turns out being a friend of Mayor Nenshi is a really, really good investment
It turns out being a friend of Mayor Nenshi is a really, really good investment.
On Thursday of last week, the City of Calgary announced it was giving $1.5 million of our tax dollars to a company called "MobSquad."
No, it isn't an organized crime offshoot.
It's a private business based out of Calgary that works in the tech sector.
So, why is the City giving a private business money? It's a payout from something called the "Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund," which gives taxpayer dollars to businesses to "stimulate growth in targeted sectors of Calgary's economy."
In other words, it's an example of our city government picking winners and losers in the private sector in the name of "economic diversification".
Another case of corporate welfare would be bad enough, but it turns out that this particular company is owned by a friend of Mayor Nenshi - and a pretty generous friend at that.
The CEO of MobSquad is Irfhan Rawji.
His LinkedIn profiled describes him as "an experienced strategic consultant, public company senior executive, and private equity as well as venture capital investor."
However, City Hall watchers might also know Mr. Rawji as a member of the committee who raised $300,000 to pay for Mayor Nenshi's legal bills after he was sued for defamation in 2015 (Mayor Nenshi likened Calgary property developer Cal Wentzel to an organized crime mob boss before retracting and apologizing for his outrageous comments).
Now, he and his company MobSquad are cashing a taxpayer-funded cheque for $1.5 million of our tax dollars.
The money was awarded by the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund board, which counts Mayor Nenshi as a member.
Many individuals have raised red flags about this fund, and the benefits that will come from giving MobSquad $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars.
Moreover, how has the City of Calgary managed to find $100 million dollars of our money to dole out to businesses when, according to the Mayor, money is so tight that we're facing either service cuts or property tax hikes?
I guess economics just doesn't matter if you happen to be a friend and wealthy donor of the Mayor.
It's just business as usual at Calgary's City Hall.