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This article was published 3/2/2015 (2184 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Brian Bowman is using semantics to hide what he knows about the True North project and risking investment in downtown with his continued public dispute with CentreVenture.

Those were new allegations raised by CentreVenture’s chairman, Curt Vossen, and the agency’s former CEO, Ross McGowan, following Bowman’s Tuesday news conference.

Vossen, who is CEO of Richardson International, laid out his concerns of how the dispute is being viewed publicly by potential investors in a letter to Bowman and all members of council.

"In attempts to oversimplify a very complex project with a very long history, people have questioned the actions of the Board of Directors of CentreVentre and True North," Vossen states in his letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Free Press. "We are concerned with the way the facts have been characterized, the speed at which the matter was open and closed on us, without reasonable time and opportunity for cooperation and trust," Vossen states in his letter, dated Feb. 2 and received at city hall Feb. 3.

"Our Board’s concern now, along side with many others in the community, is that future economic investment in our downtown and our city is at risk…

"Regardless of the view one holds of the Carlton Inn matter, alternative views should not be characterized with suspicion or doubt just because they are different."

McGowan told the Free Press Tuesday that open public fighting serves no one’s interest.

"I wish somebody would please say, 'no one is winning this fight,' " McGowan said. "We’re asking ourselves, ‘why is this happening?’ Other people are asking me, ‘why is this happening?’

"It’s a sad day."

McGowan said Bowman was informed as early as Nov. 20 about the key details of CentreVenture’s deal with True North. McGowan conceded while he originally told the Free Press he personally had sent an email with those details to Bowman’s chief of staff, it turns out that he had verbally updated the former acting chief administrative officer Deepak Joshi, who then emailed Bowman’s chief of staff, Jason Fuith, with the same details.

"What difference does it make if (the email) went from me to Jason (Fuith)," McGowan said. "The content is the same... To suggest ‘I didn’t get this email’ is — crazy."

McGowan said CentreVenture always dealt with city hall through the CAO’s office.

"To suggest semantically, ‘I didn’t get the email,’ — the more important thing is did (Fuith) get the information and what did you do with it? Did you inform the mayor as to what the conditions of the offer were or did not you not?"

McGowan said there were no restrictions in the email that prevented Fuith from sharing the information with Bowman and nothing to prevent Bowman sharing the details openly with council.

McGowan said the arrangement with True North prevents CentreVenture from sharing a copy of the actual option document with Bowman but added that the details Bowman are looking for are in the Nov. 20 email.

"If you want to split hairs, Jason (Fuith) didn’t get the email from me but he didn’t ask for it from me," McGowan said. "Presumably, Jason was going to use (the information in the email) to brief the mayor."

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca