Muskrat Falls critic wants auditor general to investigate Ed Martin severance, bonuses

David Vardy sparked plenty of questions about ex-Nalcor CEO Ed Martin's severance when he went looking for more information, but he isn't happy with what he found.
David Vardy, the former chair of the Public Utilities Board, says he has more questions about severance and bonuses paid to Ed Martin by Nalcor. (CBC)

Economist and Muskrat Falls critic David Vardy sparked plenty of questions about ex-Nalcor CEO Ed Martin's severance when he went looking for more information, but he isn't happy with what he found. 

Vardy, the former chair of the province's Public Utilities Board, submitted an access to information request on April 20, the same day Martin announced he would be stepping down, but after receiving the information, he doesn't think Nalcor is telling the whole story.

"Nalcor gave me what I asked for, but I don't think they gave me everything I need to see," he told the St. John's Morning Show Wednesday. 

Vardy said there are a lot of questions that have yet to be answered and he feels that the auditor general should be involved to investigate the situation.

The circumstances surrounding Martin's severance were further complicated when Premier Dwight Ball announced on Tuesday that Martin was fired after he resigned from Nalcor, and Vardy said there ought to be some clarification of the situation.

"The question is — what's the timing of all these things? What came first?" he said. 

"My understanding is what came first is that he resigned, and if he resigned, then he couldn't be fired, you can't fire someone who's already resigned." 

Bonus payments questioned

Vardy said he also takes issue with Martin receiving performance bonuses, which augmented his severance package.

"Why was a bonus payment made to an individual under these circumstances? Bonus payments are normally paid for good performance ... when you're fired, you don't expect to get a bonus," he said.

Vardy is not satisfied with the information from Nalcor and has submitted another access to information request. He said he wants to see the minutes of the board and the performance plan under which Martin's bonuses were paid out.

"Nalcor is a large organization. It is not accountable. It's got powers that are beyond any other Crown corporation in this province, and I think this is symptomatic of a bigger problem, which is an out of control corporation, which is not accountable to the people," he said.

"The government has to assert its authority and they need to move in there and request the new board to demand that the money be recovered."

With files from the St. John's Morning Show