The BDO forensic audit of spending at the TNRD highlighted what it called a practice by former CAO Sukh Gill of “false listing of employees” on receipts.
Names of regional politicians appeared repeatedly on the backs of receipts analyzed by KTW during its investigation, which included a database containing all spending by Gill between 2015 and January 2020. That database can be viewed here.
Earlier this year, some people told KTW their names were on receipts, but they were not at those dinners or events. The BDO Canada audit also included information of people being listed on receipts at dinners and events at which they were not present.
Asked how board members could not know about extravagant meals when some of their names were repeatedly listed on those receipts, Gillis said no policy was articulated. Gillis, for example, attended an $8,600 event at the Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler, at which the TNRD reserved a champagne room.
“If we went there, for example, and Mr. Gill was sort of shepherding us about, then I don’t know that there was any policy really articulated specifically that we would have been in breach of,” Gillis said. “I think a lot of us relied fairly heavily on Mr. Gill’s judgement in those matters and he sort of shepherded us about on many of those occasions, but I’m not sure that it would have been clear to us at any time that we were in breach of any TNRD policy.”
Gillis said he participated in drinking alcohol with taxpayers dollars. Asked whether he questioned whether the flowing of alcohol funded by taxpayers was right or wrong, Gillis replied: “I don’t know that anybody really questioned what was right or wrong, but there were certainly cases where the flow, as you put it, was quite generous for anybody. And there were other people who didn’t participate in that at all and I’m really sorry that they get sort of tarred with a brush as a result of all of this.”
Gillis, however, further detailed scenarios when people would be bulked into Gill’s spending. He said if someone attended a meal and the total bill was $600, each person was assigned a portion of that bill regardless of whether they had a peanut butter sandwich or steak and lobster.
“Everyone got tagged with the same portion of that bill, which, in some cases, was unfair,” Gillis said. “I’m not one to complain, but in some cases, I think it was unfair.”