De Bonis accused of 'cooking books'

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment's chief operating officer testified yesterday that prospective buyer Ryan Beedie accused the Vancouver Canucks and General Motors Place parent of "cooking the books."

"[Beedie] said that he thought our business was doing worse than we were representing," said Victor de Bonis, recounting a late September 2004 phone conversation to B.C. Supreme Court.

Beedie's partner Tom Gaglardi also took issue with Orca Bay's refusal to use generally accepted accounting principles in day-to-day bookkeeping. De Bonis, a chartered accountant, said the company's annual statements were audited using the standard accounting rules.

De Bonis said Gaglardi expressed distaste for CEO Stan McCammon, but was confident a deal was imminent. De Bonis said Gaglardi told him during a five-hour Oct. 15, 2004, dinner that "he was in the driver's seat, [owner John McCaw] was desperate to sell and didn't have a buyer other than him," de Bonis said.

De Bonis said he was told on Nov. 4, 2004, by McCammon that McCaw couldn't come to terms on the Gaglardi offer so he was pursuing a 20-per-cent offer from Francesco Aquilini. A day later, Gaglardi and Beedie's ex-partner Aquilini successfully offered to buy 50 per cent by using the King Edward Village real estate development in east Vancouver and another property in Edmonton as "funding sources," de Bonis said.

Canucks' general manager Dave Nonis is scheduled to testify tomorrow.


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