Sunday, November 29, 2009

Business Expense...

I think Jim Bagnall should be looking at giving a medal to whatever Company took FoodTrust off PEI taxpayer's hands as it was losing tons of money most of which was under Mr. Bagnall's watch when he was the Agriculture Minister... now to turn around and tarnish the Company's image around while it tries to revitalize itself is really in poor taste... I'm sure when the idea for FoodTrust was first conceived by Government there were good intentions to make it a viable business enterprise but as with most Government business ventures they seem to take on spirit of their own and for the most part always end up bleeding red ink. Now that Mid-Isle Farms a proven operator with many shareholders have taken over the reins there is probably a better chance of success but not if their name is continually bashed around with foolish innuendo... it might make great grand standing for Mr. Bagnall but every time the Company’s name comes in question it creates a sense of carefulness with bankers and customers alike and when the Company has the potential to become an Island product leader then let’s leave the silly politics at home.... no one in the industry really believes that George Webster did anything wrong here so why create a smokescreen at the expense of the business... I'm hoping FoodTrust could turn into another Amalgamated Dairies Limited story...
Conservative MLA demands answers on minister's role in FoodTrust sale
The Guardian
Mid-Isle Farms paid the Prince Edward Island government $890,000 for the money-losing FoodTrust but not before the province scratched nearly $1.2 million in losses from its books. The sale was announced in December of last year but it’s only now that the purchase price is being made public.Opposition Agriculture Critic Jim Bagnall spent much of question period in the P.E.I. legislature Tuesday demanding to know more about Agriculture Minister George Webster’s role in the sale of the Charlottetown-based FoodTrust to Mid-Isle. Webster and his brother, Bertram, are founders of Mid-Isle, which is based in Albany. George Webster’s interests in the company are now being held in a blind trust because he is a cabinet minister. “Minister, you wrote off all the liabilities and turned around and sold the company to you and your brother. Do you not feel that was a conflict of interest?” Bagnall asked.“They said it was a fair bidding process. How can it be a fair bidding process when the minister, who’s the president of the company, the minister had all the inside information about what was taking place, the minister wrote off $1.2 million for FoodTrust, and turns around and has the best offer. How can that be a fair process?”Premier Robert Ghiz defended Webster, saying the sale was tendered and the best tender won. He said Webster left the cabinet table whenever the issue of FoodTrust came up for discussion. “Obviously, the member from Montague-Kilmuir is making stuff up again,” said Ghiz. “It’s very unfortunate that we have the member from Montague-Kilmuir, who was in cabinet, who knows how decisions are made, that would want to slander someone.” But Bagnall fired back: “I’m sure the best tender won when they wrote off $1.2 million and allowed the minister and his brother to buy the company when he was a minister.” But Ghiz said Webster was not the minister of Agriculture when the sale took place. The Prince Edward Island government established the not-for-profit FoodTrust in 2001 to help provide better returns to producers.In 2007, FoodTrust sales exceeded $3.8 million. But the province contended it was a money-losing venture, losing anywhere from $500,000 to $700,000 annually. The decision to privatize the company was made jointly by the government and the company’s board of directors. Bagnall also questions what role the Provincial Nominee Program may have played in the sale of FoodTrust. FoodTrust did receive units from the PNP but the timing is being disputed. The provincial Liberals say they received the money under the Conservative administration, but the Conservatives contend they received four units in August — a month after many others were turned down for funding under the Immigrant Investment Fund. “I wonder whether (Webster) excused himself when they got PNP units,” said Bagnall. “There were 600 people turned down in July. Yet, when you go to buy this company in August, you get four units. How can you justify that to all the other businesses across P.E.I.?” Ghiz said Webster wouldn’t have any role in the Provincial Nominee Program. “That’s not a cabinet decision,” added Ghiz. The sale of the FoodTrust was also an issue in the spring setting of the P.E.I. legislature. During the spring session, Bagnall accused Webster of being in a conflict of interest over the sale of FoodTrust. “Minister, do you think it’s good business practice to write off all the loans, all the liabilities for a company that you, as president of the company, are buying? Do you think that’s legit?” Bagnall said last spring.

1 comment:

RockyFella said...

I agree with Mr. Banks, George Webster and the other shareholders of Mid-Isle should be given praise instead of being bashed.In any case the debt would probably have been written off, no matter who the purchaser was. The way it outwardly appears to me, the taxpayers of PEI divested itself of a monetary drain, and in return received the probability of additional tax revenue. As for the PNP mention in the article, FOR HEAVENS SAKE let it rest!!!