Michael Graydon, ex-B.C. Lottery boss, hired by Paragon

Opponents of the proposed new casino resort next to BC Place Stadium are howling about the new job for the former CEO of the B.C. Lottery Corporation.

Paragon Gaming is proceeding with a $535-million casino and hotel complex next to B.C. Place Stadium

Michael Graydon, who was president and CEO of the B.C. Lottery Corporation until last week, is seen here on Jan. 9 2013, kicking off "Responsible Gambling Awareness Week" at Chances Gaming Entertainment in Kamloops. (Samantha Garvey/CBC)

Opponents of the proposed new casino resort next to BC Place Stadium are howling about the new job for the former CEO of the B.C. Lottery Corporation.

Michael Graydon, who resigned suddenly last week, has been hired by Paragon Gaming and 360 VOX Corp. to act as president of PV Hospitality, a new joint partnership between the two companies.

A press release from Paragon Gaming states that Graydon's first priority "will be oversight and operations of Vancouver’s new world-class urban resort adjacent to BC Place."

Paragon Development Ltd. received a development permit to relocate the Edgewater Casino and to build two hotels, a conference space, restaurants, lounges, a gym and spa next to B.C. Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver. (Paragon Development Ltd.)

Two years ago, the city rejected any expansion of gambling at the proposed site but, in December, Paragon received a development permit from Vancouver city council for its proposed $535-million urban resort complex in downtown Vancouver.

The complex would include a space for relocating the existing Edgewater Casino with twice the floor space of the existing facility at the Plaza of Nations.

Opponents of the casino complex development, including Sandy Garossino of the coalition Vancouver Not Vegas, had voiced their concerns over the expansion of gaming in the city, especially in light of a recent report from the Provincial Health Officer on the effects of gambling addiction in B.C.

Garossino said Graydon's move looks to her like a conflict of interest.

"Up until a week ago, Mr. Graydon was overseeing Paragon Gaming," she said. "He was in communication with them — we have the ongoing and very high-profile matter of the Edgewater Casino — and at the same time, presumably, he was in discussion with them over his employment."

She also said that, as head of the BCLC, Graydon would know everything about the casino and gaming industry in the province.

"On the public dime he has acquired this knowledge, and now he is off sitting behind a desk at Paragon Gaming with detailed financial knowledge about Paragon's competitors. It's totally improper," Garossino said.

Neither Paragon Gaming nor Graydon could be reached for comment Friday night. 

The Chair of the BCLC, Bud Smith, said Graydon was free to seek employment with any private sector firm.

In a prepared statement, Smith said all BCLC employees sign confidentiality agreements which remain in effect for life.   

With files from the CBC's Terry Donelly