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Political rival claims Vancouver mayor gave HootSuite too sweet a deal

HootSuite employees in their Vancouver-based office. Image courtesy of HootSuite

Cedar Party mayoral candidate Glen Chernen has launched a civil lawsuit against Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, claiming an alleged conflict of interest involving a real estate deal between the city and digital media company HootSuite.

Chernen, who filed the lawsuit Friday in B.C. Supreme Court with other petitioners, told Global News Robertson failed to disclose a direct or indirect financial interest in the June 2012 deal.

Last year, HootSuite moved into the building at 5 East 8th Ave., which was formerly used by the Vancouver Police Department.

Chernen wants a judge to kick Robertson out of office and to declare the mayor’s position as vacant. 

“The problem is that [HootSuite] has a tight relationship with Gregor and they were given a very wonderful deal, a deal that… nobody else had an opportunity to obtain,” Chernen said. “It most definitely puts other businesses at a disadvantage.”
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Robertson said in a statement he was disappointed by the allegations.

“It’s disappointing to see these bizarre claims being made. As Mayor, I’m very proud of the strong local tech companies that are investing in Vancouver, and City Hall will continue to support the new jobs they are creating in our city’s growing economy,” the statement said. 

HootSuite spokesperson Sandy Pell said in a written statement the company believes the transaction was done at fair market value.

“All the details of their lease from the city can be found in the public transaction documents,” the statement said. 

 

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