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  • authored by remote viewer
  • published Sat, Jul 9, 2005

Toronto Star Feature About UFCW's Pension Adventures

A spectacular investigative feature about the UFCW's troubled pension plan, CCWIPP, appears in today's Toronto Star. A series of articles, by reporter Tony Van Alphen, take an indepth look at the pension trustees' questionable investments.

Read about your favourite CCWIPP characters - Cliff Evans, Bernie Christophe and Ron Kelly - and meet Paul Whiteway, the UFCW member whose efforts to find out what was happening with his pension led to the FSCO's examination and its damning report.

Pension Plan Draws Fire
Pension Plan Sank Millions Into Caribbean
Whistleblower Triggered Probe Into Pension Plan Irregularities
Plan Allowed Interest To Go Unpaid
$3.7 Million Lost on Shrimp Processing Plant

The print version has some really good pictures. Pick up a copy if you can. A great addition to any union reformer's media collection.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, Jul 9, 2005 8:21am

These articles are fantastic.

I think there's more stinking about this plan that an old shrimp plant.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Sat, Jul 9, 2005 8:29am

I have to commend the Star for doing this feature. It's a big complicated story and they were not only willing to take the time to put it together in a way that makes it understandable and compelling but they also had the balls to risk incurring the wrath of the by-now-sorely-irrated UFCW and its circle of influential friends.

Ir really hammers home the point doesn't it? That these guys are a bunch of self-serving wreckless dogs who need to be taught a lesson.

  • posted by siggy
  • Sat, Jul 9, 2005 8:31am

quote:


Pension plan chairman Ron Christophe would not discuss details of the investment committee's decisions on the Caribbean properties or any other ventures and their status.


Credit where credit is due - I believe it should be - Bernie Christophe - right bernie?.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, Jul 9, 2005 9:40am

some days it's hard to tell the difference between Bernie, Cliff, Ron Kelly, Toby Rowe, David Harvey or Andrew Lepper. Is it CCWIPP, Propco or RHK? Some days you just can't figure it out.

  • posted by sleK
  • Sat, Jul 9, 2005 10:52am

The Star has their "speak out" thingy activated for this story:

quote:


Are you worried about how your pension fund is being administered? Speak Out


  • posted by press
  • Sat, Jul 9, 2005 2:37pm

One of the TorStar articles mentions investment in a Florida magic-themed restaurant chain.

Does anyone know more about this? It just sounds like such a really stupid idea (quick search on the internet had some Vegas examples where waiters do magic at the tables).

The logistics and obvious service problems make this sound like a much more risky venture than even a potato plant!! Restaurants are notoriously risky without the added costly theme. It's like the trustees are trying to out-do each other on the 'ridiculous ways to give money to our friends' scale.

Magic-themed restaurants. Another Gargamel Evans spell intended to bleed the working-stiff Smurfs.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, Jul 9, 2005 3:04pm

It was called LateNite Magic Inc. It was going to be a restaruant that featured magic acts.

"Hey! I'm going to put your money into my hat. Now watch it disappear!"

Voila! It did disappear.

Read more about it here.

  • posted by blasdell
  • Sat, Jul 9, 2005 7:09pm

I dont think the Star is done with the story yet.

Just like deepthroat said "follow the money".

  • posted by press
  • Sat, Jul 9, 2005 7:34pm

quote:


posted by bb:
I dont think the Star is done with the story yet.

Just like deepthroat said "follow the money".


"Scratching the surface" sounds about right.

Like RV, I want to offer a commendation to Tony and the Star for the articles. It'll be interesting to see how the story plays out through the media circles- local, provincially and nationally. Other publications knew things were up and for a variety of reasons didn't think enough to pursue 'the scoop'.

This story is just beginning. When someone actually looks at the books (I think weiser yelled for a needed forensic audit)... they'll find whatever money is left only exists on paper. These guys are kings at overvaluing their crappy investments. That's why they only seem to be able to sell, flip and mortgage their shit between their friends.

The day of reckoning is gonna be rather lengthy. Enjoy it boys!

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Jul 10, 2005 8:52am

Just a reminder: You can comment on the Star's articles in its "Speak Out" section.

It's important for the mainstream to hear how you feel. They think that if you didn't like what was happening, you'd simply "vote" for something else to happen. They think that unions are democracies controlled by the people who work on the shop floor. Yup! That's exactly what they think.

Tell 'em different.

  • posted by press
  • Sun, Jul 10, 2005 9:04pm

The first set of speakout quotes are posted...

