Ronald Hubert Kelly
ex-priest. Raised in St. John’s Newfoundland. Ordained 1969 for Diocese of St. George’s Newfoundland. 1979 – GUILTY to 10 charges related to sex abuse of five boys ages 13 to 17. Suspended sentence . After conviction relocated to Toronto and taken in by then Archbishop Emmett Carter – the Archdiocese of Toronto, Ontario . Left the priesthood around 1990 when his past became public knowledge in Toronto. Became a real estate tycoon. By 1997 had built an empire worth $500 million. By 2006 it was known that $150 million has gone missing from the Food and Commercial Workers union pension fund, which, according to one source, “evaporated in the investments of one Ronald Hubert Kelly.”
Fatherly Treatment (Chapter 8 from Unholy Orders,by Michael Harris. Scanned and reprinted in its entirety with the kind permission of the author) The entire chapter relates to the charges laid against Kelly and the debacle leading up to and surrounding Kelly’s guilty plea and awarding of a suspended sentence and two years probation.
The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Directories (CCCD) of that date, media (M), Unholy Orders: Tragedy at Mount Cashel by Michael Harris (MH)
April 2014: Said to be in Panama
February 2014: Address in Largo, Florida
2013: Rick Vassall alleges sex abuse by Father Kelly in the rectory at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Mississauga. The date was around 1979
2010: living in St. John’s Newfoundland. On Bonaventure Avenue. Across the street from a Catholic school.
lived in Panama for a number of years.
2006: allegations of money laundering in Panama press
1991: not listed (CCCD)
into consulting and real estate business
March 1990: testified at the Hughes Inquiry in Newfoundland (M) Took a leave of absence when his name came up in conjunction with the inquiry and his past. Never returned.
1990: Vice Chancellor of Temporal Affairs for the Toronto Archdiocese and a key aid to Toronto’s Cardinal Archbishop Emmett Carter (M)
1985-86: address for Diocesan Centre, Toronto (Archbishop Cardinal Emmett Carter) (CCCD)
1985: full pardon on all convictions. The file on his sex abuse was sealed (M)
1984: assisting at St. Michael’s Cathedral, Toronto, Ontario (M)
November 1979: appeal denied. Newfoundland Court of Appeal upheld Kelly’s suspended sentence
post Southdown, late 1979: assisting at a parish in Mississauga, Ontario (M)
allegations that around 1979 he sexually abused Rick Vassall in the rectory at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Mississauga
May 1979: GUILTY to 10 charges related to sex abuse of five boys ages 13 to 17. Suspended sentence (M)
after his plea spent four-and-a-half- months at Southdown, Ontario, at which time it was determined that he was ‘well on his way to complete recovery.” Arrangements were made with Auxiliary Bishop Lacey for Kelley to live with Lacey. In short, Cardinal Carter took Kelly into the Archdiocese of Toronto, Ontario where Kelly assisted in parishes (the Cathedral included) , became Vice-Chancellor of Temporal Affairs for the Archdiocese and Carter’s key aide. (MH)
1973-79: Our Lady of the Cape RC Church, Cape St. Gorge, Newfoundland (MH)
Chairman of the Port au Port school board. Established a French immersion program. Founded the Corps of Army Cadets at Cape St. George. Appointed by the provincial government as Vice-Chairman of Bay St. George Community College ((MH)
1973-74: address for St. Joseph’s RC Church in Harbour, Breton, Newfoundland (pastor Father John W. Peddle) (missions in Burgeo, Gaultois, Miller’s Pasage and Ramea) (Bishop Richard T. McGrath) (CCCD)
1971-72: address for Our Lady of the Assumption, Stephenville, Newfoundland (pastor Father Patrick J Bromley) (CCCD)
2005: External link to: Pension-Fleecing Pervert in His Own Neverland
Record fine for CCWIPP trustees
Jody White | April 09, 2010
Nine trustees of the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan (CCWIPP) have been slapped with a total fine of $202,500 for a breaching their fiduciary duty, reports the Toronto Star.Ontario Justice Beverly Brown imposed fines of $18,000 on each trustee, plus victim surcharges of $4,500 for breaches to the Pension Benefits Act (PBA).
The fine—the largest in Ontario’s history—could have been higher the Star reports had expert evidence been presented to support scores of other charges relating to specific investments. A money losing hotel in the Bahamas and a food processing plant in Idaho are just two examples of murky deals for which evidence of financial losses was not produced to the court, but ultimately contributed to the pension plan’s financial woes.
