Monday, 26 August 2019

Looking back at the Manitoba Legislature scandal

Someone contacted my about the Manitoba Legislative Building scandal. I've not written about it in any great detail and not many people have.

It was a remarkable story.

By 1913, Kelly and Sons was arguable the top construction firm in the city. Its buildings and infrastructure projects profoundly changed Winnipeg's urban landscape. That year it was awarded the contract to construct the Manitoba legislature building.

In the early phases of construction inspectors and even some of their own sub-contractors became suspicious of the work being done. An investigation took place which unraveled an elaborate scheme to both overbill the government for work and to substitute poorer quality materials. The estimated cost of the fraud was $1.2 million - about $27 million in today's money.

Thomas Kelly fled to the US and was arrested and returned by the FBI. The partially built building was basically dismantled because inspectors didn't trust the workmanship that went into the foundation.

During the trial it was found that Kelly wasn't alone. Much of the money was being funneled back to the ruling Rodmond Roblin conservative party and its cronies. Already scandal plagued, this led to the fall of the government.

I directed the person who contacted me to the most detailed account of the scandal that I knew of. it is the four part series written by Bruce Cherney in the Real Estate News a few years back. I thought others might find the links interesting as well:


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