Voices: Pension funds

We asked if you if you are worried about how your pension fund is being administered. Here's what you had to say.

Guess what? I just received my 2004 pension statement last week. I have 30 years seniority (currently with Zehrs Markets) and I am entitled to $623.00 a month from my CCWIPP pension. Yay! I do also have an even smaller Loblaws pension to look forward to. Since Loblaws keeps posting record profits and Zehrs has recently announced the closure of 4 stores with more to come, maybe the South Ocean Golf and Beach Resort in the Bahamas could be re-opened as a retirement home for only CCWIPP retirees. Seriously, I am gravely concerned for the future of myself and my family, and this article certainly did not alleviate any of those feelings.
Lori Spychaj, Brantford, July 10

All pension funds other than CPP are going to run into problems. It doesn't matter whether they are well managed or not. Do the math. The actuaries calculate the cost of the benefit as 9 times the annual benefit which is how the plan's "health" is measured. Using that assumption $900 at age 65 should provide me with $100 dollars a year for life. This requires a long term return of 8 per cent and you dying before 85, both of which don't seem realistic.
Sridhar Rajappan, Toronto, July 10

Yes I am very concerned about my pension. I am a laid-off employee with Air Canada and I don't know if I will see my pension either thanks to Robert Milton.
Leigha Watson, Calgary, July 10

I'm disgusted at the callous way that these so-called union leaders misappropriate our pension money. Their underhanded, self-serving (actions) are a black eye to 'legitimate' unions everywhere. Time to send them packing!
Johnny Roberts, St. Catharines, July 10

So in a pension plan that currently holds a surplus of $1.6-2 billion (which Tony Van Alphen conveniently forgets to mention in his article, "Pension plan draws fire"), $140-280 million may have been badly invested. As a member of the UFCW for three years, and as someone who plans to benefit from the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan, I am not worried about 10% of the Plan's money being badly invested. Why is it that unions continue to be held to a standard of perfection, while businesses only need to avoid being exposed as blatantly corrupt in order to maintain their respectability? Van Alphen's article merely reiterates the media's mantra of "unions are bad."
Mike Hurley, London, July 09

--------
Mr. Hurley is calling Mr. Van Alphen out onto the carpet. I like his union-supporting spunk! Maybe he did switch allegiance three years ago (just after this article?)... from the 2002 archive
Hey it's just a 'guess'.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Jul 11, 2005 3:07am

quote:


So in a pension plan that currently holds a surplus of $1.6-2 billion (which Tony Van Alphen conveniently forgets to mention in his article, "Pension plan draws fire"), $140-280 million may have been badly invested. As a member of the UFCW for three years, and as someone who plans to benefit from the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan, I am not worried about 10% of the Plan's money being badly invested. Why is it that unions continue to be held to a standard of perfection, while businesses only need to avoid being exposed as blatantly corrupt in order to maintain their respectability? Van Alphen's article merely reiterates the media's mantra of "unions are bad."
Mike Hurley, London, July 09


So this is how the UFCW idiots are spinning this disaster?!

There is no 1 - 2 billion surplus. $1.2 billion is the stated total value of the pension plan. And it isn't 10% that's been played around with - it's 45%. That's right in the FSCO report.

It'll be fun to watch the lame efforts at making the pile of shit look like....something other than a pile of shit.

  • posted by siggy
  • Mon, Jul 11, 2005 7:05am

quote:


So in a pension plan that currently holds a surplus of $1.6-2


Then perhaps Mr. Hurley can explain why ccwipp member's just took a 20% pension reduction.

I think Mr. Hurley didn't even read the report. I think he's knee-jerking and then decided the best thing to do would be to error on the side of the status quo.

Please Mr. Hurley, you've all done more than enough already - adding to an already reprehensible situation by insulting the public's intelligence won't help.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Mon, Jul 11, 2005 7:09am

Ya couldn't have said it better RV. This statement is an idiot waiting to happen:

quote:


So in a pension plan that currently holds a surplus of $1.6-2 billion


Nope, no such thing as a surplus, that would be the sum of their assets. And as noted, they have a severely underfunded plan. Virtually every trust builds their fund (and benefit levels) based on the actuarial assumption (projected earnings on investments). Typically a mature plan will pay out more in benefits than they take in in contributions. Their returns on investments have to meet their projections or they will be forced to reduce benefits; or go begging to the employer for more contributions.

But then we knew that, because they just did lower benefits (and did go begging) as pointed out by several members. Several defined benefit plans have reduced benefits, because of less than predicted market returns. That is dramatically different than pissing money down some convicted pedophiles pocket as he basks in the bahamian sun and spews platitudes on living the life of a moral man with a vision higher.

I won't even deal with his playing loose with the percentages. The reality is this is just a pathetic attempt to blame the media for exposing the boys and their investment toys. Shameful.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Jul 11, 2005 7:32am

The Toronto Star's coverage of the UFCW pension fiasco continues. A front page story in today's edition focuses on what union reformers think should be done to address the mess.

A union reform group is calling for a police investigation into a major pension plan and the resignation of its trustees after they invested more than $280 million in questionable ventures, including deals with a defrocked priest.

Members for Democracy, a small labour group advocating change and more accountability in unions, said yesterday police should launch an immediate criminal probe into the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan, the biggest private-sector, multi-employer fund in the country.

Reacting to a series of revelations in the Saturday Star, the group said about 12 management and union trustees of the plan should also resign or be forced out because of internal government findings of sloppy bookkeeping, lack of investment homework, weak monitoring, potential conflicts of interest and numerous violations of pension law.

"I think there is something awfully fishy going on," Members for Democracy administrator Sharyn Sigurdur said in an interview. "The police, including the RCMP, have to get involved right away and do a thorough investigation.

The whole story.

  • posted by press
  • Mon, Jul 11, 2005 7:34am

Welcome to all the new readers!

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, Jul 11, 2005 8:12am

Does Bernie Christophe think we're doofuses? Probably, but that's no reason to try to get us to believe that the CCWIPP hasn't had anything to do with Ron Kelly for the last few years.

That's just not factual. Kelly still holds title to a string of properties financed by the CCWIPP--including the Bahamian properties.

The report says that the CCWIPP says that Kelly is bankrupt. More bullshit. Even the FSCO says there's no evidence of that. Hell, the guy is still a director of the Roman Corporation (see page 4 [6 of 19]).

  • posted by Richard
  • Mon, Jul 11, 2005 8:52am

This just has to be from the UFCW Local 206 John Hurley's kid....

quote:


So in a pension plan that currently holds a surplus of $1.6-2 billion (which Tony Van Alphen conveniently forgets to mention in his article, "Pension plan draws fire"), $140-280 million may have been badly invested. As a member of the UFCW for three years, and as someone who plans to benefit from the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan, I am not worried about 10% of the Plan's money being badly invested. Why is it that unions continue to be held to a standard of perfection, while businesses only need to avoid being exposed as blatantly corrupt in order to maintain their respectability? Van Alphen's article merely reiterates the media's mantra of "unions are bad."
Mike Hurley, London, July 09


What a blatantly stupid remark. Van Alphen's articles point the finger at supposed pension bright bulbs like George Weston's Vice President Lucy Paglione. He didn't say unions were bad. He said, using the FSCO report as support, that these guys really weren't qualified to be investing the dough, and the bright bulbs didn't do their homework.

Evans said due dilligence was done, and that is now proven wrong.

If the guys at Local 206 are buying the bullshit, they stand alone. The rest of us know what's been going on.

  • posted by sheila
  • Mon, Jul 11, 2005 7:50pm

I just picked up the Toronto Star and read the
article. I had to chuckle. A sista with balls (Siggy).
You go girl!

Members for Democracy, a small labour
group advocating change and more
accountabilty in unions, said yesterday
police should launch an immediate criminal
probe into the Canadian Commercial Workers
Industry Pension Plan, the biggest private-
sector, multi-employer fund in the country

Sigurdur, a grocery store clerk in Mission B.C.,
said it is impossible now for workers to have
any confidence in the current board of trustees
to protect and improve pensions.

"After what this report states about the
conduct of these trustees, how could a
union member feel secure about their pensions
as the grow older and near retirement? she
added. "It is absolutely appalling what has
gone on in this plan for so many years. It's
an outrage."

Sigurdur, a steward for UFCW Local 1518, said
it is unconscionable that poorly paid members
would be the victims of their own union.
"What is even more disgusting is that ( the
trustees) are still acting like nothing is wrong,"
she said.

  • posted by siggy
  • Mon, Jul 11, 2005 9:38pm

Thanks to the TO Star and Tony Van Alphen for the space.

Union members have been taking wage and benefit concessions left and right in the name of a "level playing field". Unions for the most part have been giving it ample lip service - "it's the best we're going to get". And now we have to fear for our pensions too?

