideas." He said neither he nor the mayor had met with the developers until the proposal became public.
Doucet said key information has been withheld from councillors, who are being asked to vote on the deal on Nov. 16. For example, a letter outlining the agreement between the Canadian Football League and OSEG was only made available Oct. 27 by city staff and has sections blacked out. "It is clear in the letter that a stadium at Lansdowne Park is not a necessary condition for the awarding of a CFL franchise," says Doucet."It could be anywhere in the city."
Hunt said it was obvious that only Frank Clair stadium was under discussion.
"There is absolutely no smoking gun here," he said.
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