By Adrian Duyzer
Published May 03, 2012
I'm struggling to understand why the City has approved $1.2 million in loans and grants for Denis Vranich, given his history as a convicted sex offender.
I look forward to comment by the planning and economic development committee that approved the funding. I'm sure they had their reasons. Probably a principal one is the fact the building is crumbling. Another is that construction fencing was put up a few months ago, closing the sidewalk and blocking one lane of King Street, but there has been no visible progress in terms of doing anything with the building.
Given that our traffic engineers relentlessly give primacy to traffic flow over all other downtown concerns, perhaps it was blocking the King Street lane that really greased the wheels for the loan and grant. Vranich took one of our precious lanes hostage, and we caved.
The state of the building is unquestionably a disgrace, and something had to be done about it. No one can fault anyone at the City for wanting to fix the situation.
But what I'm really struggling with is that this guy is a convicted sex offender. He's a criminal and quite frankly, he's a slimeball. In addition to sexually assaulting one of his employees, he's also been convicted of driving while impaired and in 2001, "Vranich was ordered to pay more than $85,000 in fines and surcharges after being convicted on three counts of prostitution-related offences and three charges of falsifying immigration records" according to the Spec article I linked to above.
I spent a few minutes browsing job postings on the City's HR site. I found one for a housekeeping aide (I'd link to it, but for whatever reason, links on this site don't work properly). Part of the job description:
Note: As a condition of employment, the successful applicant(s) will be required to obtain a satisfactory Criminal Reference Check or Vulnerable Sector Screening, at their own expense, prior to beginning work in this position.
Nope, Denis couldn't get that job, which pays $19 to $21/hour. In fact, with his criminal history, he likely wouldn't be eligible for many of the jobs available through the City. But he's eligible for $1.2 million, $333,000 of which is a grant?