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April 10, 2005
The Race For The Money?

The Sponsorship Program scandal promises to take a sporting turn on Monday, when Justice John Gomery will likely begin questioning GP backer Normand Legault and Liberal functionary Jacques Corriveau. One of the first issues addressed will be the disposition of 600 Grand Prix tickets that the Canadian government bought but never received -- as they didn't really exist in the first place:

JUSTICE JOHN Gomery will take his first bite out of a Liberal rainmaker this week when former PM Jean Chretien's golfing buddy makes an appearance before the AdScam inquiry. Jacques Corriveau is expected at the Gomery commission as early as Tuesday, where he will be grilled by lawyers on his dealings with Liberal-friendly ad firms and about his involvement in the scandal-plagued $250-million sponsorship program.

Tomorrow Gomery is expected to uncover where the 600 VIP Montreal Grand Prix tickets purchased through the sponsorship program went when he questions the event's owner, Normand Legault.

Legault will be accompanied by two Grand Prix staffers to explain what the federal government got for its money during the 1998 sponsorship of the popular car race, and how much federal funds the event received.

A Gomery official suggested that the feds never got the 600 tickets they paid for -- that, in fact, those seats had already been sold to race-car fans.

The official said the 600 tickets billed to taxpayers could have been included in a dummy invoice sent to public works to bilk taxpayers through the sponsorships.

Corriveau provides a rather direct link to former PM Jean Chretien, and Brault's testimony has placed him directly in the middle of several illegal payoffs. One could expect Corriveau to deny everything, but the upcoming testimony of Paul Coffin and Chuck Guit makes that risky. If Coffin and Guit corroborate Brault, then Corriveau will run afoul of perjury charges as well as corruption, and the former could put him in prison quite a bit longer.

Legault's testimony promises to provide more entertainment, but also a microcosm of the graft that permeated the Sponsorship Program. If the 600 tickets never existed, it will mirror the general pattern of Adscam. The government will have paid for services and product that never got delivered, and in most cases never even existed, while the money went into Liberal Party electoral efforts.

The scam will remind movie and theatre fans of the central plot twist of "The Producers", where shares of a Broadway show got resold four or five times over. The farce may provide Canadians with a lighthearted yet clear view of the embezzlement at the heart of Adscam.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 10, 2005 9:27 PM

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» More fireworks from Gomery? from Angry in the Great White North
The Captain compares this to the plot line of "The Producers". Problem is, there is nothing lovable about these rogues. Their scam is not clever, but just cheap and sleazy money laundering. No Tony awards for this performance. [Read More]

Tracked on April 11, 2005 6:49 AM

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