Saturday, March 27, 2010

BC Housing Sues Downtown Eastside Residents Association

Photo: Libby Davies, Member of Parliament (Vancouver East) and DERA founder

Photo: Audrey Laferriere, ousted DERA Board member

DERA Board member Audrey Laferriere was the first person I heard whistleblowing about wrongdoing at the Downtown Eastside Residents Association. DERA responded to the whistleblowing by borrowing Carnegie Centre's recipe -- there is some overlap between political operators at Carnegie and DERA -- for handling a Board member who won't be a lap dog. They banished the unruly Board member from the Board.

Looks like Audrey gets the last laugh. I came across the following article in the Vancouver Sun today:

"THE COURTS: BC Housing Sues DERA; activist group falls on hard times"
by Doug Ward"

"....the provincial government is suing the advocacy group for mishandling public money meant to subsidize rents for low-income tenants in social housing.

A statement of claim filed Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court by BC Housing alleges that a housing society run by DERA improperly used rent subsidy money provided by Victoria to help pay for the group's administrative costs."

BC Housing also alleges that the DERA Housing Society used provincial housing money to help cover the rent of ineligible tenants, including directors of DERA and its housing society.'"

Looks like Jamie Lee Hamilton is also laughing last. If I remember correctly, she was the first person to expose DERA for allowing people with union wages to live in subsidized apartments in Solheim Place.

Jim Green, who once came close to becoming Vancouver's mayor, told the Sun that some of the people living in DERA social housing were members of the far left group, Anti-Poverty Committee. Green believes that becoming too tight with the Anti-Poverty Committee, some of whom became DERA staff, contributed to DERA's undoing.

There is no love lost between Green and DERA. Green worked for DERA over twenty years ago but left and started the Main & Hastings Society. DERA had accused Green of stealing money, but he was never charged.

Look who's laughing now.

BC Housing has accused DERA of misrepresenting the cost of administrative services for their social housing apartment buildings, and evading payment of $500,000 in property taxes and rents from the three buildings.

The Court is being asked to appoint a receiver to replace DERA as manager of three social housing apartment buildings owned by the government: Solheim Place on Union Street, Tellier Towers on East Hastings Street and Pendera Place on Pender St."

Maybe while cleaning up DERA's shit, the new management will be quicker to clean up piss in the elevator. A tenant at Solheim Place told me just a couple of weeks ago that the building was no longer being properly maintained by DERA. "Somebody pissed in the elevator and nobody cleaned it for a week." This tenant had a visitor who was upset by the stink and considered washing the elevator, but thought it would send the wrong message as that was a job a union person was supposed to be doing.

Green told the Sun that DERA had some "great victories" in the 1970's and 80's but that he couldn't think of anything they had done for 20 years.

I can.

I've known people who went to DERA for advocacy. Like the guy whose rooming house landlord in Strathcona let other tenants, many of whom were drug users, clean out his room. I talked to this guy at Blenz coffee shop on Granville -- he now lives in a hotel on Granville and sometimes eats his meals at Carnegie -- and he told me that DERA had helped him during a dispute with the landlord, Jack Lee. He and Lee had argued over bed bug spraying or some such thing and he left and returned a week later to get his belongings, only to discover that they had been stolen. His laptop and computer equipment -- all gone. Just a few books and things of little value had been packed in a box and left for him. A DERA advocate, Sobrina, took his case to binding arbitration and Lee was ordered to pay him $4,000, if I remember correctly. Sobrina didn't have a law degree or anything but she was a stellar advocate.

Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, Libby Davies, who helped found DERA along with her husband Bruce Erikson -- we're talkin' before her lesbian phase -- told the Sun that the allegations in the law suit are "very serious". She's right.

I've never noticed Davies actually attempting to curb povertarian abuses on the Downtown Eastside, whether at Carnegie -- she donates cash to the Carnegie newsletter despite their failure to respect free elections -- or DERA. Her son Leif Erikson got parachuted into a job at Insite just a few doors away from Carnegie and DERA.....ssssshh, nobody's supposed to know that. I guess we'll have to rely on Audrey for the whistleblowing.


Anonymous said...

Audrey Leferriere invited both Jamie Lee Hamilton and Jim Green to the meeting where DERA proposed to dismiss her from the board for asking too many uncomfortable questions.