The trustees were convicted of exceeding the legal investment limits of 10% of the plan’s assets in one area as a result of investments or loans of nearly US$20 million to two firms run by a convicted pedophile, despite existing debts to the plan of $92 million.
CCWIPP records and other regulatory filings show that the plan invested more than $235 million in companies involved with RHK Capital and PRK Holdings, run by Ronald Hubert Kelly, a former Canadian priest-turned real estate mogul. According to a 2005 Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) report, Kelly launched a real estate holding company with CCWIPP funds in order to develop several properties in the Bahamas, at least two of which resulted in losses in the millions.
An additional $110 million of CCWIPP money was pumped into risky businesses including hotels, undeveloped land, a Florida-based restaurant chain and a hospitality firm that has since gone into receivership.
FSCO’s report found that the pension plan was in breach of the PBA on numerous fronts, including a lack of due diligence, exceeding regulatory investment limits and failing to disclose conflicts of interest.
As part of the sentencing, Judge Brown announced that the nine defendants were prohibited from using the plan’s assets to pay their fines or legal costs.
Vol. 12 No. 13
July 9 – 22 2006
Excerpt from Editorial http://www.thepanamanews.com/pn/v_12/issue_13/editorial.html
Father Ron Kelly
For more than a year, Canadian newspapers have been reporting how nearly $150 million has gone missing from the Food and Commercial Workers union pension fund, having evaporated in the investments of one Ronald Hubert Kelly. Kelly lives down here, despite having a 10-count child molesting conviction as part of the baggage he brought to Panama.
Kelly, a former Catholic priest, got probation for his sexual abuse of those boys, then was transferred to another parish, then rose to become the chief financial officer of the Archdiocese of Toronto, then quit the priesthood to become a money manager and real estate speculator.
A Bahamian court has found, and the Supreme Court of the Bahamas recently confirmed, that Kelly received several million dollars in a fraudulent transfer from a bank about to go under, then laundered that money by depositing it in the Banco Atlantico on Panama City’s Calle 50. Kelly’s story has also played prominently in the Jamaican newspapers.
The Torrijos administration has long known about Kelly, and well knows that it’s illegal for child molesters to immigrate to Panama. Yet, apparently because Kelly is so wealthy, President Torrijos tolerates his unlawful presence here…..
El Espino’s least desirable neighbor
The Panama News
Vol 11. No. 14 July 17 – August 6 2005
by Eric Jackson
“I had no idea,” Antonio Pope said. The representante of the San Carlos corregimiento of El Espino had heard the tales of a steady stream of young men — never any women — going in and out of the estate owned by a tall, wealthy Canadian man in his early 60s, one Ronald Hubert Kelly. But until this reporter came to him with the documented tale, Pope didn’t know that the man who is probably the biggest landowner in his constituency has a 10-count record of molesting teenage boys.
Back in May of 1979, Kelly was a Catholic priest in the small Newfoundland town of Piccadilly. He was arrested for and pleaded guilty to ten counts of sexually abusing five boys between the ages of 13 and 17.
One of the boys was paid $5 to perform fellatio while Kelly sat at his desk in the parish office. Another time, Kelly visited a parishioner, who served him drinks, put him to bed and provided a boy to service his sexual desires. In another instance, two boys tried to lock the priest out of their bedroom at night, but were scolded by their mother, who let Kelly in for his idea of fun and games.
After his arrest, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Murray Urquhart testified years later before a government commission, Kelly was in denial. “He was even indicating that the youths were more responsible in their actions than he was.”
But while the Mounties and prosecutors were doing their jobs, powerful elements of church and state were conspiring to cover things up. Just two days after Kelly’s arrest, Judge Gordon Seabright played host to Bishop Richard McGrath at the judge’s home to discuss Kelly’s case. Two days after that, Seabright imposed a two-year suspended sentence, on condition that Kelly receive therapy at an Ontario center for the treatment of Catholic priests with emotional problems. The prosecution appealed the lenient sentence, but Seabright was upheld by a three-judge panel, which opined that Kelly was “no criminal in the common sense of the word.”
After a few months of therapy, Kelly resumed his priestly vocation, this time in two Ontario parishes. After a couple of years of that, he was transferred to the central offices of the Archdiocese of Toronto and rose to become the top financial aide to Cardinal G. Emmett Carter. In that post he oversaw the construction of new churches, acquired land for cemeteries and managed the church’s many real estate holdings. In 1984 he arranged for hotel accomodations for 1,000 dignitaries who came to town for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Canada.
