A public relations and crisis advisor for the College Employer Council, David Scott, has a past that includes representing at least one major investor scam that he attempted to delete; and now, as a council representative, he now sits on the other side of the table from the Ontario college faculty union.
The Council is a corporation that is designed to deal fairly with stakeholders and stand independent of the government.
Negotiations fell through between the CEC and the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union that represent college faculty on Oct 16.
Scott represented New Life Capital Corporation as a client for several years, and still had them named as a “select client” on his website as of 2013, while he was also working as a consultant for both the College Compensation and Appointments Council and the Ontario government.
New Life was a Toronto-based investment firm that turned out to be a scam perpetrated by its owners, Canadian married couple Laddy Jeffery Pogachar and Paola Lombardi.
Pochachar and Lombardi ran the scam from 2005 to 2008, when the Ontario Securities Commission filed allegations of fraud against the couple and New Life Capital.
The OSC accused the couple and their company of engaging in “acts, practices, or courses of conducts”.
The commission says “they knew or reasonably ought to have known they perpetrated a fraud on investors.”
New Life Capital and connected companies sold units to over 600 mostly Canadian investors and paid out what they claimed was an 8% annual dividend of $197,570.60.
However, “without any profits or earnings, it was not possible for NLI to declare or pay a legitimate dividend,” said the commission in 2008.
“Payments to shareholders have been, instead, an undisclosed return of capital.”
An investigation carried out by OSC from Jan 1 of 2007 to Jan 31 of the following year found that just short of $700,000 of investor money was paid as loans to the couple Pogachar and Lombardi.
The money was used to start covering a credit card debt of some $900,000 with only $300,000 of the total sum spent on “business purposes”.
The allegations from the commission also say that New Life and its companies made “misleading” or false statements about operations and updates, traded securities without registering, and “distributed the securities with a prospectus.”
The couple had transferred over $6.5 million into a “Lexington Consulting Inc” which they had acquired in August 2005.
Scott worked as a spokesman for the corrupt firm, saying in 2008 that the OSC allegations were based on a “misunderstanding”, according to the National Post.
Scott said New Life had been, and would continue to be professional and compliant with authorities.
“New Life has always worked cooperatively with the OSC and we certainly will in the future to clear up this matter at the earliest possible opportunity,” Scott said, according to the Post.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police started an investigation in February of 2010 into the allegations and in 2013 charged them with fraud, theft, possession of property obtained by crime and laundering the proceeds of crime in September 2013.
In 2011, the OSC defined the allegations against the couple and ordered them to pay penalties of $750,000 per person, investigation losses of $258,000 and $21.9 million in “disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.”
Scott had New Life listed as a “select client” on the website for his now-defunct business, David Scott Communications, until November of 2013, right next to the logos of the College Compensation and Appointments Council and the Government of Ontario – two other clients of his firm.
Scott’s LinkedIn does also not show his time at the firm working for New Life Capital.
In 2014, the founders of New Life Capital apparently fled for Central America, possibly the Bahamas, with some $7 million in scam profits, according to the RCMP’s financial crimes unit.
David Scott had no comment on the article after a request by the Post. A request for comment was also sent to OPSEU negotiating chair JP Hornick via email.
Exclusive: Guelph-Humber will not be moving as strategic plan is developed
There are no plans to move the university as a new strategic plan is developed.
The University of Guelph told The Avro Post on Friday that there are no plans to physically relocate the University of Guelph-Humber “at this time” amid an ongoing process to develop a new strategic plan expected to be completed by the spring.
After a report revealed that last year that Guelph-Humber’s sole building at Humber College’s North Campus was over capacity and there were unverified rumours that the university would be moved, questions arose over its future.
Guelph-Humber was established in 2002 through a partnership between the University of Guelph and Humber College.
Officials pointed to a new webpage dedicated to bringing together all resources to do with the partnership between Guelph and Humber including an operational review undertaken during the fall of 2017.
There has not been a new strategic plan since the governing framework of Guelph-Humber was written in 1999 to establish the university and so a year-long process was launched last May to make a new plan, according to a press release from the presidents of Guelph and Humber.
Guelph-Humber graduates receive a bachelor’s degree from Guelph and a college diploma from Humber. Guelph-Humber students have access to many of the supports provided by Humber and are also members of the IGNITE student union. ■
IGNITE discounted Frosh tickets due to underselling
A staffer source speaks to The Avro Post.
IGNITE earlier this week released a 50 per cent off discount code for Frosh previously reserved for those that opted in and a staffer with the student union told The Avro Post on the condition of anonymity that the move was made because tickets were underselling.
The source was unable to reveal how many tickets had been sold so far, only that the discount was put in place because the mark was not hit. Frosh, a paint party taking place this Saturday evening at Woodbine Racetrack, differs from previous years where musical talent was the feature.
The staffer, based at Lakeshore Campus, told The Post that the student union is also concerned about the upcoming Wild ‘N Out event taking place in October. When the MTV show visited Humber College last year, the event was full and potentially sold out.