If either of them had come, she would have won the vote, she only needed one more for a win. Jim Green didn't even reply to her email, and now he has the nerve to tell the Sun that he knew it was coming...and that he stood by and watched someone else who also knew get pilloried, well, he doesn't say that part.

Anonymous said...

As long as I can remember Libby Davies has done nothing for The DTES. What power does she carry in parliament? With only a few seats in government, anything they propose is blown down, yet she keeps getting elected time and time again. People, smarten up and vote for the person who can do the most for you. Libby is just another of the deadwood that needs replacing.

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting read, until I came to the comment about Libby's "lesbian phase".


Rachel Davis said...

What happened at DERA was not so unusual.
The DTES is run by Societies and they are all open to this kind of corruption because there is nowhere for concerned Board Directors to go when their truth telling is causing them to be marginalized and persecuted. Their only hope is the courts, but what DTES resident has the stomach or the pockets for going down the court road? The Societies count on that and even taunt "so sue us" with impunity. Audrey Laferriere, a DERA board member, took them up on this challenge and now they are facing their just desserts!
They are re-writing the Society act to make it even more like the BC Corporations Act. For instance, only having one director and one member. If things can easily get this bad now, imagine how hog-wild things could get under that system. They want your input to re-write this act. Let them know that the Society Act needs changes, but not to make it more like a private business!
Write to Joann Cain and voice your concerns at :

Anonymous said...

Jim Green was the the Director of DERA and started the Portland Hotel.

Kim Kerr was the first manager of the Portland Hotel and the boss of Liz Evans.

Liz Evan’s boyfriend Mark Townsend instantly became a director of the Portland Hotel.

Mark Townsend’s first Canadian wife, Pamela Fairfield was appointed director of the Inter Urban Gallery.

The incestuous hiring and patronage continues to this day. Libby Davies’ son. Jenny Kwan’s husband. Etc, etc.

The PHS is fanatical about keeping it’s books and records hidden from the public. Why the need for secrecy?

And yet despite all this Mark Townsend appears on CBC radio with his best holier - than - thou voice to explain how fiscally and socially responsible his organization is.

Yet consider just one example:

Experts calculate that the per-square-foot cost of the Pennsylvania renovation would have easily covered the cost of construction for a luxury condominium tower built from scratch.

In light of recent events citizens should demand that all financial information be freely available to the public. After all the public is paying the bill. Stealing from the poor and needy is the lowest form of criminality. It behooves responsible citizens to fight the corruption and anti social behaviour that plagues the DTES.

Rachel Davis said...

Thank you for the above cogent comment, I loved your short list of the nepotism chain, but I think it should be spelled out for the uninitiated:

Jenny Kwan's husband, Dan Small is 2nd in command at Portland hotel society

And Libby Davie's son works at InSite

Your statement:
"In light of recent events citizens should demand that all financial information be freely available to the public. After all the public is paying the bill".

bears repeating, so I just did.

Anonymous said...

Big shot eh, going to Blenz for info. Evicted tenants living high on the hog on Granville. What is the world comming to?

reliable sources said...

"living high on the hog on Granville"

He lives in a residential hotel for low income people at the south end of Granville, by the bridge. The government subsidizes rooms for unemployed people at this hotel. He was offered a room there by a housing advocate after he had been homeless for a few months and living in a shelter.

Anonymous said...

I cannot afford to live anywhere near Downtown Vancouver, though I work there. I pay a mortgage and work 2 jobs to make ends meet. Can't the government build social housing in the suburbs or in smaller communities. Why should people without jobs be able to live in a much more convenient location for us who commute everyday to WORK?

Anonymous said...

also on the fixed jobs list was jim greens job as bank president 100,000 per year, he has never worked in a bank ever. i was promised a fixed job for helping with jenny kwans election, i was forgotten about but 3 people who never had a job were given cushy govt jobs, gary jobins, lore krill, and kathleen boyles. kathleen told me that she didnt know what she would do when the welfare forced her to look for work when her kids turned of age. gary was given a cushy job where he was asked to give out grizzly tickets to poor kids,haha, he gave those tickets to his friends and scalped lots of tickets for beer money, only a few tickets made it to their destination. yes i complained but he never lost his job over it, guess when you have jenny kwan and jim green behind you even stealing from poor children is not enough to get fired!!!!!!!!!!!1

Anonymous said...

This is insane!
i know all the people you speak of, they are all dedicated to the causes of harm reduction and affordable decent housing for the people of these communities. to say anything else about them , well clearly you do not know them.