The following year, Kelly received a pardon from the conservative government of then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Under the terms of that pardon, the file on his sexual abuse case was sealed.
But meanwhile, years of scandals that had been swept under the rug were working their way out as new political forces came of age in Canadian politics. In particular, Canada’s long-standing practice of shipping indigenous kids from remote northern communities to church-run boarding schools was coming under attack from the emerging Assembly of First Nations, which was wont to characterize the practice as cultural genocide. That the “civilizing” process at the boarding schools often included beatings, sexual assaults and other maltreatment aggravated the situation, and the impunity that the abusers enjoyed made it worse yet. A scandal at an orphanage in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where there was widepread abuse that had been covered up for years coincided with the ever more powerful indigenous nations’ protests led to the appointment in 1990 of a crown commission headed by Samuel Hughes .
So what exactly was the problem of which the events in St. Johns became a symbol? Was it a matter of racism against the children of Canada’s first inhabitants? Was the real problem about homosexuality in places where it shouldn’t be tolerated? Or was it just that the church habitually got a free pass for conduct that would be harshly suppressed when discovered in secular settings? All of those arguments were made by various witnesses and observers, and the commission looked well beyond the St. Johns case in search of the proper context. For his efforts and conclusions Hughes was alternatively reviled as racist for allegedly belittling the oppression of indigenous kids, homophobic for considering an alleged link between homosexuality and pedophilia, and bigoted for washing the dirty laundry of several Christian denominations in public.
And in the course of the Hughes inquiry, Father Kelly’s case came up. The record may have been sealed, but memories had not been suppressed.
Complaining that his case had nothing to do with the infamous St. John’s orphanage, Kelly took a leave of absence from the archdiocese, then shortly thereafter renounced his vows.
With his knowledge of finance and real estate from working with the archdiocese, and with ties to business, media, labor and political leaders also acquired in the course of his priestly duties, Kelly went into the consulting and real estate businesses.
Backed by Howard Johnson’s executive Stephen Phillips and investments from the 240,000-member Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan, Kelly began to buy and develop hotels, convention centers, resorts, shopping malls and food processing plants. Within a few years the pedophile former priest’s RHK Capital had a portfolio of assets worth around half a billion dollars.
On the way up the economic scale to opulence, Kelly cultivated political ties across the spectrum. Ontario Premier Bob Rae, who went on to lead his left-leaning New Democratic Party to the most catastrophic election defeat in its history, was there to cut a ribbon at one of Kelly’s real estate openings. Kelly hosted a Toronto fundraiser for Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who later ended a long political career by handing the reins of the Liberal Party to his successor Paul Martin.
The Toronto Sun noticed the apparent business success and the humiliating sex abuse convictions, and went to talk with Kelly about these things in 1997. The result was a sympathetic article of the up from adversity by the bootstraps variety. In that article Kelly attributed his sexual misconduct to alcoholism and claimed that he had dried out after his arrest. Without much apparent skepticism the Sun thus gave the ex-priest a forum to pose as that mythical beast so often favored in certain religious circles, the reformed former homosexual. Kelly said that if the right woman came along he might marry. About his pedophile past he said “The way I deal with it is ‘that’s the past and I dealt with it’ and I think I’ve gone for the right treatment … and I’ve gotten on Like so many other North American capitalists, Kelly began to diversify offshore. He bought and renovated the British Colonial Hotel in Nassau and another Bahamian resort. He became one of the movers and shakers in the Americas International Bank, also in the Bahamas. He acquired tourist hotels in Kingston and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. By sometime in 2001, he had obtained a bank account in the Banco Atlantico on Calle 50 in Panama City.
This business empire, however, was not built with Kelly’s money. It was mainly founded upon some $235 million invested by the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan, the largest multiple-employer private pension fund in Canada. Founded and more or less run by the United Food and Commercial Workers union that represents employees at a number of supermarket chains and meat packing companies, the plan created a maze of subsidiaries, which were intertwined with another maze of subsidiaries that Kelly created for his RHK Capital.
The empire began to crumble. A shrimp processing plant in Newfoundland and a potato processing plant in Idaho went bust. Although the British Colonial Hotel in Nassau began to attract the rich and famous and was the backdrop for two James Bond movies, it renovation went way over budget.