To hit retirement and find your pension reduced by economic disaster is one thing. To find out the money you thought you had safely tuc'd away in your union trust has been squander'd and it's all been casually overlooked by yet others who are paid with your tax monies is just reprehensible.

That's hardly a level playing field ya'think?

  • posted by sheila
  • Mon, Jul 11, 2005 11:07pm

These guys (trustees) don't give a shit that there conduct could potentially harm the future retirements of their members. They wiil (trustees)
get a pension irrespective of the millions of dollars
they irresponsibly flushed down the toilet. It doesn't affect their future retirement, it affects someone elses, their members. Therefore, they will behave as if nothing is wrong, because as far as they are concerned there is nothing wrong, there
pensions are secure.

They are narcissis. They only think about their
interests, that's it. Even when it appears that
they are considering the members' interest, you
can best believe they thought about their own
first and determine whether anything is in it for them, if not, forget about the members. They would never look at the members interest without
considering their own first.

I agree with Siggy. The trustees must be removed
from their positions. They have shown that they
are irresponsible, untrustworthy and appear to
lack a conscience about their irresponsible and self serving behaviour. That fact alone, lack of conscience, is good reason for the members to fear for the future should the trustees remain in their positions. A lack of conscience means that
once the spotlight is no longer shining on the trustees, they will likely revert back to the same conduct that brought the spotlight on them to begin with. They have to be removed.

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, Jul 12, 2005 7:46am

Keep in mind that money is never "lost" inasmuch as it simply vaporizes. Money is transferred from one person's or entity's bank account to anothers.

We could be talking about a quarter billion dollars, which is in who knows whose pockets.

Enron was about using multiple corporations to hide transactions and to launder money.

The CCWIPP operations seem to be based on a similar business model to that used by Enron. Is such complexity reasonable for a pension plan? I don't think so. How on earth could the members ever know what was going on or what was being done with their money? The pension plan's operation and financial dealings must be not only transparent, but readily accessible to each and every plan member.

The government must lead with moral authority and in doing so, they must dig deep and make their findings public.

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Jul 15, 2005 4:00pm

quote:


Pension plan chairman [Bernie] Christophe would not discuss details of the investment committee's decisions on the Caribbean properties or any other ventures and their status.

However he confirmed the pension plan had cut its business ties to Kelly at least a few years earlier.


What a load of crap. Toby Rowe is Ron's boy from Newfoundland. Here he is only last year tellin' folks that he owns the Jamaical Hilton. Ron Owns it and the CCWIPP paid for it.

Bernie--now tell us again, how long it's been since you quit doin' business with Father Ronnie?

  • posted by press
  • Thu, Jul 21, 2005 11:19pm

Just caught this message on the UFCW local 1518 site...

quote:


July 12, 2005
Media Reports On Pension Plan DO NOT Impact UFCW Local 1518 Safeway, Save-On/Overwaitea Members
There have recently been media reports about controversy surrounding the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan, or CCWIPP. This is creating confusion, and many UFCW Local 1518 members who work at Safeway and Save-On/Overwaitea have contacted the Union about what they have heard on the news.

To make things clear, in B.C., Safeway, Save-On, and Overwaitea Foods employees who are members of UFCW Local 1518 belong to the United Food and Commercial Workers Pension Plan (UFCWPP). The UFCWPP is a completely separate Pension Plan, and has no relationship with CCWIPP.

The UFCW Pension Plan is in good shape, well-managed, and not anticipating any problems with meeting its obligations. Please go to www.ufcwpensionplan.com for more info on the UFCW Pension Plan.


Sundin best be right. He's on record now.

I wonder if the Toronto Star knows they've had an effect... all the way across Canada?

Who knows... maybe they'll pursue the story.

  • posted by Richard
  • Fri, Jul 22, 2005 6:31am

What about all the other Safeway employees across Canada? BC is loaded with Local 247 members who are CCWIPP victims.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Fri, Jul 22, 2005 6:48am

quote:


To make things clear, in B.C., Safeway, Save-On, and Overwaitea Foods employees who are members of UFCW Local 1518 belong to the United Food and Commercial Workers Pension Plan (UFCWPP). The UFCWPP is a completely separate Pension Plan, and has no relationship with CCWIPP.


Interesting comments from Brooke; could someone please explain the difference in the two plans.

  • posted by press
  • Fri, Jul 22, 2005 6:59am

quote:


posted by Richard:
What about all the other Safeway employees across Canada? BC is loaded with Local 247 members who are CCWIPP victims.


