Two charitable organizations serving people who are HIV-positive say they are still waiting to receive monies from the proceeds of dance events put on last Pride by an event company whose directors are now in the midst of a financial dispute.
In a Jun 16 email to Xtra West, A Loving Spoonful board member David Goudge says both his organization and McLaren Housing Society have not received donations that Boys Nite Out (BNO) promised “based on a percentage of profit of their dance events.”
Nor have they received any of the monies raised through the purchase of Karma Fund tickets — 100 percent of which were earmarked as donations to the charities, Goudge says.
In separate emails on the same day, Lorne Beiles and Darren Kopetsky, the presidents of A Loving Spoonful and McLaren Housing Society respectively, confirmed that their organizations had not seen any funds from the BNO events — Nocturnal on the Friday before Pride 2007, Freedom on the Sunday and Recharge on the Monday.
“We lent our name and our volunteers to the event on the understanding that we would receive some of the proceeds of the event and we intended to use such proceeds to help fund charitable activities in our community,” writes Beiles.
“I have been advised by our bookkeeper that we did not receive any funds from the BNO event nor have we received a detailed accounting,” he continues. “We are awaiting receipt of same.”
In his correspondence, Kopetsky says McLaren’s experience is “entirely consistent” with A Loving Spoonful’s.
“This will not be news but I can confirm that McLaren Housing has also not received any funds related to the BNO promises,” Kopetsky says.
“We understand that there is some ongoing dispute related to the BNO venture,” Kopetsky continues, “but share the desire of all to see it resolved so that pledges to A Loving Spoonful and McLaren Housing Society can be honoured.”
Asked about the reasons for the holdup in the disbursement of funds to the two charities, two of BNO’s four directors blame each other for their partnership’s unravelling and the bank’s subsequent decision to freeze BNO’s account.
According to BNO director Jean-Yves Pigeon, the partnership unravelled during Pride last year.
Pigeon alleges that the behaviour of two of his co-directors, Sunil Sinha and Eduardo Esperon, was “totally not acceptable.”
“We had to replace both of them on Friday night because they couldn’t work, and these are two of the four partners,” Pigeon alleges. “It’s not professional, and we had this conversation before, and that’s why the partnership fell apart.”
“Not at all,” Sinha counters, alleging that improper planning surrounding the events were the reasons problems began to emerge over Pride.
“The Saturday morning we had this huge set to take down and rebuild for Sunday. Jean-Yves had the responsibility for the sets,” Sinha claims.
“We had no helpers, we had just been up all night Friday so I suggested, ‘Let’s go and get some temporary labour.’ And we got into a dispute over something simple,” Sinha alleges.
For his part, Pigeon maintains that the four directors met about the events’ labour requirements and agreed to do the work themselves to save costs on the Saturday.
Pigeon says relations took a turn for the worse when he and the fourth BNO director, Laurie Lamarche, went to the TD Bank where BNO has an account and found they could not access the account the week following Pride.
Lamarche had been removed as a signing authority.
Pigeon says when he and Lamarche made enquiries, the bank produced a document dated Aug 10, 2007 that showed that Sinha and Esperon had removed Lamarche as a signing authority to the account.
Sinha confirms that he sought to remove Lamarche following the contentious Pride weekend’s events.
Pigeon alleges the document removing Lamarche contains a false declaration.
“[Sinha and Esperon] told the bank that there was a change in a corporate resolution — a new corporate resolution — and there’s minutes about that. And that’s just a blunt lie,” Pigeon alleges.
“They will never be able to prove that because we never attended a meeting, we never signed anything and all of us are equal directors,” Pigeon alleges.
Sinha denies making any false declarations. He says he only wanted to have Lamarche removed as a signing authority but made no mention to the bank of any corporate resolution changes to have him removed as a director.
“There was no corporate resolution passed to have Laurie removed as a director,” he agrees.
The bank must have given him the wrong form to sign, Sinha says.
“There was a mistake on my part that I did not read fully the document because it was represented to me as a document to remove Laurie only as signing authority,” he alleges, “so currently Laurie is still listed in our bank as a director.”
Pigeon says the bank froze the account when he and Lamarche challenged Lamarche’s removal as a signing authority.
The funds have been frozen ever since and therefore can’t be distributed to anyone, including the AIDS groups still awaiting payments.
On checking the account, Pigeon further alleges that he found more than $41,000 missing with no receipts to BNO.
“[Sinha and Esperon] say it’s their money but we have no proof because still as of today, we still haven’t seen their receipts,” alleges Pigeon.
“[That was] to pay bills,” Sinha explains. “Those are all recorded, and every transaction that was paid to a bill was recorded to the bill.”
An attempt to mediate the dispute last Fall broke down and both parties indicate they are now working with an independent accountant to reconcile BNO’s event finances.