Nfld. & Labrador

Ed Martin says Dwight Ball approved severance pay

Former Nalcor CEO Ed Martin is breaking his silence about his controversial departure from the crown corporation, saying Dwight Ball approved his hefty severance payout.

Martin's comments run contrary to Premier Ball's repeated remarks

Ed Martin says Dwight Ball knew about and approved his severance pay. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Former Nalcor CEO Ed Martin says Dwight Ball approved his hefty severance payout, and issued a statement Monday breaking his silence about his controversial departure from the crown corporation.

In a statement sent to media on Monday afternoon, Martin said he presented the premier with two options during a meeting on April 17 — days after he was criticized in the budget speech — and was told the preferred option was that he leave, with "contractual severance."

In the end, Martin was paid $1.4-million dollars.

Martin's letter refutes, in detail, Ball's past comments on what he knew about the severance payout and Martin's departure. It adds new fire to a political controversy that has engulfed Newfoundland and Labrador's Liberal government. 

"I cannot stand by, from a values perspective, and allow the lack of clarity to impact the integrity of (Nalcor) board members," Martin wrote.

"This is a bigger issue as it touches right and wrong,"

'Seriously undermined'

The former Nalcor head writes that he approached Ball in April, saying he felt undermined in his job after Finance Minister Cathy Bennett's sharply-critical comments about Nalcor in the April 14 budget proceedings.

Martin said he felt he could not perform his duties in the current atmosphere.

He said he offered to stay in his job and see Muskrat Falls completed, if the air could be cleared, but the Premier and government chose to request he leave with his "contractual severance" payment.

He said the Minister of Natural Resources, Siobhan Coady, had asked for a copy of his contract several weeks earlier.

"Following additional dialogue to ensure the implications of such a path were understood," Martin wrote, "I chose to accept the government's decision and depart gracefully by stepping down."

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With the Auditor General

Premier Ball did not agree to an interview, but responded to the letter Monday in a statement, saying that he is leaving the matter to the Auditor General.

"I trust that the Auditor General's review will be comprehensive and that he will consider all the information available...[in determining the] appropriateness of the severance provided to Mr. Martin by Nalcor's past Board of Directors," he wrote.

He did not specifically respond to Martin's assertions that he approved the severance package. Ball has said that he didn't know the "extent, the details" around the severance package until May 5.

Both opposition parties put out statements Monday evening blasting the government.

The NDP said Ball's integrity was "seriously compromised." The PC Party accused the premier of "deliberately misleading" the public.

Martin said he will fully co-operate with the Auditor General's investigation.

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