Thursday, August 16, 2012

New NEDC Head Has Baggage?

 Alberta Government Owed $29,000.00

According to a  CBC News story updated in January 2007, Sasha Angus is reported to have used a government credit card for $29,000 worth of personal expenses including a Las Vegas hotel bill and new baggage.

At the time Mr. Angus worked as an executive assistant to former MLA and economic development minister Mark Norris. Part of the total owed to the Alberta government included the cost of the hotel tab for himself and several friends who went to Las Vegas in 2004 for a bachelor party. Mr. Angus was good enough to pick up the tab using the government credit card.

This whole affair did not come to light until after the 2004 provincial elections when Norris lost his seat and both he and Angus were out of work. At the time of his departure he apparently owed the government $29,000 which he later repaid.

The story goes on to say that the Alberta government refused to release the credit card records to the CBC even though Alberta's Privacy Commission investigated the governments refusal and sided with the CBC request.

Norris & Angus Charged Nearly $50,000 In Personal Expenses

According to a report in the Edmonton Journal in October of 2007 between Mr. Angus and his boss Mr. Norris they charged nearly $50,000 in personal expenses to their government credit cards over two years, and had a dismal record of explaining their use.

It is reported that the Auditor General  was alarmed that during the period from 2003 - 2004 Angus racked up $38,292 in personal expenses which included the bachelor party in Las Vegas as reported by the CBC.

The article goes on to say that Angus said he had not been trained in the proper use of government credit cards, an excuse the Auditor General  didn't buy. He commented that is was just common sense that when you are given that kind of entitlement or that privilege - people knew what they are to be used for. They are supposed to be used for government purposes.

The Auditor reported that Norris and Angus racked up $141,870 between 2002 and 2004 and more than one-third of these charges were submitted without any supporting documentation.

The Auditor concluded that people will get sloppy if you don't check them.

It is reported to have taken Mr. Angus nearly six months to repay his personal expenses and he did so only after he left government.

Details Of Personal Spending Won't Be Revealed

In a report in the Edmonton Journal dated June 23, 2010 it is reported that the privacy commissioner has ruled the details of Angus's expenses would not be revealed as he had repaid the debt.

Between 2003 and 2004 Angus rang up more than $35,000 in personal debt on his government credit card, including a reported bachelor party in Las Vegas. Sasha Angus later repaid the money, but not for at least six months and not without repeated warnings.

The auditor general lambasted Angus and the government for the practice, but details of Angus's expenses have always been sketchy and it seems they will stay that way.

Treasury Board president Lloyd Snelgrove said he was "extremely disappointed" with Angus's behaviour. "Probably the thing that is mostly unsettling is that someone that is given a position of trust would have such a callous disregard for the taxpayers and the people that they work with," Snelgorove said. "In this business when someone chooses to abuse, it does paint everybody with the same brush."



  1. Perhaps the City’s newly-hired Communications Manager, Philip Cooper, who has already been highly criticized through online social media for apparently, not having a twitter account, should commence employment earlier than September, as it appears that his first assignment could be helping NEDC’s Board on this matter that you have brought to light regarding its newly-hired CEO.

    As you say, Jim, yah can’t make this stuff up!
    - Janet

  2. Nanaimo Taxpayer17 August 2012 at 15:26

    Something doesn't add up here. The Bulletin says that Mr. Angus said he paid this debt before leaving government. All of these stories say it was at least 6 months after and that he had to be warned several times before it was paid.

    1. Agree. Doesn't add up. Worse he really hasn't owned it, never has -- no public letters of apology then or now, no admitting what he actually did in writing. And now as quoted in the bulletin has others say things like "he took a bullet for someone else" Yeah, that's ownership for you -- blaming someone else. And why exactly did Victoria demote him before he came running to Nanaimo?

  3. Public Notice on City’s website advises that a Special Meeting of the Progress Board is scheduled for Monday, August 20, 2012
    “ ... to consider general Progress Board business.”

    Understand that the Progress Board assists Council in ensuring that NEDC is accountable to the community.

  4. Good work on this shocking story. The city hall and chamber-friendly press of this city has been busy spinning this story in a remarkably self-indulgent way. Mr. Angus should have but did not clear the air: instead he has made it obvious that he's not prepared to be forthright.

    Unmentioned in the account here but stated explicitly in the CBC 2007 report is an explanation for why Angus racked up big bills on his Alberta government credit card: his personal credit card had been suspended and his wages garnisheed for $5,000 that was owing, plus interest.

    What this tells me is that we've replaced a CEO with an exemplary reputation because of a press-generated flap over a $9,000 web contract with a crafty fellow who plays loose with the public trust. That same unbothered press that likes Angus's appointment had no problem with city hall's decision to award the $16,000,000 annex construction project to the Windley intersts without going to tender. Talk about absurd and talk about a clear revelation of what's wrong with the local press.

    So Mr. Angus starts his new job with something much less than the "superstar" designation touted by NEDCorp's chair. In fact he's a guy with a proven track record of evasive behaviour and the irresponsible use of government privileges. He's also guy who hasn't been able to keep his own personal finances in top order. What a pathetic recommendation.

    NEDCorp clearly needs better direction than it is getting if the taxpayers' interests are to be safeguarded -- starting with a directive that a low ceiling be placed on Angus's corporate credit card borrowing limit. It's time for the Progress Board to step up to the plate and exercise its oversight role.


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