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Wynne defends Pan Am Games bonuses


TORONTO—Organizers of this summer’s Pan Am Games say preliminary figures suggest the sporting event came in under budget but the final cost won’t be known for up to a year.

“All indications are that there was a surplus, but I can’t tell you how much that is because I haven’t been told a number at this point,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told a news conference yesterday.

“It hasn’t been finalized.”

Wynne added it’s her “understanding” there’s money left over, especially on the capital side for construction of new sports facilities, meaning executives with the organizing committee will split $5.7 million in bonuses.

Former premier David Peterson, the chair of the TO2015 Organizing Committee, said the capital surplus for the Games, which wrapped up in August, was at least $56 million—and possibly as much as $66 million.

“Our preliminary, unaudited statements are currently forecasting this modest budget surplus,” he noted.

Tourism and Sport minister Michael Coteau said he was “pretty confident” the Games will come in under budget and hoped to have final numbers this fall.

“In our last technical briefing, there was a $56-million surplus in the actual infrastructure costs,” he remarked.

“We believe when it comes to the operations, there will be a surplus [as well].”

But the Progressive Conservatives expressed concerns about the lack of transparency in spending for the Games, and asked the provincial auditor general to conduct a full audit.

“Ontarians still have too many unanswered questions regarding the spending and cost-effectiveness of these Games and whether they came in on budget,” wrote PC House leader Steve Clark.

It’s “worrisome” to see 53 Pan Am executives splitting $5.7 million in bonuses when Ontario has so many other more important priorities, added PC leader Patrick Brown.

“Only in Ontario that if you do a bad job, executives get a six-figure salary and if they don’t do a bad job, they get $5 million in bonuses,” he said.

“We don’t know the full cost of the Pan Am games, and I want to know the full costing.”

Wynne defended the generous bonuses of up to 100 percent of their salary for already well-paid executives with TO2015, saying the same incentives are in place for officials at all major international sporting events.

“When those bonuses are finalized we will let you know,” she said.

“But when you look at multi-sport games around the world, the same kinds of arrangements are in their contracts so there is a guarantee that certain targets and certain achievements will be accomplished,” Wynne added.

Former deputy minister Saad Rafi, who was brought in by the Liberal government as CEO of the Pan Am Games after previous CEO Ian Troop was let go, is eligible for a $428,000 bonus.

“The Games were a huge success . . . and the reason that happened is because of the job the team did, and Saad Rafi led that team,” Wynne said.

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