In 2001, the Americas International Bank folded, but not before the bank paid Kelly $3 million, which was deposited in the Banco Atlantico here. Last year a Bahamian court held that the payment amounted to a fraudulent preference, but Kelly is appealing.
(Did the deposit of the proceeds of a bankruptcy fraud in the Bahamas into a Panamanian bank amount to money laundering under our laws? Yes, opines law professor Miguel Antonio Bernal, who cites Inter-American and United Nations anti-corruption treaties. But the UN treaty was only recently ratified by Panama and the statutes implementing the terms of the 1990s Caracas Convention may not have been in effect when the money transfer in question took place, although the treaty itself undoubtedly was. And of course, all such questions are based upon the dubious proposition that we have the rule of law in Panama.)
In 2003, Kelly and RHK Capital began to default on their obligations. In 2004, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers were told that future retirees would see their pension benefits reduced by some 20 percent, and that workers would have to put in more years on the job to even qualify for a pension.
Dissidents within the union had been complaining for years about mismanagement and lack of transparency in their pension fund, and about the UFCW’s financial ties with a child molester. Finally, despite Kelly’s ties with Canada’s ruling Liberal Party and its former leader Jean Chretien, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario opened an investigation in 2003. It recently issued an 82-page report on its findings.
The commission, which has to power to impose civil fines but not criminal penalties, alleged conflicts of interest, lack of due diligence in investment decisions, insufficient monitoring of the ways that pension funds were used and bad record keeping. The pension fund trustees, most of them current or former UCFW leaders, disputed the findings. Dissident workers demanded that the police and prosecutors be brought in to conduct a criminal investigation.
The pension fund trustees claim to have cut their ties with Kelly, which their critics in the labor movement dispute by citing offices and telephone numbers shared by the fund and by RHK.
Meanwhile, if RHK Capital may arguably be insolvent its namesake is apparently in much better financial shape.
Kelly bought one of the landmarks on the road to El Valle, the sprawling estate with the faux medieval wall once owned by former El Siglo publisher Jaime Padilla Beliz. Coming with the land and the several houses on it was a private zoo, some of whose animals this reporter observed by looking over the fence and through the trees from a rise across the road. According to neighbors, Kelly employs six or seven men full-time to maintain the premises. But the compound that the pedophile ex-priest bought from the former necro-porn publisher is the smaller part of Kelly’s real estate holding in El Espino. Kelly has also acquired a much larger, mostly wooded adjacent tract to the south of Padilla Beliz’s old place and neighbors say that in all Kelly’s holdings encompass at least a square kilometer and probably much more than that.
But does Kelly have any legal right to be here at all? The unanimous consensus of legal opinion sought by The Panama News is that he does not.
A spokesman for Migracion said that for any foreigner seeking a visa to live in Panama, a lifetime judicial history is required. He added that people with known convictions for child molesting are not allowed in Panama.
Attorney Juan Ramón Vallarino J. pointed out that the immigration form asks not only about criminal convictions but also about arrests, and without providing a specific exception in the case of pardons our immigration law generally excludes people with criminal records.
Law professor Miguel Antonio Bernal concurred with the immigration spokesman about the absolute requirement to reveal a conviction for sexual abuse when applying for a resident’s visa. He also noted that Article 12 of the Panamanian Constitution, which regulates naturalization, allows for the exclusion of individuals on, among others, moral, safety or mental health grounds and argued that this would be meaningless if visa applicants were not required to reveal such things as a criminal record of pedophile offenses.
Ronald Hubert Kelly has attended functions of the local Canadian Association, and is known to some members of the local gay community. But while there are those who are reputedly impressed by the wealth the man displays, both the Canadians and the homosexuals with whom this reporter talked about Kelly would prefer that he be expelled from Panama.
The Kelly matter has been brought to the attention of the Public Ministry, which could possibly pursue one or more of any number of investigatory angles. The Panama News has been informed that it has been referred to a prosecutor who handles sex offenses.
And the local officials? This reporter went to the city hall in San Carlos to interview the representante in El Espino, but as it turned out Antonio Pope and three of his fellow San Carlos city council members mostly interviewed this reporter to see what information The Panama News had about the Canadian in the weird castle. None of them appeared to be very pleased about Ronald Hubert Kelly’s presence in their community.
