New documents reveal that Alberta Conservative senator-in-waiting Doug Black charged more than $28,000 to taxpayers in lavish expenses over an 18-month period, including $508.95 per night at the Four Seasons in Houston, Texas.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) published documents they obtained through a Freedom of Information request that revealed Doug Black, University of Calgary Chair of the Board of Directors and Conservative senator-in-waiting, led an expensive lifestyle for 18 months all on the taxpayers’ dime.
Between his appointment in Feb. 2011 and Aug. 2012, Black expensed taxpayers for various items and services, such as air travel, dinners, cellphone bills, hotel accommodations, limousine travel and a private driver.
The university reimbursed Black for his hotel and flights, even though its policy only permits standard hotel rooms and economy flights.
It was also learned in the documents that Black reimbursed the university nearly $5,400 in liquor and executive first class expenses after the CTF request. Black claims these expenditures were “processed in error.”
“While we’re happy that the University is getting back some of its money thanks to our FOIP request, there’s still more than a few questionable expenses that have been paid out,” said CTF-Alberta Director Scott Hennig in a news release. “This doesn’t appear to be a case of lack of clear expense policy, but instead a lack of reading and following the current policies.”
Hennig added that he is unsure as to why Black would charge the university for stays at the Ritz Carleton in Toronto and the Four Seasons in Houston during business travel. “There’s likely more than a few U of C students who are barely able to scrape together $525 per month for rent, let alone for one night in the Toronto Ritz Carleton, like the University paid for Mr. Black’s March 2011 trip.”
Meanwhile, his predecessor, Jack Perraton, the former board chair, claimed a total of only $434 in less than four years. Black has yet to publicly comment on the report nor respond to requests for comments as he is out of the country.
Here is a condensed list of Black’s expenses:
- $2,200.78, including $550 for wine, for a board dinner at the Ranchmen’s Club in Apr. 2011 ($200 for lobster bisque, $377 for filet mignon and $238 for Wild BC or Red Atlantic Salmon)
- $100 for monthly cellphone charges
- $112.45 for dinner at Il Sogno, including a $15 tip in Apr. 2011
- $8 for two specialty coffees in Feb. 2011
- $26 for two gin martinis in Mar. 2012
- $13.33 for one cafe latte ($6 drink plus a $5 delivery charge) in Jun. 2012
- $39.90 for a parking valet in Jan. 2012
For the complete set of documents gathered by the CTF, click here.
Black outpolled all other candidates with 427,745 votes in this year’s provincial senate race at the same time of the Alberta election – it is the only province to elect a senator. This means Black will replace Alberta Joyce Fairbairn, who reportedly left Canada’s Senate after being declared as mentally incompetent.