That's interesting, because the ufcw pension plan website shows 247 is very involved in this UFCW plan.

Interesting. I guess some 247 employees are breathing a huge sigh of relief to have absolutely NO connection to the unluckier 247 members that fell under CCWIPP.

Sundin needs someone to cram that statement up his ass.

  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, Jul 22, 2005 7:48am

quote:


The UFCW Pension Plan is in good shape, well-managed, and not anticipating any problems with meeting its obligations.


considering it's the same assurance ccwipp trustees gave it's plan members prior to the shit hitting the fan - those are interesting comments from brooke - 'don't worry be happy' -

Where is the ufcw line drawn between ufcw's ccwipp and ufcwpp?

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, Jul 23, 2005 12:30pm

BP, from what I can read, the Locals that Cliff had the greatest control over all jumped head-first into the CCWIPP. Gib managed to stop and collect a full pension out of the Local 1518 plan before he moved his troops over to the CCWIPP.

While Cliff has always had considerable clout over 1518, he never had complete control. Brooke wouldn't have been where he is today if it wasn't for Cliff, However, Cliff couldn't ever quite pursuade Brooke to hand over the 1518 plan to the CCWIPP.

The 1518 plan remains independent, but it has sucked in a few remenants from the former Local 2000 meat crew that merged with Local 777. However, Local 1518 has a bunch of the poultry packers in the CCWIPP.

  • posted by siggy
  • Sat, Jul 23, 2005 1:01pm

quote:


The 1518 plan remains independent, but it has sucked in a few remenants from the former Local 2000 meat crew that merged with Local 777. However, Local 1518 has a bunch of the poultry packers in the CCWIPP.


Are we sure? When the '96 cba came down there had to have been a lot of member swapping between 2000 and 1518.

At one time ofg meat departments were cover'd by either 2000 or 1518, it is my understanding that now all ofg meat departments are cover'd under the 1518 cba.

Are we to assume local 247 (previously 2000/777) just handed members over to 1518 without something in return?

1518 meat language specified that meat department members had an option whether to become 1518 or not. Unfortunately it wasn't exactly a front page option - no-one really knew there was an option until it was too late.

(actually 1518 reps often like to throw that in the face of 1518 meat members now if they complain about union representation.)

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, Jul 26, 2005 9:01am

I've heard that the FSCO is refusing to release its report about CCWIPP to any CCWIPP members who want a copy. That seems really strange since it's the members' pension plan and they have a legal right to this information.

Oh well, it's a good thing that members can get their copies here.

  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, Jul 26, 2005 9:05am

quote:


That seems really strange since it's the members' pension plan and they have a legal right to this information.


It is stoopid - perhaps fsco is acting out because it's technically ccwipp's legal responsibiltiy to provide the report to it's members?

  • posted by press
  • Tue, Jul 26, 2005 10:07am

Also interesting that the UFCW Canada website has been offline since Sunday.

You just can't find good info these days outside of MFD.

  • posted by siggy
  • Wed, Jul 27, 2005 7:58am

quote:


Also interesting that the UFCW Canada website has been offline since Sunday


It's still down. How long does it take to clear away shrapnel and trace elements? And then there's E-day to consider - the day labour blew itself up.

BTW corporations are already lobbying - if they get their way - E-day will become the next national holiday.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Wed, Jul 27, 2005 11:10am

Maybe Uncle Cliff is giving the boys a lecture on how they should never have gotten into this internet thing in the first place. Now they're in a jam (well, in numerous jams). Since they have an internet site, everyone is expecting them to say something about the, well you know, the things that they don't want to say anything about.

And look at the CCWIPP web site. At least it's operational (except for the links to the "plan details" and names of the Board of Trustees). But the first thing that hits you when you go there is a big honking notice telling members to contact the fraud squad because their personal information may have been stolen in the great hard drive heist of '05. Talk about trying to get the members' minds off of other nagging issues!

These guys are so lame that it was almost inevitable that one day they would be outted by a bunch of people sitting around in their basements with run of the mill technology.

  • posted by Downeaster
  • Wed, Jul 27, 2005 4:53pm

for years I have been told by my union to shut the fuck up ,be quiet we know whats best for you , don't ask Questions we will look after you. Bullshit; they will look after themselves . Big time . Now that we can comunicate on the internet with union brothers around the world we have the power to get rid of the bad corropt union leaders that have been around for a long long time (all in theFamily)
and ELECT union officers who we want .We can tell our stories of how we have been fucked by our union , and
How our union has payed millions of dollars to Busniness agents who have been hired ,instead of being elected , Local 864 is a farce .

