Tuesday, July 12, 2005
No funds received for police foundation co-created by Thow, chief says.
'If anybody did contribute ... they should contact us'
Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill turned down offers to fly to
Jamaica and Las Vegas with high-flying Victoria investment adviser Ian
Thow two years ago.
"I didn't feel it was appropriate. It was a little fast for a slow guy
like me," Battershill told reporters Monday at his weekly media briefing.
The former investment adviser with the Berkshire Investment Group is being
investigated by the company for his outside business activities. He is
also a defendant in a series of lawsuits concerning the National
Commercial Bank of Jamaica.
Victoria police officers have opened a file on Thow and investigators have
been in touch with the RCMP's integrated market enforcement team and the
B.C. Securities Commission, which has launched a formal investigation.
Because the issues are complex, the case could proceed through the courts
or the commission.
The police chief acknowledged that Greater Victoria police departments --
like the Royal Roads University Foundation and the Greater Victoria
Hospital Foundation -- were disappointed that funds Thow expected to help
raise were not forthcoming.
In 1997, Thow raised $125,000 from local businesses to buy a police boat.
Then in June 2001, Thow and two others -- Victoria accountant Randy
Decksheimer and former deputy police chief Doug Potentier -- set up the
Greater Victoria Police Foundation. It was created to raise funds for such
things as uniforms for the Greater Victoria police pipe band.
In April 2003, Victoria police held a press conference to celebrate the
fifth anniversary of the boat. Thow's work as a fundraiser was honoured by
Battershill, who gave him a plaque. The event was also used to announce
the creation of the foundation and it was reported that Thow had already
raised $2 million from 25 local donors.
Records show the foundation has no funds or assets.
Battershill, who hasn't talked to Thow for a couple of years, said he had
no idea why the promised funds never materialized. He doesn't think any
funds were raised that weren't reported.
"I don't think that occurred," said the chief. "Certainly, we'd be really
concerned if it had. If anybody did contribute to the Greater Victoria
Police Foundation, they should contact us."
Battershill said he didn't invest any money with Thow. He described Thow's
high-flying offers as "odd."
"If I had flown off to Jamaica on a trip, I think people should be
concerned about that."
The Victoria Police Department wants to resurrect the foundation, moving
it within the department.
"Our hope is to resurrect it and, at some point, get funding for it," said
Battershill. "For this region, a foundation would be a really good thing."