Mondo Condo: Number 9, Number 9, Number 9...
A Pictorial History of the UFCW Pension Trustees' Haunted House
A few weeks ago shocking revelations about the UFCW's Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan appeared in a detailed series of stories in the Toronto Star. The word on the street is that the explosive feature sent shock waves through the tightly knit circle of labour-management cronies who are responsible for the pension plan - and the mess that it's in.
The pension gurus are having Hissy Fits about the feature and crying loudly about a Pension Regulator's Report which, they say, is filled with unspecified inaccuracies. As the scale of their Betrayal of millions of working people becomes evident, well-oiled palms are getting sweaty, manicured fingers are being pointed and escape routes plotted.
It's a good time to reflect back on where it all began: The UFCW pension trustees' own Haunted House, the west end Toronto hotel where their adventures in trustee-directed pension investing began in good - or bad - earnest. A little more than a decade after UFCW leaders proudly announced their "job creation scheme" - a multi-million dollar loan to an ex-priest and convicted sex offender to finance the purchase of a bankrupt hotel - the hotel's workforce is out of work and the pension plan is a few (quite a few) million dollars lighter.
The hotel, now part of a condo conversion scheme financed in part by the pension plan, has been the subject of our ongoing Mondo Condo feature. In this our 9th installment, we bring you the Mondo Number 9 - a pictorial history of the hotel from the time of its purchase in 1992 by the notorious x-Father Kelly to its closure earlier this year.
Most of the photographs in this pictorial were taken by workers at the hotel or were rescued by workers following their layoff from the hotel in April 2005. This is where they contributed years of their lives and were betrayed by their employers, their union and their pension trustees. Like the mess the labour-management cronies created, it isn't going away.