The Destruction of the Green Party in Alberta
Updated August, 2009
In 2004 I wrote:
This is a good year to be Green. It hasnt always been that way.
Sadly, in 2009 being Green in Alberta feels worse than in the darkest days of the late 1990s. Back then I was scared the party would fade away due to lack of interest but now I am afraid that the party has been driven into the ground although whether from maliciousness or incompetence I am not sure.
The story of the AGM in September 2008 that led to the resignation of the executive, including myself, has been told before. This page addresses what happened afterwards.
On April 1st 2009, the day after the new executive failed to file their annual financial report with Elections Alberta the new executive stated:
On March 28, 2009 the Executive convened and passed a motion to expedite the reconciliation process of the membership records in a manner that is fair and just to the entire membership. The motion passed reduces the 2009 membership year by eight months, and extends the 2010 membership year by eight months. Hence, effective April 1, 2009 memberships for the year 2009 will expire on April 1, 2009...
In other words, unless you have renewed your membership since April 1st, you are no longer a member of Alberta Greens.
Their excuse for this is that the old executive did not provide the necessary financial and membership records. Since, as the former CFO, I was responsible for both types of records, they are talking directly about me. These complaints were repeated many times:
- February 25thEdwin Erickson resigns stating that it has now come to my attention that important financial information from last year has been either withheld or is not made available, making it impossible for the new executive to file a year-end report.
- April (undated)The Executive Council writes that the accounting firm Myers Norris Penny had concluded that there is not enough information available to file an audited statement. Tax receipts for the year 2008 cannot be issued, due to the lack of information...
- April 1Blogger Jason Fekete reports that The new party chief [Joe Anglin] said the old executive has refused to hand over key financial information and access to bank accounts.
- April 1Joe Anglin wrote on a blog In short the unaudited statements [from Myers Norris Penny] simply states that there is not enough information available to file an audited statement.
- April 2On the same blog a man calling himself just Thomas and claiming to be a lawyer and a member of the Alberta Greens (perhaps not, as his membership was probably revoked the day before) stated, I support his [Joe Anglins] efforts to try and salvage the party from the administrative short-comings of the former executives.
- April 2Long time Green Party member Mark Taylor wrote on the same blog that The risk of deregistration comes from the Read administration not properly registering the party AND not properly doing the finances..
- April 3New executive member Will Munsey also wrote on the same blog I have seen the receipt book for memberships and donations, as well as the 'trial balance sheet' that were submitted to the new executive and while I am not a financial wizard, I cannot find records that show deposits to accounts that can be verified by names in the receipt book or on the membership list. That is to say...there are some receipts...and some deposits (in various sums, but without names with which to cross-reference and check). There is also a list of members, but that list does not jive with the membership and donation receipts in many cases. What I am saying is from what I have seen, the records that were passed to the new executive were incomplete and not done very professionally.
- April 13The partys lawyer Luke Kurata wrote in a letter sent out with tax receipts that Following the resignation of the Chief Financial Officer in December, 2008, records essential for filing 2008 audited financial statements were inaccessible to the current executive and Mr. C. Simpson, C.A., of Myers Norris Penny
- April 14In an email from new party President Connie Jensen to longtime member and former leader David Parker, she wrote, At this time we are unable to issue tax receipts due to the lack of information, in the form of records and documents, necessary to account for donations to the party.
None of the above statements are true. I gave the new executive full access to the complete financial records in the form of a large Zipped data file on my website and accessible through a URL and password that I provided to them. This Zip archive contained, among many other files, the MYOB accounting file that contained all the partys financial data including a complete list of donors and members as well as all income and expense transactions. Here is a reminder email I sent to President Connie Jensen in January:
From: David Crowe [mailto:David.Crowe@cnp-wireless.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 1:47 PM
To: Connie Jensen
Subject: Location of financial documentation etc.
Let me remind you that the financial documents are either in the box that I sent to you or at http://aras.ab.ca/tmp/CFODocuments.zip
I had removed that file as I assumed you'd downloaded it. Note that this is a different location than in the document I sent to you because of technical problems with davidcrowe.ca
Also, since Joe obviously didn't download the archive of the website while the Alberta Greens server was up, I have, as a courtesy, uploaded it to http://aras.ab.ca/200812WebBackup.tar. I understand that this is an archive of the entire website as of the date you took over.
It is important to note that:
- The new executive did in fact access the data I provided but did not provide the essential files, including the actual MYOB financial database, to the accountant.
- The new executive only contacted me once regarding missing information, and that was for the username and password to access a third party credit card processing website (IATS) that I had forgotten to give them. This was provided within a few hours.
- The new executive did NOT contact me to ask me for any financial files or membership records at any time.
- The new executive were given both electronic and paper copies of a letter listing all the physical documents turned over to them, and all passwords, and other information including the existence of a large electronic archive (the linked version has all passwords and credit card numbers removed, the ZIP archive has been moved from its original URL due to privacy considerations). They were requested to sign and return this letter to me, the former CFO, when they had verified the contents. They never did this.
The truth about why the accountant did not have the full financial and membershp information has now been revealed by Luke Kurata in the April 13th letter accompanying the delayed tax receipts he revealed the name of the accountant. Once I had the accountants name I immediately phoned him to get more information. You can listen to the audio or read the transcript of our conversation to verify the following information:
- The new executive did not provide the accountant with the full MYOB accounting file.
- The accountant was provided with a PDF file which was a printout of only one of the hundreds of reports that the MYOB accounting software can provide. This is also referred to in a Will Munsey blog posting.
- The trial balance file contains a list of all transactions in all accounts in the accounting file, but only the first and last name, not the address of the donor.
- The trial balance shows each piece of complex transactions under the header of its account making it very difficult to piece transactions back together.
- This trial balance PDF file was in the same ZIP archive as the full MYOB file. The only way that the accountant could have obtained this file is if the new executive downloaded the ZIP archive. Possession of the PDF file by the accountant proves that the new executive also possessed the MYOB accounting file.
- The accountant was aware of MYOB accounting software.
- The accountant agreed with me that if he had been given the full MYOB accounting file he would have had everything needed to produce financial statements and tax receipts.
The only remaining question is whether their failure to forward all necessary files to the accountant is due to maliciousness or incompetence. Did they not know how to manage the party or were they always intent on destroying it?
© Copyright May, 2009: David Crowe.