Once again we present the work of Vivian Krause (Twitter: @FairQuestions) whose latest Vancouver Sun op/ed "The American attempt to kill B.C.’s salmon farms" dominates the opinion pages. We’ve asked Vivian to update us on her questions to Joel Solomon, Tides Canada and the money behind Vision Vancouver. What follows are the fruits of her research. Despite sending this letter to Solomon several weeks ago, Vivian has yet to receive a response from Solomon.
To: Mr. Joel Solomon, President of the Endswell Foundation
RE: The Endswell Foundation
The campaign against Alberta oil and the campaign for a federal ban on oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s north coast, is a campaign against one of Canada’s most important industries and exports. The outcome of this campaign will affect Canada for years into the future so its fair for Canadians to inquire about who’s funding this campaign, and why.
According to my research that has been published in the Financial Post and the Vancouver Sun, the U.S. Tides Foundation and Tides Canada have funded 36 organizations that campaign against Alberta oil.
As far as I can tell, one of the single, largest Canadian donors to Tides Canada has been the Endswell Foundation ("Endswell") which has had total expenditures of $28 million over the past ten years, according to Canadian tax returns. U.S. tax returns show that since 1997, Endswell has granted $12 million to Tides Canada. Of that, $8.7 million was granted since 2003. That accounted for 99 percent of the total funds granted by Endswell since 2003.
The Dogwood Initiative runs NO TANKERS, a campaign for a federally-legislated ban on tanker traffic. This campaign only seeks a ban against tanker traffic on B.C.’s north coast, not on the south coast. As such, this isn’t really a tanker ban. This is more like a trade ban that would block oil exports to Asia and land-lock Alberta oil within North America. This would mean that the U.S. would continue to be Canada’s only big customer for our oil. According to The Dogwood Initiative, its supporters include Tides USA (the "Tar Sands Fund"), Tides Canada and the Endswell Foundation.
Considering the importance of Endswell as a funder of both Tides Canada and the Dogwood Initiative, I believe that its fair to inquire about the money behind the Endswell Foundation. Further reasons for my inquiries are given here.
The names of the companies in which Endswell had corporate bonds in the late 1990s are plain to see from U.S. tax returns. In contrast, the names of the corporate stocks in which Endswell has had investments since 2000 do not indicate the company or the industry to which these investments pertain. Considering that Endswell had early investments in gas companies and a pipeline company, it seems fair to inquire as to whether Endswell has had investments in these industries since 2000. If Endswell and its funders have no interests in the oil and gas industry, Endswell should have no hesitation to say so.
1. The Origin of the Assets of the Endswell Foundation
Note: click graphs for large versions, hit esc to minimize
Some Vancouver media have described you, Mr. Solomon, as a "millionaire philanthropist," as "a modest version of the later generation of the Kennedy/Rothschild/Rockefeller class" and as "a member of the inherited wealth club." In August of 2010, a Vancouver Sun journalist reported, "Joel Solomon and his friend Carol Newell are multimillionaire philanthropists who have given away or invested their money (italics added) in sustainable organizations, in an effort to make the world a better place." Another Vancouver writer reported, " Joel Solomon has put his millions (italics added) into new, business-first socialism."
According to U.S. tax returns, since 1997 the Endswell Foundation has paid a total of $979,527 to Joel Solomon, Joel Solomon Co. and "JSCO." The salary reportedly paid to Joel Solomon, as president of the Endswell Foundation, increased from $144,142 in 2006 to $186,189 in 2008.
My questions are:
- Are you the millionaire philanthropist behind the Endswell Foundation, as the media has reported, or are you a paid employee who has received nearly $1 million from the Endswell Foundation, as indicated in U.S. tax returns, or perhaps both?
- Tides Canada says that Carol Newell founded Tides Canada and "placed" $60 million in various organizations and businesses. Endswell says that Carol Newell "founded" Endswell. Was part of the $60 million that Carol Newell "placed" used to start the Endswell Foundation? If so, was that Carol Newell’s own money or was that money "placed" by her on behalf of others?
- Back in 1997, Endswell received a gift of $3.4 million with the stipulation that it could not be spent for 10 years. Where did that money originate?
- From 2008 to 2009, the assets of the Endswell Foundation went from $10.9 million to $504,801, according to publicly available Canadian tax returns. What happened?
2. Corporate Bonds and Stocks
- In 1997, 1998 and 1999, Endswell reported that it had corporate bonds in 20 companies. Of those 20 companies, three were gas companies: B.C. Gas, Consumers Gas Ltd. and Nova Gas Transmission. According to on-line information from TransCanada, Nova Gas Transmission is a wholly owned subsidiary of TransCanada which owns the Keystone pipeline that began operations in June of 2010. In 1997 and 1998, Endswell also reported about $400,00 in corporate bonds named "Trans Quebec Maritimes." Were these bonds part of TransCanada?
- In 1997, 1998 and 1999, Endswell had about $400,000 in corporate bonds named TIDES. Were these bonds affiliated with the U.S. Tides Foundation or with Tides Canada Foundation? In what industry are or were the TIDES corporate bonds that Endswell held?
- Since 2000, in which industries and companies are the Genus and Real Assets stock that Endswell has investments? Was any of this stock in companies in the oil and gas industry? According to U.S. tax returns filed by Endswell, the ending book value of Endswell’s total corporate stocks went from $13.4 million in 2003 to $51,973 in 2009.
- What is the origin of the $2.2 million that Endswell received as "management fees" and "other income" between 2001 and 2009?"
- In addition to the $75,000 that Endswell was paid by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, has the Endswell Foundation received funds from any other USA foundations, either directly or indirectly?