Disreputable notions of respectability
The Panama News
Vol 11. No. 14 July 17 – August 6 2005
by Eric Jackson
These past few days I have been tracking down the most lurid of stories, the tale of a serial pervert ex-priest who looted a Canadian labor union’s pension fund, engaged in a $3 million fraud in the course of a Bahamian bank collapse, then came down here and bought a vast estate on the road to El Valle.
The man should have never been let into this country, but it’s still too early to say if Migracion was at fault. The truth is that Ronald Hubert Kelly is an outstanding symbol of Canadian corruption visited upon Panama.
Immigration authorities here would not have access to the record of his 1979 conviction on 10 counts of sexually abusing teenage boys. That’s because in 1985 the Progressive Conservative of then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney pardoned Kelly and sealed his criminal record, blocking access by such interested parties as Panamanian immigration officials.
Of course, it can be argued that ten counts of a grown man having sexual relations with teenage boys is no big deal. Catholic Bishop Richard McGrath and Judge Gordon Seabright believed that. Two days after Kelly’s arrest, in absolute breach of judicial ethics, Seabright and McGrath met ex parte at the former’s home to discuss the case, and two days after that Seabright gave Kelly a suspended sentence. When prosecutors appealed, a three-judge panel turned them down, holding that just because he molested boys between the ages of 13 and 17 made Kelly “no criminal in the common sense of the word.” And the archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal G. Emmett Carter, didn’t think it was such a big deal either. He made Kelly the main manager of the archdiocese’s financial affairs.
After being the beneficiary of the conservatives’ pardon granting largesse, and after he quit the priesthood in 1990, Kelly’s now crashed career as a real estate tycoon was given a boost by Ontario’s premier of the time, Bob Rae, a right wing member of Canada’s left wing New Democratic Party. Then Kelly was all buddy buddy with the former Liberal Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, hosting a benefit for him at one of his Toronto hotels.
Then in the Bahamas, Kelly used other people’s money to buy and renovate the historic Colonial Hotel, turning it into the hot spot for the rich, famous and powerful — with whom he hobnobbed before the hotel went bust and he moved on to Panama.
Kelly then got into Panama during the years of the Moscoso kleptocracy. The other day I noticed the tattered Arnulfista flag still flying in front of his place.
He also started to hang out around the Canadian Association here. Sadly, I am told that certain members of the group were most impressed by the man’s displays of wealth.
Let me not bad-mouth Canada or Canadians by alleging that there is something especially wrong with them. When now incarcerated “offshore asset protection guru” Marc Harris and his circle of thugs hung out around various institutions of the American community here, purported community leaders were ever so impressed by the money these hoodlums flashed around. The same thing happened when now incarcerated Georgia swindler Tom McMurrain and his entourage came to town.
And what can I say about the Panamanian public officials who were impressed by Harris, McMurrain or now Kelly? The old hippie in me brings a Frank Zappa tune immediately to mind — “Plastic People.”
But really, it reminds me more than anything of the circumstances surrounding the last several times I was tear gassed, in the course of covering the recent Seguro Social protests.
To most Panamanian politicians, the person who steals millions from somebody’s pension fund or life’s savings is a big hero, somebody to look up to and respect. That’s why the only labor leaders willing to trust the government when it plans to invest a half-billion dollars from the Social Security Fund in private businesses are the racketeers. That’s why the government and the labor movement are so far apart in the talks on what to do about Seguro.
The bottom line is that there are far too many people in this world — in Panama, in the United States, in the Bahamas, in Canada and elsewhere — who cling to disreputable notions of what and whom they should respect. It becomes truly disastrous when people who think like that gain control over governments, as they frequently do.
Roman Corporation Announces Changes to the Board http://www.freedominion.com.pa/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=1175614
www.cdn-news.com/news/releases (this link is now dead)
Published on: 7/22/2005 Last Visited: 7/23/2005
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(CCNMatthews – July 22, 2005) – Roman Corporation Limited (TSX:RMN) announced today that Ronald Kelly, a director of the corporation, has resigned for personal reasons. Mr. Kelly was originally elected to the board in June of 2000. Helen Roman-Barber, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Roman Corporation said “We thank Ron for his service and contributions to the Company.”
Excerpt from The Nassau Institute – Advocating Free Markets
20 July 2005
After Canadian regulators panned a union pension fund for making “imprudent” investments in Bahamian hotels during the 1990s, a team of development consultants is deciding the future of two landmark properties on New Providence.
The Ontario Financial Services Commission recently cited poor investment decisions and potential conflicts of interest by the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan – one of the largest private-sector funds in Canada.
