Capital Pride says some suppliers asking for too much money

Some companies who supplied goods and services for Capital Pride submitted invoices for amounts that weren't agreed to by the festival's board of directors, Capital Pride said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

Suppliers 'requesting payments for amounts that were not approved,' Capital Pride statement reads

Organizers of Capital Pride say they're investigating financial irregularities, and that Ottawa police may become involved. (CBC )

Some companies who supplied goods and services for Capital Pride submitted invoices for amounts that weren't agreed to by the festival's board of directors, Capital Pride said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

Guillaume Tasse says he's owed about $42,000 for infrastructure he supplied to Capital Pride. (CBC)
Last week, Capital Pride organizers said they were investigating "accounting irregularities" in a post-festival review of finances, after several suppliers announced that they hadn't been paid. In an emailed statement last Thursday, Capital Pride said "a police investigation may be pending."

Guillaume Tasse said last week that he's owed about $42,000 for providing festival infrastructure, including a stage, sound and lighting equipment, tents, toilets, fences and more.

Sebastien Provost, president of the production company House of SAS, said he's owed nearly $24,000.

Other irregularities still being looked into, Capital Pride says

In the statement issued Tuesday, Capital Pride said its "examination centers on invoices from festival site and entertainment providers requesting payments for amounts that were not approved by the Capital Pride board of directors."

Other irregularities are also being looked into, but Capital Pride said it's "not able to comment on them at this time."

"More information on related expenditures will be disclosed after we complete our internal audit of all invoices submitted by site and entertainment providers," the statement reads.

"Capital Pride will be contacting each site and entertainment provider directly."

The festival then specifically addressed the situation with House of SAS, saying Provost "significantly exceeded the agreed-upon budget."

'I'm pretty shocked,' Provost says

In an interview with CBC News Tuesday evening, Provost said he's "deeply troubled" by Capital Pride's allegations, which don't match his records.

Provost said the nearly $24,000 he is owed has to do with a last-minute problem with the festival's liquor order on Friday, Aug. 22. The festival realized too late that it couldn't pay for its liquor order with a regular cheque, and the festival's bank was closed, Provost said.

Provost said the festival's treasurer asked for help, and that he offered to accept a cheque from the festival for the amount of the order, bring it to his bank (which was still open) to deposit it, and then get a bank draft for the same amount.

"I mean, there was no choice. We needed liquor for the festival," Provost said. "So I did that, in good faith, and then on Wednesday August 27 I was informed by my bank that the cheque had not gone through and that I was now overdrawn by over $15,000.

"I have known these people for many years and have worked with them extensively, and I'm pretty shocked," Provost said. "I'm not sure what the fate of Capital Pride is in its current state. It's very disappointing, and just demonstrates a real need for evaluation and, potentially, change."

Capital Pride did not respond to requests for clarification regarding its statement.

'I think they're trying to avoid their responsibility,' Tasse says

Guillaume Tasse, meanwhile, said he was contacted by Capital Pride on Monday and was told he should expect payment from Provost, not Capital Pride.

But Tasse said he was not a subcontractor under Provost, and that Tasse communicated directly with Capital Pride about most of the festival's requests for equipment and infrastructure.

"I'm not happy about it at all. I think they're trying to avoid their responsibility," Tasse said.

A $40,000 budget was agreed to by Capital Pride before the festival took place, Tasse said, and a second, smaller invoice for things the festival forgot to request was agreed to by the site manager. It was about $1,200, Tasse said.

He was originally promised 50 per cent of the $40,000 budget before the festival took place, but was later told by Capital Pride that they could only offer 25 per cent up front, Tasse said.

That cheque, for about $10,000, bounced.

"At the end of the day they can point the finger to whoever they want, but Sebastien never signed those cheques that bounced. And no one else beside them had the authority to sign those cheques. And they did sign those cheques," Tasse said.