4. Grants to Tides Canada for $12 million
According to my calculations based on U.S. tax returns, since 1997 Endswell has made grants for a total of approximately $17 million. Of that about $12.6 million was granted to Tides Canada and a small number of organizations that are closely affiliated with Tides Canada.
- To which organizations did Tides Canada re-grant the $12.6 million from the Endswell Foundation, and for what purpose?
- Did any of the $12.6 million that was granted to Tides Canada end up in the long-term investments of Tides Canada – which increased from $1.4 million in 2003, to $20.2 million in 2009, according to Canadian tax returns?
5. The $11.4 Million Dollar Question
Since 2003, fully 99 percent of the total funds granted by Endswell went to Tides Canada. While virtually no grants at all were made to any organization except Tides Canada, Endswell reported expenditures of $11.4 million. Expenditures increased markedly even as Endswell virtually stopped grant-making to all organizations other than Tides Canada (see figure below). Total yearly expenditures on overhead (expenditures other than grants) almost doubled from nearly $1 million in 2003 to nearly $2 million in 2007. While $11.4 million was spent on overhead, the amount that was granted to Tides Canada over the same period, was only $8.7 million, according to my calculations.
Since the Chairman of the Board, the president and the treasurer of the Endswell Foundation are also intimately involved with Tides Canada – and hold almost the same positions in both charities – I would have thought that Endswell would have been able to make $8.7 million worth of grants to Tides Canada without having to spend $11.4 million in the process. Indeed, according to publicly available information from Revenue Canada, the treasurer of the Endswell Foundation, the treasurer of Tides Canada Foundation and the treasurer of Tides Canada Initiatives Society is the same person: James Morrisey.
Why did Endswell need to pay $11.4 million for expenses while it was simply transferring money to Tides Canada? This is what I am referring to as the $11.4 million dollar question.
From 2003 to 2008, Endswell’s annual office expenses increased from $172,250 to $765,395. Why did office expenses increase so sharply? Why did Endswell even need an office during the years when Endswell made no grants at all to any organizations other than Tides Canada? And what happened in 2009? Were office expenses reported as "other expenses?" Why did Endswell spend $765,395 on office space and expenses in 2008, the same year that it seems to have begun to shut down?
Why did Endswell’s expenditures on staff increase markedly even as Endswell wasn’t making any grants to any organizations other than Tides Canada? During 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009 when Endswell staff made not one single grant to any organization other than to Tides Canada, what were the staff doing?
6. Increases in Expenditures Since 2004
The year 2004 is when the William & Flora Hewelett Foundation paid Tides Canada $70,000 "to develop a strategic plan to address the oil and gas industry in British Columbia." Since then, Hewlett has paid $12 million to various organizations – including Tides Canada and Tides USA – to address the oil and gas industry in Canada. On top of that, Hewlett has paid $17 million for the Great Bear Rainforest and other projects in Canada.
Does the increase in the spending of the Endswell Foundation have anything to do with the implementation of the Hewlett/Tides Canada plan to address B.C.’s oil and gas industry, or is it just a coincidence that after 2004, office expenditures, staff-related costs, salaries of senior management and professional and consulting fees all increased substantially?
7. Charitable Programs and Programme Support
Who received the $3.3 million that Endswell reported to the I.R.S. that Endswell spent on "grantee support and education, and program support?" Was this money paid to Tides Canada – the organization that seems to have been virtually the only grantee of the Endswell Foundation since 2003?
What are the charitable programs that Endswell was conducting while it made no grants at all to any organization except Tides Canada?
How much support has the Endswell Foundation granted to the Dogwood Initiative?
8. Professional & Consulting Fees
Since 2003, while 99 percent of grant funding went to Tides Canada, why did Endswell need to spend $2.3 million for professional and consulting services? Why did the amounts paid to these companies increase significantly after 2004?
For what type of ”consulting services” did Endswell pay Interdependent Investments Ltd., Candid and Real Assets? For Candid which was paid $529,531, I couldn’t find a B.C. Company Summary, a web-site, or any other on-line information.
When Interdependent Investments Ltd. made campaign contributions for $6,000 to Vision Vancouver, did any of this money originate from the Endswell Foundation?
10. Renewal Partners
Why did Endswell pay $2.3 million (2004-2009) to individuals who are on staff at the "investment firm," Renewal Partners? According to U.S. tax returns, the salaries paid to some of these individuals – including Joel Solomon and Martha Burton – seem to have doubled or tripled over a few years.
According to the Vancouver Sun’s database, Renewal Partners contributed $70,469 and Strategic Communications contributed $83,314 to Vision Vancouver and Mayor Gregor Robertson’s 2008 mayor campaign. Until recently re-writing its web-site, Strategic Communications said that it is a "partner" of Renewal Partners. Strategic Communications also contributed nearly $34,000 to the N.D.P (2005-2007). For a small company, this seems like a lot to me. Would these substantial campaign contributions have been feasible if the Endswell Foundation hadn’t been paying the salaries of Renewal Partners – to the tune of $2.3 million since 2004?
Renewal Partners says that it has invested in 75 companies. At the web-site of Renewal Partners, I could only find the names of 26 companies. As far as I can see, Renewal Partners has invested in more companies in the United States (New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Colorado and California) than in Vancouver. Why so much "investment" in the United States?
As I have said before, if I have presented anything that is factually incorrect, of if I have missed any important points, please let me know.
Please read: Copyright Notice & Disclaimer. All dollar figures are U.S. dollars unless noted. For more of Vivian’s research visit www.Fair-Questions.com.