Friday, May 2, 2014

The Frank Coleman/Humber Valley Paving scandal - a timeline of events.

A few days ago, Peter Cowan of CBC broke a story about how Humber Valley Paving - a company closely linked to future Premier Frank Coleman - was allowed to cancel a multi-million dollar contract to pave a section of the Trans-Labrador Highway without paying any penalty.  I have prepared below a timeline of events linked to this story. We will continue to update as more details of this story emerge.

January 22: Dunderdale steps down as Premier.

February 10: Danny Williams publicly opposes Bill Barry for PC leader and mischaracterises the contents of letter Barry sent to caucus. (link).

February 14: Rumours circulate that Coleman is being courted by Williams to become PC leader. (link)

February 14: Coleman sells HVP, steps down as CEO (link, link).

March 10: Coleman steps down as a director of HVP (link).

March 13: HVP requests the termination of a $19M paving contract in Labrador (link).  ( it has now emerged that Gene Coleman - Frank's son - negotiated the deal, and that negotiations were done verbally and left no paper trail.  (link, link)).  This appears to be in violation of the Lobbyist Registration Act. 

March 13 evening (the same day!): Coleman announces he will enter the PC leadership race. Shortly after this announcement, both Steve Kent and Shawn Skinner announce they will not run.  (link)

March 14 noon: Nominations close for PC leadership race. Commentators widely agree that Coleman is almost certain to win the leadership and hence to become the next Premier.

March 21: The request to cancel the contract is granted. HVP gets paid $12M for road preparations and paving only 20km out of the 80km of what was required and have both their $9.5M performance bond and $9.5M labour/materials bond returned without any penalty. At this time three members of Coleman family, including his son Gene, were directors of the company and had an ownership stake in the company. (link, link). It was later revealed the Frank Coleman would have been personally liable to the bonding agency if the bonds had been pulled (link). This contradicts earlier statements by Coleman:

"No, I did not benefit personally from this whatsoever. It is incomprehensible to me that somebody could infer that I benefitted personally from this."(link)

April 20:  The 30 day period for sub-contractors to file a "mechanics lien" against HVP expires. Sub-contractors owed money who failed to file a lien will henceforth be forced to sue HVP in court. (link)

April 25: HVP shareholders release letter saying that "Mr. Frank Coleman and/ or members of his immediate family have no further interest in the ownership structure of Humber Group." (link)

As of April 31: Frank's relatives (grand children, nephews?), Michael and Robert Coleman are the sole directors of HVP. His son, Gene Coleman, is rumoured to have stepped down on April 28th. (link)

June 11: McGrath holds a press conference announcing the result of the retendering of the HVP contract.  McGrath claims that accounting for changes in project specs, cost to the taxpayers have risen by $1.5M. Ignoring specs, the cost has risen more than $2.5M. (link)

June 16: Frank Coleman quits the leadership "race" due to unspecified family issues. (link)

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