Heed faces new breach of trust probe: documents
Published Tuesday, January 18, 2011 5:48PM PST
Months after he was cleared by a special prosecutor for allegations of elections fraud, CTV News has learned that the RCMP is investigating former solicitor general and high profile Liberal MLA Kash Heed for alleged breach of trust.
In a warrant filed in October 2010, and only unsealed this month, police allege Heed was part of an elaborate scheme that took his constituency office's furniture allowance to pay the campaign workers who created anti-NDP pamphlets.
The warrant asks for information about any interaction between Heed and, among others, Wally Oppal and outgoing B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell.
"[These] are allegations of offenses under the elections act and under the criminal code. They are serious," RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Tim Shields said in an interview, adding the police have finished their investigation and have forwarded the results to the special prosecutor in the case.
The RCMP received approval to search Heed's constituency office, as well as the financial records of the West Vancouver Police detachment, where Kash Heed held the post of police chief.
The Information to Obtain the Warrant alleges that many of the new leads come from people connected to Heed who either recanted previous statements to police, or admitted that they had lied.
Kash Heed told CTV News that he was surprised to hear of the allegations and has heard nothing from the police, including anything about a search of the West Vancouver police detachment.
But Sgt. John Taylor of the RCMP E-Division Commercial Crimes unit wrote in the warrant that based on the evidence in the investigation, he thought Heed was holding back during interrogations.
"Contrary to Kash Heed's statements, I believe that Kash Heed is not telling the whole truth," wrote Taylor.
Heed had already resigned from cabinet in April 2010 over inflammatory campaign leaflets mailed to Chinese-Canadian voters in his riding and two others.
The Chinese-language mail-outs, which did not identify themselves as official campaign literature, accused the New Democrats of planning to legalize illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine.
Heed was cleared of wrongdoing by special prosecutor Terrence Robertson but his campaign manager, Barinder Sall, was charged with three criminal and three Election Act offences in connection to the flyers. The campaign's financial officer Satpal Johl is facing one Election Act charge.
The special prosecutor later stepped down after it was revealed his law firm, Harper Grey LLP, donated money to the BC Liberal Party. Lawyer Peter Wilson was appointed his replacement but has yet to make any recommendations.
The new investigation examines how police believe the campaign paid for those mail-outs, which involved a $4,000 cheque to Sall and a $2,000 cheque to Sameer Ismail, who police allege wrote the flyers.
Heed's signature appears to be on copies of both cheques in the warrant application.
Sgt. Taylor writes that the money appears to come from constituency furniture allowance -- which means that the money comes from the taxpayers.
"The amounts of $4,000 to Barinder Sall and $2,000 to Sameer Ismail are not random amounts," wrote Taylor. "They correspond exactly to allowances that were due to the constituency for furniture."
But because Heed was assuming the office of Wally Oppal, Sgt. Taylor points out that Heed needed no new furniture.
"Therefore the amounts of $4,000 and $2,000 could have been regarded as ‘free money,'" Taylor wrote.
Police also allege they have reasonable grounds to believe local cranberry mogul Peter Dhillon was "the money man" who donated to Heed's campaign.
Taylor points to several cheques that were written by Richberry Farms and Pitt Meadows Farms Limited to North American Mailing, which distributed the anti-NDP pamphlets.
In the warrant, Dhillon says those cheques were for "promotional brochures for the cranberry industry." Taylor says he could find no evidence of any promotional brochures.
In order to prove a relationship between Dhillon and Heed, Sgt. Taylor pointed to a photo taken on election night of Kash Heed, Barinder Sall, and Peter Dhillon.
Sgt. Taylor also examined e-mails between Barinder Sall and Global TV reporter Catherine Urquhart from June 10, 2010.
"I can honestly say Kash would not be SG today if it hadn't been for some key people behind the scenes," wrote Sall. "There were truly three people that played a major role: Me, Peter Dhillon, and yourself and Kash knows this. Peter was the money guy, I'm the brown tanned James Bond strategy girl chasing guy, and you were like the communications director… your stories, coverage and timing gave Kash a lot of profile and built him a following from day 1."
"Hey, that's really sweet of you," wrote Urquhart. "Have to say -- there were a number of people along the way (cops and reporters -- mostly cops) who seemed to have it in for Kash. But I always believed he was a good guy. I'm truly glad it worked out! C"
The allegations have not been proven in court.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward and Jim Beatty