Portland Hotel Society's Lavish Expenses Revealed

Dec 19 2017, 10:03 am

Portland Hotel Society, a non profit group that runs Canada’s only supervised safe injection site, has some explaining to do as a financial review and audit has uncovered some very questionable expenses.

The CBC has compiled a list of “questionable expenses” identified by the report:

  • $678.23 for a limousine trip for 11 individuals from Fairmont Pacific Rim to Grouse Mountain and then to a PHS director’s house.
  • $8,657.96  in limousine charges by an executive director during the 2013.
  • $8,323.22 on travel to the UK to look into heroin prescription programs and for other business purposes, including a hotel room costing £478 per night and a £35 charge for flowers.
  • $5,850.20 on travel to Austria to teach harm reduction practices including one night in a luxury king-size room at $549 per night.
  • $3,175.12 on travel to Bristol for business purposes, including one £288-per-night room and one £420-per-night room, and charges relating to alcohol and spa services and £25 on flowers.
  • $1,636.51 at a restaurant for a staff appreciation event.
  • $2,694.95 for the Disney Resort Grand Anaheim for two adults and two children, including a room upgraded to accommodate a director in poor health.
  • $5,950 on Transat Holidays. No receipt or documentation was provided for this transaction.
  • $8,900 was expended on a minibus and driver expenses in the United Kingdom.
  • $917.83 for a staff baby shower.
  • $1,807.68 for a staff Christmas dinner.
  • $7,024.72 paid for a celebration of life for a deceased employee.
  • $1,000 in monthly expenses charged to PHS by the executive directors for use of office space within their personal residence. In addition, improvement expenses such as cabinets were also charged to PHS.
  • $5,832 reimbursed for the purchase of a Danube Cruise made on what appears to be a personal credit card of a PHS director.

Following a provincial government review and audit performed by an accounting firm, leaders of the PHS Community Services Society have stepped aside and a new board will be put in place. They leave behind an organization that is in weak financial shape: it is more than $130,000 into its bank overdraft and drew $1.2-million from lines of credit and a business loan. 

According to the CBC, there were also allegations of the misuse of corporate credit cards and inadequate criminal record checks.

Although the organization is doing some great things in the realm of harm reduction within the troubled neighbourhood, the frivolous spending is of high concern to taxpayers and critics.

Credit: Vancouver Coastal Health