A press conference is in the works for Sept 9, at which more details surrounding the Capital Pride financial situation will be revealed. Capital Pride chair Jodie McNamara confirms that the conference is being planned but will not comment on who will attend. She tells Xtra that the board is looking forward to making an official statement at that time.
Acting on the advice of their lawyer, Capital Pride has not yet responded to allegations from vendors and performers that their payment cheques have bounced. The board released a statement Aug 29 informing media that accounting irregularities had been discovered in a review of post-festival finances. In a second statement, released Sept 5, the board revealed they were “working with its experts to asses [sic] documentation surrounding the alleged accounting irregularities.”
Guillaume Tasse provided site infrastructure for the festival’s city hall location, including tables and chairs, toilets, stage and lighting equipment, which was subcontracted to Wall Sound and Lighting. He confirmed to Xtra that a $10,000 deposit cheque he was given had bounced and that the final payment he was supposed to receive after the festival on Aug 24 was pushed back repeatedly.
Tasse says he is currently owed $42,000 by Capital Pride. “I was hoping that I would get paid, but now I don’t have any choice. I have to pay my own suppliers from my own pocket,” he says, adding that he was told the board would have no further contact with him. “I feel they’re trying to walk away without paying.”
Sebastien Provost managed Capital Pride’s main stage entertainment through his event company, House of SAS. While that service was provided as a sponsorship and therefore no money changed hands, Provost says he is still owed about $24,000 by Capital Pride for liquor he was asked to purchase for the festival. He alleges that cheque bounced, leaving his account overdrawn to the tune of about $15,000.
Provost alleges Capital Pride treasurer Giselle Gardipy missed a meeting with him the Monday following Pride at which they were to have reconciled the bar sales. As of Sept 8, Gardipy had not responded to Xtra’s request for comment.
Provost also alleges that many other performers and onsite staff have not been paid, including members of RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons and DJ Mark Anthony. “All I got last week was calls from all the artists whose payments had bounced,” he says. “It’s humiliating beyond belief. I’ve never ever once in my career ever bounced a cheque or not communicated with an artist, so this has just been really troubling for me on a professional level.” Montreal DJ Stephan Grondin also confirmed to Xtra that his payment cheque had bounced.
As far as Provost is aware, he says, only the performers who received cash have been successfully paid. DJs Kitty Glitter and Hex Hector both confirmed that they received payment, with Hector adding that he felt he was “treated extremely well” by Capital Pride. A representative for Toersa Inc, which provided security at the festival, confirmed that the company had been paid in full but would not comment on whether any cheques had bounced.
Both Tasse and Provost say they have contacted the Ottawa police, though a spokesperson could not confirm or deny whether an investigation is taking place. For Provost, however, it is more than just his bank account on the line. “All of the equity I’ve built over the years — this could ruin me.”
Xtra is following this story.