The source also expressed concern for IGNITE’s monthly contest where the student union gives away $1,000 in a draw, questioning why the student union would give away thousands of dollars for nine months if they are operating on a potentially smaller budget.
For now, it is unclear why Frosh would be underselling. In recent years, Frosh has been busy and bustling, however, the change from musical talent to a paint party could have come into play for some students. IGNITE has also been using paid advertisements on social media to promote the event.
The Student Choice Initiative has created a split between students who remained opted in to certain IGNITE fees and those that have chosen to opt out. Events like Frosh show that there will be a new standard in a first-come, first-serve basis, giving exclusives to financial supporters.
The first indication of this came with the Frosh party kits. The first 100 students who bought tickets and had remained opted in to the Events and Opportunities Fee were eligible for the kits. It is expected that there will be more of these exclusives over the course of the academic year.
Sources told The Post on Saturday that club executives would have to remain opted in to the Leadership and Development Fee to keep their positions. The move could set a precedent for future leadership opportunities such as IGNITE elections.
Many of the changes will likely become clear with the Special Meeting of the Members on Oct. 16 where a new constitution is expected to be ratified by students and questioned answered in a press conference-style event in the Humber College Student Centre at North Campus.
The Avro Post will reach out for comment from IGNITE. ■
Guelph-Humber professor unreachable after giving failing grades
An investigation by The Avro Post.
SPECIAL REPORT ⓘ
Diego Williams, a third year Media Business student at the University of Guelph-Humber, has been unable to acquire a breakdown of his grades from a spring course because the professor has been unreachable by both Williams and the school, The Avro Post has learned.
Williams, and at least three other students who came forward to The Avro Post, received failing grades from Professor Thomas Borzecki in his AHSS*3080 Web Design class of Winter 2018, but follow-ups were ignored.
Borzecki is a professor at both Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, according to his LinkedIn work history, and has faculty email addresses for both institutions, to which students sent messages.
Williams returned to Guelph-Humber in September determined to sort out what he said was a mistake, as he had excelled in the class, and went to academic advisor Andrea Campea to challenge the 21 per cent final mark.
Williams admitted that he was unaware the deadline for appealing a final mark received in the spring semester was May 18, but still wanted to know how Borzecki came to the conclusion of a failing grade.
Most professors use Courselink, a service that allows students to submit assignments digitally and also is where the results of projects and examinations will be posted, usually with a breakdown and comments.
However, Borzecki took student submissions via his professional website at ThomasBorzecki.ca, thus no one at Guelph-Humber could access a record of submissions or results.
Campea advised Williams to reach out to Borzecki so that the student could get a transcript from his spring professor so that movement could be made in terms of obtaining a breakdown of what occurred.
When Williams could not get a hold of Borzecki, despite repeated attempts through his Gryph Mail and Humber College faculty email, Campea talked to her superior, Registrar Grant Kerr.
According to Williams, Campea told him that Mr. Kerr said there was nothing the University of Guelph-Humber could do to get a hold of Borzecki, leaving Williams disenfranchised with the school.
Diego Williams was not alone in the marking issues and communication struggles with Borzecki, who did not respond to a request for comment from The Avro Post submitted on his professional website.
Another student in Borzecki’s Web Design course in the winter 2018 semester, whose identity The Avro Post has agreed to keep anonymous due to concerns of academic backlash, said that she was ignored by the professor when she attempted to follow up after he only graded half of her final assignment.
The second student, who is in Media Studies, received a final grade of 38, and told the Post: “I only received a mark for the photoshop portion of the assignment but nothing for the coding portion.”
She told the Post about two unverified cases where her friends were in similar circumstances with Borzecki giving them low grades and ignoring follow-up’s, however, one of them got it fixed via her academic advisor.
Another student came forward to The Avro Post after this story was published and said that he also was not marked for the photoshop portion of the final project, which combines coding and graphic design elements.
A fourth anonymous student from Web Design Winter 2018 said she received a 30 per cent final grade, a mark she believes was very low and inconsistent from her usual academic standing.
She followed up with Borzecki on April 15 in an email seen by The Avro Post, but there was no response, despite his replies to two previous emails she had sent asking questions during the semester.
Borzecki was still employed at Humber College in September, according to his LinkedIn profile, and The Avro Post was able to verify that he is listed to teach at least one course next semester, for Winter 2019.
The Avro Post gave the University of Guelph-Humber and Thomas Borzecki a day and a half to respond to emails sent to multiple addresses.
Editor’s Note: The identities of the three separate cases were verified by The Avro Post with student email addresses and other documents. All effort was given to making sure Thomas Borzecki was reached via email as there was no phone number listed on his professional website.
If you have had a similar experience with Thomas Borzecki or any professor, please reach out via our secure Contact page.
Image of the University of Guelph Humber from The Avro Post. ■
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