Sony Centre citizen board resigns before council votes on action
Letter states board felt blame was being 'unfairly' shifted towards them
The citizen volunteer board of the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts precluded any action council might have taken next week by tendering their resignations today.
Council was going to replace the board of directors following the auditor general’s scathing report published in April about the centre's ongoing renovations.
Toronto Auditor General Jeffrey Griffiths released a report that said contracts for the $28-million renovation were awarded without competition, and found that many of the contractual agreements lacked the appropriate paperwork.
Adding more to that, the renovations are currently about $10 million over budget, and are expected to cost more than $40 million by the time they are finished.
But the citizen board said Thursday in a letter that each of the members were appointed in October 2011, which is after the events in the recent Auditor General’s report took place.
“Subsequently, media coverage and developments at the City had the effect of unfairly shifting responsibility to us for certain transactions which occurred between 2006 and 2011, even though we were not present on the Board at that time,” the letter read.
Last week Coun. Shelley Carroll tabled a motion that would ask city council to consider immediately replacing the board of directors with an interim board consisting of three councillors and three city staff members.
The motion was passed unanimously by the audit committee but Thursday’s resignations have precluded any vote.
“As we tender our resignations, we would like to emphasize that the City has always played a role with respect to the Board of the Sony Centre and the redevelopment project itself,” the letter read.
“During the time period to which the Auditor General’s report relates, at least three City Councillors sat on the Board. Currently, there are four City Councillors on the Board, and City Staff have regularly attended and actively participated in our Board meetings.”
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly responded to the letter.
“I thought that I was working on a solution that would have hopefully bridge both sides on this debate, that would have kept the present board members in places but added other board members to it … But I guess that’s been precluded.”
Council will vote next week on the shape of the new board as things move forward.