RCMP investigates bingo foundation's financial records

We're innocent, Wisintainer says


Police investigating the financial records of the Nunavut Crime Prevention Fundraising Foundation might find sloppy record-keeping, but no crime, says a former employee.

Jay Wisintainer said Tuesday the group, which used to run a TV bingo operation in Iqaluit, will cooperate with an RCMP probe into its books because it's done nothing wrong.

"It's really not a police matter. Basically all we're guilty of is messy bookkeeping," he told Nunatsiaq News.

Wisintainer said the foundation had its books audited by Mackay Landau every six months, from 2001 until the government rejected the foundation's last set of books, along with its application for a bingo licence renewal.

He said in May the GN contracted a Yellowknife company to do a separate audit.

Wisintainer said the GN objected to salaries being paid to bingo workers out of proceeds from the games. But he claims the territorial rules governing bingo allow groups to pay up to 10 per cent of earnings to people who run bingos.

A copy of Nunavut's Lotteries Act says "a licence holder may employ the services of a third party to post and verify the point totals of entrants and may pay the third party a reasonable fee for those services."

Sgt. Allan Hearn of the Nunavut RCMP said the Department of Community and Government Services requested that police investigate the foundation's books and delivered documents to them on July 4. He would not say how much material police received or what they've been asked to look for. No charges have been laid in connection with the investigation.

The foundation ran TV bingos until last spring, when the Department of Community and Government Services stopped issuing lottery licenses to the group.

The bingo proceeds funded the Iqaluit chapter of the John Howard Society to the tune of $150,000 to $200,000 a year, Wisintainer said. The foundation has also funded cultural programs and the city's soup kitchen.

The John Howard Society building in downtown Iqaluit is now up for sale and society members have quit, he said.

No one from CGS responded to requests for an interview.

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