Frank Coleman admits he could have been on the paving hook
The incoming premier of Newfoundland and Labrador now admits that a government decision to let his former paving company out of a contract could have benefited him personally, even though he was not longer involved with the company.
Frank Coleman told CBC's On Point if the province had decided to call in bonds from Humber Valley Paving after a contract was cancelled, he, along with the other shareholders, could have ended up paying up to $20 million.
As CEO, he personally backed the bonds required for the company to get the government contract for paving in Labrador.
After Coleman stepped down from the position, his name was still attached to those guarantees.
The province decided not to call in the bonds Coleman signed for when the company won the contract to pave a section of the Trans-Labrador Highway.
However, Coleman said the company had other options if government hadn't agreed to release it from the contract without penalties.
"The option that the company would have had its bond pulled is not necessarily the right conclusion to reach. The company would have had other options, either to complete the work or to sell the work," said Coleman.
"I think the company would have conducted itself properly and continued to do that work or sold that work if it so chose."
"It really proves that there was a direct financial impact for Mr. Coleman in this case, as he was the one that provided the guarantee — the security for those bonds," said Ball.
"Why was this information hidden? Why is it that Mr. Coleman did not see fit to tell the people of the province that when this contract was terminated, when those bonds were terminated, that yes indeed he did receive some personal financial gain as a result of this?"
When CBC News first reported the story, Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath said government decided not to penalize the company to keep it from going out of business.
The province has maintained the contract was handled properly, but Premier Tom Marshall has asked the auditor general to investigate.