Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Arena Deputation April 26, 2012

Mayor, Councillors, and Markham Residents;

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to express my opinions regarding the
proposed Markham NHL arena. Last Friday, I attended the Town meeting to learn about
the proposed Markham Sports, Entertainment & Cultural Centre. I must admit that I
have not been following hockey news and so listened carefully, read the handout, and
then talked to a few friends -- trying to understand what this new opportunity
meant, to the Town of Markham and myself, as a Markham taxpayer.
When I finally realized that this very impressive facility meant that I, as a Markham
taxpayer, could ultimately be responsible for tens of millions of dollars of debt, I wanted
to know every detail possible. The Town meeting raised more questions in my mind,
than answers. Confused and concerned, I again went back to the Friday meeting

As we, the residents of the Town of Markham, are entering into an agreement with Mr.
W. Graeme Roustan, Chairman and CEO of GTA Sports and Entertainment, it is
important to me to learn who Mr. Roustan is and what his company is about. So, I did
what most do in this techno age – I went onto the Internet and started to google… I
needed to do my own due diligence before I could decide, what this opportunity meant
to me.

Unfortunately, all I could find about GTA Sports and Entertainment was recent – from
October 2011 until now. And, all that I found was specific to this Markham opportunity.
Itʼs difficult to learn about a corporation when there isnʼt any history readily available.
So, where can I find details on Mr. Roustanʼs company?

I went back to the Friday handout and continued to the next bullet on Mr. Roustanʼs bio:
“1989: Developed Pro Hockey San Jose” that led to San Jose Sharks”. All I could find
was that in 1989 Mr. Roustan was the co-founder "Pro Hockey San Jose" and that in
1990, Randy Hahn lived in San Jose and was instrumental in helping bring the National
Hockey League to the area, serving as vice president of Pro Hockey San Jose — a
grassroots, non-profit corporation formed for the purpose of attracting an NHL
franchise to the new multi-purpose venue being built in downtown San Jose. Now, I am
even further confused by the terms ʻdevelopedʼ, co-foundingʼ and the relationship
between Mr. Roustan and Mr. Hahn… What are the real and relevant facts here?

Following along Mr. Roustanʼs bio – “2009: finalist to acquire the Montreal Canadiens”;
“2010: runner up to acquire the Tampa Bay Lightning”. What does this mean? Perhaps
this is unique to the hockey world, but I donʼt understand the relevance of being in the
running to purchase something. In my mind, there is the buyer, who successfully wins
the acquisition bid -- and then there are the rest, who lost the acquisition bid. What is
the significance of being a runner up?

Continuing on with my search, I googled Mr. Roustan himself. Remember, I am still
searching and expecting to find a list of similar projects that Mr. Roustan successfully
completed – entered into contracts to design, build, and finance because if the residents
are going to be liable for any dollars, I need assurance that this project will be executed
flawlessly. But I still donʼt find what I am looking for. Instead, during my searches, some
of Mr. Roustanʼs companies appeared including; Roustan Inc., Roustan United Inc.,
Roustan Planet Ice, Roustan Ice, Roustan Ridglea, and Roustan Fort Worth.

I also found that TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie last November, reported that
Roustan - the chairman of the hockey equipment company, Bauer, also moonlights as
an arena builder. Again, not the business acumen I am looking for in relation to this
massive project. Roustanʼs company names appeared in both on-line news sites and
court sites (example: Justia.com, US Law). However, each that I found contained a
number of allegations regarding lawsuits against Mr. W. Graeme Roustan and his
companies. At least one matter, in Texas (2011), included allegations of Mr. Roustanʼs
integrity and credibility – specifically, involving his business acumen, ability to mount a
successful business endeavor, and his and that he committed statutory fraud. It is
important to note that I cannot verify anything that I have found on the Internet sites – I
am only citing what the court documents, posted on the Internet state.

Texas Second District Court of Appeals Decisions September, 2011
Docket: 02-09-00377-CV Date: 09/29/11
The jury charge tracked section 27.01, instructing the jury that statutory fraud can occur
when either (a) there is a false representation of a past or existing material fact or (b) a
party makes a false promise to do an act. Roustan expands on his argument somewhat
in his reply brief, in which he asserts that as a matter of law, the allegations that he
made false “representations concerning his business acumen, his financial strength and
his commitment to funding the new company” cannot support a claim for fraud because
“the representation complained of must concern a ʻmaterial factʼ and not ʻa mere matter
of opinion, judgment, probability, or expectation.ʼ”

The evidence in the record was enough for the jury to conclude that Roustan told S&G
that he could and would provide a capital contribution of $150,000, either with his own
funds or with the financial resources of his business, but that he actually borrowed
money on behalf of the LLC. The record therefore contains sufficient evidence that
Roustan made a promise to S&G that went unfulfilled.

Again, I am only using citations from the court documents, that appear on the Internet,
but reading these gives me reason for concern and reason to question Mr. Roustanʼs
integrity and credibility – specifically, involving his business acumen, ability to mount a
successful business endeavor, and that he committed statutory fraud.

When government is using taxpayers money, it is incumbent upon them to perform the
utmost due diligence. I donʼt think that any Markham residents want to see Markham go
the way of Glendale, Arizona – where thanks to the Mayor and her NHL team – the city is now bankrupt.

Respectfully, Mayor Scarpetti and members of Council, I ask that you take a minimum of
60 days to perform additional due diligence and to also look to the private sector to
build, fund, and operate this proposed NHL arena.

I will not pay a dime, of my taxes, for this area!

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