Heritage money spent properly: city
City officials say $1 million given to a developer convicted of money laundering was spent appropriately, and used to renovate heritage buildings.
They say Worthington Properties used the money to restore the exteriors of heritage buildings it was turning into condos.
"It probably doesn't look good to the public," Coun. Jane Batty said. But she added that city officials shouldn't be doing background checks on people they're doing business with.
Coun. Ron Hayter says the city's interests have been protected and the money was spent as intended. Bob Caldwell, spokesman for the planning department, says when the city is trying to save a heritage building, it simply deals with the person who owns the building.
Dan White, the president and sole shareholder of Worthington Properties, was convicted four years ago of trying to launder more than $1 million, which the Crown said was obtained from an illegal liquor sales scheme in B.C.
He served a six-month conditional sentence in his Edmonton home.
Caldwell says the city's $1 million went to preserve five important and historic building's in the city's downtown.
White's projects, which convert empty buildings into condo, have been hailed as visionary and progressive for redeveloping unwanted commercial space.
However, some downtown officials have complained recently that Worthington projects have stalled, including three buildings on Jasper Avenue that are still empty. And the company is being sued for almost $1 million by a number of companies and individuals who say they weren't paid.
Jim Taylor, with the Downtown Business Association, hopes the news won't mean the Jasper Avenue buildings sit empty longer.
"When you are worried about Jasper Avenue, you worry when some of the bigggest buildings that are vacant may be caught up in some kind of controversy and a problem," he said.