The CCWIPP manages a billion dollars in assets on behalf of more than 180,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. And after regulators urged the fund to conduct a “complete, independent due diligence review” of it’s Bahamian interests, big changes are in the works, sources say.
Neither the British Colonial Hilton nor the South Ocean Beach Resort has so far earned a return on investment for the beleaguered Canadian pension fund – which assumed full liability for the properties after the owner defaulted five years ago. But a Coral Gables consulting firm called Allen & Co has reportedly been working on an “exit strategy” for the fund.
Larry Smith – Tough Call
The Sins of the Father
The fund’s Bahamian investments were part of a multi-million-dollar lending spree to a former priest named Ronald Hubert Kelly, who had remade himself into one of Canada’s top real estate tycoons in only a few short years.
Kelly is an interesting story in his own right. As a small town parish priest, he pleaded guilty in 1979 to indecently assaulting five boys, was pardoned a few years later and went on to become a top aide to Toronto’s Cardinal, Emmet Carter.
He left the priesthood in 1990 and launched a meteoric career as a real estate developer. Risking his life savings to pull together enough financing to buy a bankrupt Toronto hotel, he went on to buy more properties and eventually began rubbing shoulders with Canada’s business and political elite.
Kelly’s company, RHK Capital, acquired malls, hotels and office buildings across Canada and became the pension fund’s biggest investment partner. According to the Toronto Star, the CCWIPP bankrolled Kelly’s early hotel acquisitions and the union gained new members in return. By the time they parted ways a few years ago, the fund had invested over $200 million in Kelly’s projects.
High on the list was the $90 million acquisition and redevelopment of the landmark British Colonial Hotel in Nassau, which Kelly bought in 1997. The following year he borrowed more pension fund money to buy the bankrupt South Ocean Beach Resort for $18 million.
Former finance minister Sir William Allen recalls that the government was pleased when contact was first made with Kelly on the British Colonial project: “At the time we were keen to get foreign investment and the BC was seen as a possible catalyst for the redevelopment of the city, which was even more depressing then than it is today…But it seemed to me that the critical mass required by the South Ocean project was never contemplated by RHK Capital.”
According to a former local banker, “The BC project had a very positive impact on the Bahamas. There are many reasons why it was not a roaring success, but most relate to the country and the way it frustrates developers in doing business. Kelly actually made a contribution and did not benefit personally.”
The ‘New’ Colonial Hotel
The British Colonial was built in 1922 by the Munson Steamship Line, with the help of a government loan. For years it was the centre of Nassau’s social life, and was owned by the Oakes family for more than half a century. But by the mid-1990s it was almost derelict, giving rise to fears of demolition. The main building had been mothballed for years while the newer wing – where BISX is today – was operated as a Best Western motel.
RHK Capital took over in 1997, planning to invest $40 million to fix the hotel and build adjacent condos and a marina. It took two years of painstaking work to restore the BC to its former glory. And in early December, 1999 Ron Kelly hosted government leaders and VIP’s (including his former boss, the Cardinal of Toronto) to a lavish opening party. It was a glittering affair, made even more so by the knowledge that the restoration had ended up costing over $90 million.
“The resurgence of the British Colonial symbolises the resurgence of the Bahamas,” Mr Kelly told the assembled high and mighty at the opening event. “The BC is the heart and soul of this country…and the whole concept was to preserve the history and integrity of the building. It is one of the big names in the global hotel market.”
But even before the restoration ended, Kelly had run into financial problems. When he defaulted on his loan in July, 2000, the CCWIPP – through a subsidiary – stepped in to take over. It has since met all obligations and maintained the hotel at a high standard, despite not receiving “a single dollar” from the business over five years.
According to a recent report, the pension fund “maintains a long-term view of its investments (and) has not abandoned its vision (for) the British Colonial site, which still stands as an intended, although very lonely, catalyst to downtown development and renewal.”
Michael Hooper, the Hilton-appointed general manager, confirmed that the hotel was trading well this year, with 88 per cent average occupancy: “But I can’t speak for the owners.”
Nor could the owners themselves. So Allen & Co spoke for them. According to Chris Allen, the BC’s performance over the past five years was disappointing: “This year Hilton has done well, but the owners have not received a single dollar in fees since the hotel reopened. The contract still has a ways to go, but they will have to perform. The offices have good tenants and are doing exceptionally well.”