,

  • posted by Downeaster
  • Wed, Jul 27, 2005 5:11pm

UFCW SUCKS

  • posted by Downeaster
  • Wed, Jul 27, 2005 5:42pm

I am tired OF GETTING fucked by YFCW .

  • posted by Downeaster
  • Wed, Jul 27, 2005 5:44pm

I am tired OF GETTING fucked by YFCW .

  • posted by press
  • Sat, Jul 30, 2005 3:06pm

Well this is a surprise...

quote:


PENSION FUND FINANCIAL STATEMENT

Filing Period- 01/01/2004 - 12/31/2004

Due Date- 06/30/2005

Current Status- Delinquent Filing


  • posted by siggy
  • Sat, Jul 30, 2005 6:49pm

quote:


I am tired OF GETTING fucked by YFCW


I did it for continuity - that's why.

The ccwipp situation (nice words eh) - the situation ceratinly doesn't look good on ufcw but it's making a mockery of the regulatory body.

Come to canada - we stand on guard for thee - just not the justice system - you could easily be screw'd over if you're not vigilant.

  • posted by press
  • Thu, Aug 4, 2005 7:40pm

the 'fountains' of cash keep flowing

And there has been an upgrade to 24 hour cappuccino! I am so jealous...

At the Mondo Condo, the assholes were so cheap that when the ancient cappuccino machine went to hell a few years back they replaced it with a push-button one, probably bought at Walmart. It was that bad, but a normal thing for the property.

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Aug 5, 2005 7:37am

They make it sound as if the CCWIPP is putting pension money into a property that it owns.

Here's Ron Kelly's boy Toby Rowe tellin' the world that he owns the Hilton. If you check the Hilton's property records, you'll find that it sure the hell ain't the CCWIPP that's listed as the owner.

Bernie boy tells the world that the CCWIPP cut ties with Ron Kelly years ago, but If you read the Bahamas news you'll see Ron boy gettin a big award as "owner" of the BC Hilton.

quote:


Receiving the Special Award was British Colonial Hilton Hotel owner Ronald Kelly, for restoring the hotel and contributing to the tourism industry.


Why the hell do the CCWIPP boys pretend to not know Ronnie and why the hell do they not foreclose on the properties. He's still the owner and the CCWIPP sits on the sidelines as an unsecured creditor throwing buckets of cash on the burning inferno.

  • posted by press
  • Sun, Aug 7, 2005 9:43pm

I just checked out the new Panama News online edition to see if there is any new mention of Kelly. There was only a letter to the editor and response, but I loved the comments...

quote:


Ronald H. Kelly

Thanks so much for taking the time and exposing people like Kelly.

You did that with Tom in Bocas and look what happened --- we can make a difference and you certainly do.

Juan from Gorgona

Editor's note: It seems that Tom McMurrain has had his fraud sentencing by a US federal district court postponed because it is said that he is suffering from a mental illness. Let this journalist, one of a long line of manic depressives, not belittle the seriousness of a psychological condition. But from my personal observations, McMurrain's main problem is a severe moral disorder. But seeing as how his family ties have resulted in a nearly complete news blackout of his case in Atlanta, I would not be shocked to see an American court take pity on the poor sick man whose misfortune was to strip dozens of other people of their lives' savings.

And Father Kelly? The record would indicate a continuing and ever more serious crime wave by a guy who has been the beneficiary of misguided pity all of his adult life. If he is an alcoholic as claimed, that's an unfortunate malady but no excuse for being a pedophile, pension fund skimmer or money launderer. Whether on health or moral grounds, the Torrijos administration really does need to throw the sticky fingered chickenhawk out of Panama.


We always knew about the non-alcoholic thing, but his anti-caffeine stance was more noticeable. Kelly's office mini-bar had to be stocked with only water and specially-ordered-for-him cans of caffeine-free Diet Coke. I can't remember the coffee situation but I think that he got a decaf pot while his secretary and others got the regular.

And tonight's interesting Mondo Condo fact... I noticed that Kelly's out-of-tune grand piano is still on-site and now sitting in the cafe that faces Keele... which makes me feel great that the Phantom of the Opera has found a new location to perform his nightly act. It's perfect!

Point of No Return

What rich desire
unlocks its door?
What sweet seduction
lies before
us . . .?
Past the point
of no return,
the final threshold -
what warm,
unspoken secrets
will we learn?
Beyond the point
of no return . . .

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