Oly deal played role in Orca Bay

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

Money expected from Vancouver's Olympic organizers was a bargaining chip in the failed sale of GM Place and Vancouver Canucks to Tom Gaglardi and Ryan Beedie.

Under B.C. Supreme Court cross-examination yesterday, former Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment CEO Stan McCammon admitted that an $8-million discount was agreed in negotiations for the arena and the Canucks. If the sale went through, the first $8 million received from VANOC would be paid to vendor John McCaw.

The Gaglardi-led 100-per-cent offer eventually lost to Francesco Aquilini's 50-per-cent deal in November 2004. Gaglardi and Ryan Beedie are asking Justice Catherine Wedge to void ex-colleague Aquilini's purchase and reactivate their offer.

VANOC paid $18.9 million, including $300,000 interest, from its operations budget to GM Place on June 25, days after Aquilini's deal for the other 50 per cent legally closed. Funds were intended for improvements to the 2010 hockey venue. VANOC executive vice-president Dave Cobb - Orca Bay's chief operating officer until summer 2004 - said last week in a VANOC media conference call that "There isn't a specific plan about where each dollar will go."

Meanwhile, reporters were allowed to view Aquilini's media training video and receive transcripts yesterday. Wedge refused on Wednesday to allow duplication of the Nov. 11, 2004 video. Aquilini, wearing a tie the same shade as the Canucks' blue retro jerseys, is shown practising for his purchase news conference.

Today is the last day of testimony until after August's B.C. Day weekend when McCaw is expected to appear. It may not wrap up until after hockey season begins.


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