He told Tough Call that the fund’s restructuring of its investments includes an agreement with a “two billion dollar New York company” to build an international yacht club and marina complex plus condos on land to the west of the hotel – as had originally been planned by RHK Capital.
“We should be able to apply to the government for a heads of agreement on this $150 million project within 30 days,” he said. “Davis & Davis are the lawyers.”
March 20, 1990 18.44 EST
ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP)
A Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually assaulting five boys in 1979 felt his victims were more to blame than he was, an RCMP officer told the Hughes inquiry Tuesday.
Const. Murray Urquhart testified that Rev. Ronald Kelly — who was a parish priest in Piccadilly, Nfld., when he was arrested in May 1979 — maintained he didn’t use violence and one youth was particularly forceful with him.
“He wouldn’t come out and say that he was totally responsible for his actions,” Urquhart said, adding the priest appeared to assume he could molest boys and get away with it.
“He was even indicating that the youths were more responsible in their actions than he was.”
Kelly pleaded guilty in 1979 to 10 charges involving five boys aged 13 to 17. He received a suspended sentence in a court proceeding some Hughes inquiry witnesses have described as a sham.
Inquiry head Samuel Hughes is examining why police investigated complaints in 1975 of physical and sexual abuse of boys by Christian Brothers at Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s, Nfld., yet no charges were laid until a 1982 investigation led to conviction of one brother.
When orphanage residents went public last year, nine more brothers and former brothers were charged.
The decision to send Kelly to an Ontario treatment centre was made before he appeared before Judge Gordon Seabright, Urquhart said.
The Mountie also said Seabright was in contact with defence lawyers while Kelly was before the courts and Seabright demanded to know later that year why the sentence he imposed was being appealed as too lenient.
Seabright retired as a judge last year.
The Crown’s appeal in November 1979 was denied by three judges who said Kelly was “no criminal in the common sense of the word.”
Many parents were unaware of the crimes until the RCMP investigation and some victims refused to discuss it with their parents for fear they would not be believed, said Urquhart, who now works at Shelburne, N.S.
“He’d done a lot of good for the community,” Urquhart said of the priest. “He was trusted.”
The inquiry has been told Kelly paid a boy $5 to perform oral sex at his desk and showed up drunk at a the home of a parishioner who served drinks, put Kelly to bed and delivered a boy with whom he performed sex.
Sgt. Gerald Tabor, who headed the RCMP Piccadilly office at the time, told the inquiry it was a “complete oversight” that social workers weren’t informed about Kelly’s crimes as required.
Tabor said he did not know he was supposed to tell social workers because the RCMP office had just opened months before and all procedural manuals had not arrived yet.
Brother Gabriel McHugh, the head of the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic lay order, has testified in an earlier court case that a deal was reached with a former deputy justice minister, who agreed no charges would be laid if brothers suspected of abuse were moved out of Newfoundland.
One unanswered question for the Hughes inquiry is whether T. Alex Hickman, who was justice minister in 1975, knew about a coverup of the Mount Cashel abuse.
Hickman, now Newfoundland’s chief justice, is expected to testify within the next week.
March 20, 1990 10.41 EST
By Beth Gorham
ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP)
A Newfoundland judge who handed a suspended sentence to a priest on 10 charges of child sex-abuse in 1979 demanded to know why the sentence was being appealed, an RCMP officer told an inquiry today.
Const. Murray Urquhart told the probe Judge Gordon Seabright asked him if he was aware that parents were circulating a petition in Piccadilly, Nfld., supporting Rev. Ronald Kelly.
“He felt that Father Kelly had an alcohol problem and a drug problem,” said Urquhart, who was one of two officers to investigate complaints against the parish priest.
“He felt the man was sick and had these problems.”
Kelly was arrested on May 10, 1979, after complaints from five Piccadilly teens, aged 13 to 17. He received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to 10 counts.
Three Appeal Court judges refused an appeal for a stiffer penalty in November 1979, saying Kelly was “no criminal in the common sense of the word.”
The inquiry, which is probing abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s, heard from witnesses last week who said Kelly appeared to assume that his vocation licensed him to molest young boys.
The probe also heard that Seabright was in continuous contact with Kelly’s defence lawyers during the four days it took to deal with him in the courts. The judge also visited Bishop Richard McGrath at his home before sentencing the priest.
WANTED HIM BACK
Urquhart, who investigated the case from Corner Brook, Nfld., said most residents in nearby Piccadilly didn’t know about the crimes Kelly committed when about 600 signed a petition demanding he be reinstated at the parish on the west coast of Newfoundland.
