Friday, December 13, 2013

The Senator who flew too close to the sun!

Suspended senator Pamela Wallin sells New York condo

Josh Wingrove and Rick Cash
Friday, December 13, 2013

Pamela Wallin speaks with the media as she leaves the Senate in Ottawa on November 5, 2013. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Having repaid $152,000 in Senate expense claims and interest, suspended senator Pamela Wallin has sold her New York condo after it spent five months on the market.

An online real estate listing for the 500-square-foot studio unit says the unit sold December 7, listing the final price as $345,000, or $34,000 less than she bought it for eight years ago.

The unit had been listed for $349,000 on June 25, as a Deloitte audit into Ms. Wallin’s Senate expense claims was ongoing. The audit was released on August 13, and Ms. Wallin “entered into contract,” or agreed to sell the studio apartment the next day, August 14.

It didn’t immediately sell, however. Such deals can be dependent on a buyer’s financing or a co-op board approving the sale, but it’s unclear what the delay was in this case. The deal closed on December 7, according to the unit’s listing on Blocksy, a New York real estate website. Ms. Wallin served from 2002 to 2006 as Canada’s consul-general in New York, and bought the unit in a tower at 118 East 60th Street in 2005 for $379,000.

The listing for the “oversized studio” in a 34-floor Lenox Hill tower described the unit as “both functional and charming with a custom high-end renovation.” It notes the building is “a proper ‘White Glove’ Co-op with 24/7 doorman, full time concierge, covered circular drive way, storage bins and bicycle room.” The monthly taxes and charges for the unit are $1,015.

Ms. Wallin has repaid a total of $152,908.77 in expenses, plus interest, since a review of her expenses began – the full sum that a Senate committee was seeking. She was suspended from the Senate this fall, but remains a senator.

She has disputed the figure, saying she was mistreated by the Senate and by auditors, but said she paid the sum to avoid “a protracted legal debate about the matter” that would cost taxpayers.

“I wish to make it clear. I was not treated fairly by the Deloitte review, which was not conducted in accordance with generally accepted accounting principle, nor have I been treated fairly by the Senate committee,” Ms. Wallin said in a statement in September, at the time of her final repayment.

She was suspended on November 5, in a vote largely pushed through by Conservative senators. “I just want to thank all of those senators today who voted with their conscience and for those who abstained because they felt this process was flawed. I think it’s an extremely sad day for democracy. If we can’t expect the rule of law in Canada, then where on Earth can we expect it?” she said at the time.

Real estate records still show Ms. Wallin as the owner of the New York condo, but the buyer has 30 days to file paperwork to transfer the unit.

Ms. Wallin also has a condo in Toronto, and properties in Saskatchewan.


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