Mona Lisa not a masterpiece

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

When retired Transport Canada security inspector Mike Franke was hired at short notice by VANOC, nobody told him he would work 21-hour days, document thefts, drug overdoses and sexual assaults or evict workers from the Mona Lisa cruise ship.

“I found there was a whole ton of things that were wrong,” Franke said. “Day two, VANOC suddenly realized that these people they hired and were putting on board the vessel were ‘problem children’.”

VANOC security integration manager Peter Chambers hired Franke by phone late Jan. 22 to be occasional-use marine facility security officer at Squamish Terminals, four days before the Mona Lisa arrived. Franke conducted the threat assessment in 2009 at the dock where the 1,100-passenger vessel housed Olympic and Paralympic workers and volunteers. Chambers and Franke agreed on a $30,000 contract for Jan. 27-March 23.

Franke said, despite Chambers’ guarantees, the fencing, gates and guards were inadequate, passengers were entering the facility without identification and no security sweep happened.

Franke said VANOC piled on additional duties, such as managing ship security, patrolling the vessel and escorting Transport Canada and RCMP personnel on-board.

“VANOC didn’t have the foresight to think they needed somebody to be on the vessel,” said the 68-year-old North Delta man.

He finally received the approved security plan March 5, the day he invoiced for the original contract and extra duties.

On May 17, Franke received a $31,500 cheque (including GST) and letter from VANOC lawyer Chris Gear. Gear admitted there was no written contract, but rejected Franke’s claim for an additional $20,000.

“His request for further compensation is unreasonable,” said VANOC vice-president of communications Renee Smith-Valade.

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