Kelly was sent to a treatment centre in Aurora, Ont., on May 15, 1979 — the day he was sentenced.
Most parents were also unaware of the crimes until the investigation began, said Urquhart, who is now in Shelburne, N.S. He added that several teens told him they didn’t talk about the abuse because they feared their parents wouldn’t believe them.
“He was well thought of,” the officer said of the priest. “He’d done a lot of good for the community. He was trusted.”
Testimony at the inquiry has shown Kelly paid a boy $5 to perform oral sex at his desk. He also showed up drunk at a parishioner’s house, was served drinks, put to bed and delivered a boy with whom he performed sex.
Two boys who had barricaded their bedroom door to prevent Kelly from entering their room were ordered to open it by their mother when he came banging on the door, the inquiry was told. He then had sex with one of the boys.
The inquiry, conducted by Samuel Hughes, began reviewing abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage last September. Police investigated numerous complaints against Christian Brothers — members of a Roman Catholic lay order who run the orphanage — in St. John’s beginning in 1975.
No charges were laid until a second investigation in 1982 resulted in the conviction of one brother.
When Mount Cashel residents went public last year, nine more brothers and former brothers were charged.
T. Alex Hickman, then the attorney general and now Newfoundland’s chief justice, has been at the centre of controversy since the head of the Catholic order that ran the orphanage testified a deal was reached with Hickman’s deputy in 1976.
Under the deal, no charges were laid against two Christian Brothers suspected of abuse on condition they leave Newfoundland.
Hickman is expected to appear at the inquiry soon.
Ex-jurist airs ‘suspicions’ about bishop-judge meeting
The Windsor Star
28 February 190
ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – A Roman Catholic bishop visited a magistrate in 1979 to talk about the sentencing of a priest convicted of indecent assault, says a former head of the Newfoundland provincial court.
Cyril Goodyear told an inquiry Tuesday he was disturbed by a meeting in Cornerbrook, Nfld., between the late Richard McGrath, former bishop of western Newfoundland, and Magistrate Gordon Seabright.
GOODYEAR SAID the two men met to discuss the case of Rev. Ronald Kelly, 47, who had been convicted of indecent assaults against males. Kelly was given a suspended sentence and placed on probation for two years.
“In my view it was improper behavior and I thought someone should make that decision of whether it was,” Goodyear testified.
Goodyear’s testimony surprised an inquiry looking into how the justice system responded to child abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s, on the province’s east coast.
The former judge said he met with Seabright in mid-1979 to tell him the meeting would be reviewed by a judicial council. But Goodyear later learned no judicial council existed.
In late 1979, Goodyear said he was made director of public prosecutions and no longer had the legal power to do anything about the meeting.
“He (Seabright) felt that he hadn’t done anything wrong although I had some very serious concerns that while the matter was before him some representative of the church and the defendant came to him,” said Goodyear.
Inquiry lawyer David Day read to the inquiry a 1979 letter by Seabright to Goodyear, explaining that McGrath had contacted him on the case and he had invited the bishop to his home.
Seabright, who retired from the bench last year, said in the letter he discussed the charges with McGrath “to the extent of what was involved and the range of penalties available to me.
“No representation was made to me at any time.”
Day said the Kelly case appears to have influenced how justice officials handled a 1982 charge against Christian Brother David Burton, a member of the Roman Catholic lay order that runs the orphanage.
Burton was convicted of sexual assault against boys in late 1982.
DAY PRODUCED A police report on the Burton case with a note from Goodyear. The note instructed a Crown prosecutor to treat Burton “like everybody else.”
Goodyear said he wrote that note because he was aware of how the clergy had tried to influence the justice system in the past.
“I had learned to be wary of matters involving the clergy,” he testified.
“They were prone to exert whatever influence they might possibly be able to exert in situations where they were having difficulty. ”
Goodyear, who has since retired, also claimed there were other irregularities in the Kelly case that gave him reason to worry. For example, part of the trial was held in private and began early in the morning.
Goodyear said he instructed a prosecutor to appeal Kelly’s sentence but the appeal was dismissed in November 1979.
Headed by retired judge Samuel Hughes, the inquiry wants to know why police received complaints from 26 orphanage boys in 1975 but didn’t lay charges then. Police interviewed another 16 boys in 1982 and charged one brother – Burton.
Another nine brothers and former brothers were charged last year after former residents complained publicly.