Ontario Premier says controversial grant indicates problems
By Lee Greenberg (Friday, April 20, 2007 - CanWest News Service)
(Toronto, ON) - Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty conceded Friday there are problems with a government spending program that saw $200,000 shipped to a group headed by two senior Liberal party activists, including one candidate in the upcoming election.
McGuinty said his government was going to "have to take a look" at the program which, despite doling out approximately $32 million over the past two years, according to records, has neither a formal application process nor any selection criteria. In fact, the program does not even have a name.
It was under those circumstances that the Iranian-Canadian Community Centre received the $200,000 cash grant only three weeks after registering in March 2006. The charitable organization, initially categorized under "protection of animals," was later changed to "recreation, playgrounds and vacation camps."
The group lists its mailing address as the law office of charity director David Farmani, Liberal riding association president for Richmond Hill.
Reza Moridi, the Liberal candidate in the same riding is listed as another director. A third director, Bohran Fouladi, is a longtime acquaintance of Finance Minister Greg Sorbara.
"I think we can do a better job and I think that we have to do a better job," McGuinty told reporters Friday. "We're going to have to look at it."
No need to return money. Candidate Liberal hopeful tied to Iranian Centre.
By Caroline Grech (July 28, 2007 – yorkregion.com)
Richmond Hill Liberal candidate Reza Moridi doesn’t think money awarded to a local charity group by the Dalton McGuinty government needs to be given back, despite findings that no formal process was followed to receive the money.
His comments come in the wake of a scathing report from Auditor General Jim McCarter on how charity groups received millions in questionable provincial grants.
The report led to the resignation Thursday of Citizenship and Immigration Minister Mike Colle.
The grant money has been described as a slush fund by Opposition parties.
Mr. McCarter concluded the granting process was not open, transparent or accountable.
His report paints a damning picture of the process under which the Iranian-Canadian Community Centre (ICCC) and other groups received money, even though it falls short of saying groups got preference because of ties to the provincial Liberals.
The ICCC received a $200,000 grant to build a community centre in Richmond Hill.
Mr. Moridi, a former board member of the ICCC prior to running for the Liberal candidacy in Richmond Hill, said the organization is still fundraising and working on its project.
“The money will be used wisely. As far as I know it is still there (in a bank account),” Mr. Moridi said.
When asked if he thought that the money should be returned given the report’s findings, he stressed that only in certain circumstances should it be.