The mayor of Port Moody says he has been up front with TransLink and the city about his real estate holdings, and any suggestion he may be in a conflict of interest is erroneous.
Yesterday (Thursday), Joe Trasolini defended himself after TransLink chair Malcolm Brodie issued a statement saying he plans to hold a special meeting with TransLink directors to recommend the board “take certain measures” to address possible conflict of interest concerns with Trasolini.
Trasolini, who is one of three TransLink directors representing the northeast sector, owns property located at 3180-3198 St. Johns St. — right along the planned Evergreen Line route.
According to TransLink, which is responsible for the $970-million light rail transit line, Trasolini’s property is close to where an Evergreen station is to be built.
But Trasolini argued the exact location of the stations have yet to be determined and he said his property has been up for sale since May 2006.
Furthermore, he said, the rapid transit alignment has been on the books for 15 years and he has pressed for the line to run along Lougheed Highway, past Riverview Hospital, rather than through PoMo.
Trasolini called the timing of Brodie’s statement “suspicious” as it was issued the same day the provincial government re-organized TransLink (see separate story). Brodie has declined to comment further on the statement.
“It’s a statement from a chairman who is, understandably, over-sensitive because of the fact the provincial government came down with the TransLink governance,” Trasolini said, adding, “It’s suspicious. Somebody obviously waited for the right opportunity to throw this in there. It’s orchestrated.”
Trasolini bought the property under Pug Investments Ltd. — a “passive investment company,” Trasolini said — in 2004 for about $2.4 million. He was not on the TransLink board at the time.
The land, now assessed at around $3.5 million, consists of a commercial building in the front (with Dino’s Place and an English school as tenants) and a body shop and warehouse space in the back, near the CP Rail tracks.
As per the Financial Disclosure Act, Trasolini communicated his assets to the city in his 2007 and 2006 documents. Trasolini said he did the same with TransLink (TransLink would not confirm this).
Asked why he didn’t excuse himself from TransLink discussions for pecuniary interests, Trasolini said there was never any direct talk about acquisition of or near his land.
“There’s nothing that happened that specifically affects me,” he said.
But had he been requested to stay out of the discussion “because it might harm the process, of course, I would respect that, but so far nobody has told me that,” he said.
Trasolini said conflict of interest may be clear in its rules “but anyone can extrapolate anything they want. In that case, you would have to be a person that doesn’t hold anything or any properties to be in business... No wonder business people don’t want to be involved in politics.”
Despite his support for Evergreen (Monday, he was appointed by Brodie as chair of the Evergreen Line communications committee), Trasolini said he considers construction for rapid transit “more of a negative than a positive. Look at Cambie. Look at Richmond. Who wants that hassle?”
Joe Trasolini’s assets, disclosed at PoMo city hall:
• 2007: G. Trasolini Contractors Ltd. (part owner, general contracting business); Pug Investments Ltd. (owner, holding company that owns 3180-3198 St. Johns St.); recreational condo in Puerto Vallarta.
• 2006: G. Trasolini Contractors Ltd. (part owner); Pug Investments Ltd. (owner); recreational condo in Puerto Vallarta.
• 2005: G. Trasolini Contractors Ltd. (president and part owner); Pug Investments (owner); Lani Investments (president and part owner of 908 Sherwood Ave., Coquitlam, 214-225 Newport Dr. and 601-200 Newport Dr.).
• 2004: G. Trasolini Contractors Ltd. (president and part owner); Pug Investments (owner); Lani Investments (president and part owner).
• 2000/’03: G. Trasolini Contractors Ltd. (president and part owner); Lani Investments (908 Sherwood Ave. and 2717 Murray St.).