Bortolin Quiet On Real FINA Cost To Taxpayers


Tuomi-HeaderReaction has been swift. It can best be described as shock and awe, and even abusive, following a column from this corner of The Square.

All of the costs of the just ended FINA swimming meet were added up, using city hall and media reports as the source. In the end, the total was over $25 million. Since then, an update shows the Big Spend at $26,214,702.

There is a lot more to this developing story.

It is important because the mayor has alerted the public about a pending tax increase. It approximates the cost of the city covering the athletes lodging, food, transportation, and other items.

After a good start of releasing quarterly reports, the city stopped with its third, covering spending up to December last year. It then became rather secretive.

Ward 3 councilor, Rino Bortolin, takes exception to this accusation. Commenting on Facebook, Bortolin claimed, “All the costs are 100% public every step of the way.”

Not everyone agrees.

As far back as February 15, the Windsor Star reported city councilor Irek Kusmierczyk was calling for, “… greater transparency in FINA spending.”

A month later, columnist Anne Jarvis found information was being withheld. On March 10 she reported the city was fighting her, “… request for detailed hotel costs.”

At about the same time, internet swimming publication Swim Swam reported February 16 that, “… in Windsor the seemingly ballooning of costs associated with hosting the global event is a recurring concern.”

If nothing else, the Francis Council certainly has been rather cunning in how it has presented the Big Spend, saying the budget was $11.265 million. What it did not explain, as the CBC reported on February 18 last year, is one little detail.

The original budget, signed in December 2012, was in US dollars. Then, the American and Canadian currencies were about equal. FINA, said the broadcaster, “… requires its agreements in US dollars.”

Based on today’s exchange rate, the official budget, in local currency, would be approximately $14.7 million.

It seems The Square’s findings did nothing if not hit a nerve with Bortolin.

He launched into a Facebook tirade claiming The Square’s numbers were, “… complete fiction.”

Not willing to stop there, he went further, accusing the Square of lying. He refused to release the real FINA costs. “This does nothing but hurt the debate as more and more lies muddy the waters.”

When asked to reveal his numbers, he asked, “Who needs to offer proof?”

I’m not providing anything. The #s are all public in reports to exec comm as stated. I’m looking forward to an audit of some kind coming forward.

And then he went quiet.

Did the council stop making its quarterly reports easy to find because it knew costs were out of control?

The reaction from Bortolin, and his unwillingness to prove The Square wrong, seems to suggest something is up.

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About the Author

Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi