Here’s what we are supposed to believe. Howard MacKay’s Power Promotional Events was in deep doo doo. Tickets for its July 24 Black Eyed Peas concert on the Halifax Commons were selling so poorly the promoter was on the edge of cancelling that concert as well as a two-day country show set for the same venue less than two weeks later.
Three days before the first concert, Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly personally tried—and failed—to convince Premier Darrell Dexter to pony up cash for the concert.
Later that day, MacKay met with Kelly and HRM’s Acting CAO Wayne Anstey in a last desperate attempt to save the show.
At this point, we don’t know what transpired during that session.
What we do know is what the mayor claims happened next: “After the meeting, we all went our own way and Mr. Anstey… made a decision” to OK $400,000 in forgivable loans to MacKay’s company, a deal that violated the city charter. “He did not ask for my consent, nor was any given,” Kelly insisted last week. “I thought that it was according to policy and that he had the authority in which to do it.”
I’d like to believe that…
Check that. I’d rather not believe it.
Believing it means acknowledging we have a mayor who—in spite of being cheerleader-in-chief for mega-concerts on the Common—is so disengaged, so uncaring he didn’t ask, even after he learned the concert was on again: Hey, Wayne, how did you fix that problem with the Peas? Wow, isn’t that beyond your authority?
We also have to buy that the mayor didn’t at some point read the terms of the sweetheart deal and say: Whoah, Wayne, what the…!?
And we must accept that—even after Power Promotions went down the tubes in October—our esteemed mayor didn’t say to himself: Perhaps I’d better tell council and taxpayers what we’ve been doing with their money … And have been doing for years, only this time, uh… we got caught…
So I don’t want to believe the mayor was as dumb as he claims he was.
And I don’t.
I look forward to the auditor general’s report.
See also: For mayor, surely we can do better.