New Brunswick Tribune

N.B. In the Hartland case, a liquor “whistleblower” has “alarming” facts

Key sentence:

  • N.B. Liquor has answered with a court document naming the former officer Stacey McKinney, the Crown corporation’s former director of finance.
  • Fredericton lawyer Erica Brown wrote to the court, claiming that she had discovered “out of the blue” that McKinney.
  • The Court of Queen’s Bench in Fredericton has set a hearing in the Hartland agency store case for Tuesday morning.

According to court records, a former top N.B. The liquor officer has come forward as a potential whistleblower with “alarming new evidence” about a lawsuit alleging the corporation’s “manipulation” of a lucrative deal.

The material “clearly contradicts” evidence filed by N.B. According to a lawyer for a Hartland businessman who lost a lucrative contract for an agency store in the town, liquor so far.

N.B. Liquor has answered with a court document naming the former officer Stacey McKinney, the Crown corporation’s former director of finance.

Before the Hartland judgement, McKinney was fighting her dismissal from N.B. Liquor. In March, her lawyer informed the company that she had evidence on more than 34 instances of “financial, ethical, and unlawful issues.”

There is no status as a whistleblower.

Because McKinney has yet to reveal any information under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, the corporation claims she is not entitled to whistleblower status, a safeguard granted to provincial employees.

The purpose of the act, dubbed the whistleblower protection act, is to “enable the exposure and investigation of important and severe concerns in or about the public service that is potentially unlawful, harmful to the public, or damaging to the public interest.”

N.B. Liquor dismissed McKinney in June 2020. She claims it happened just as she was wrapping up audits of N.B. Liquor that would “affect the credibility” of the company’s financial statements.

She claims in a grievance that she was recommended for a leave of absence due to sickness but was instead fired without cause.

According to her lawyer Joel Etienne, McKinney attempted to submit more than 34 examples of improprieties to the audit committee of the corporation’s board of directors, who told N.B. Liquor in March 2021.

They included “inappropriate” spending claims, “financial control vulnerabilities,” and “financial reporting anomalies” that pointed to likely “misstatements” in the corporation’s financial statements.

According to Etienne’s letter, the “primary culprits” behind the financial improprieties wanted to destroy McKinney’s post and her department by outsourcing the work to a private accounting firm.

In an emailed statement, N.B. Liquor spokesperson Marie-Andrée Bolduc said, “As this case is currently before the courts, we have no comment at this time.”

McKinney is currently contesting her dismissal. However, that court matter has nothing to do with the Hartland agency store claim.

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Information on the court case involving the Hartland agency store

Last Monday, however, Fredericton lawyer Erica Brown wrote to the court, claiming that she had discovered “out of the blue” that McKinney, whom she did not name, had information important to the case.

Brown represents Peter Cook, a Hartland businessman who had the N.B. Liquor agency shop contract at his Freshmart grocery store from 2019 to this spring.

That’s when it was granted to a Valu Foods store and an Irving petrol station in a fresh bidding process.

Cook, a long-time Liberal supporter, claims that N.B. Liquor’s politically selected board of directors, led by notable Progressive Conservative and former Irving Oil employee John Correia, affected the bidding process’ scoring.

Cook previously stated, “It was either twisted on purpose, which I believe, or it was sheer ineptitude.” “I was duped.”

According to an affidavit filed by N.B, Correia’s “past or current involvement with ANBL or other firms had no effect” on Cook scoring lower and losing the bid. Liquor.

The Court of Queen’s Bench in Fredericton has set a hearing in the Hartland agency store case for Tuesday morning.

Brown claims in a letter to the court dated Nov. 1 that she has been “stonewalled” by N.B. Liquor in her attempts to obtain information on the company’s decision. She begs for more time to gather evidence in her motion, which will be considered on Tuesday.

According to the letter, McKinney’s lawyers, Etienne and Christian Michaud will submit a format complaint under the whistleblower statute “soon.”

Michaud, a former member of the N.B. Liquor Board writes in a separate letter that he is “gravely concerned by the lack of compliance with basic governance principles in this subject.”

N.B. Liquor reacted with a motion demanding that Brown produce the “alarming new material” and claiming that the whistleblower legislation does not apply to McKinney, making her name public for the first time.

Michaud turned down a request for an interview on Monday.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act, which was established in 2012, permits potential whistleblowers to report wrongdoings to a designated person within their department or organisation, as well as to the provincial ombudsman.

Source from CBC

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