It was a blip on the radar screen of the news when a 17 page letter written to former BC Cabinet Minister Grace McCarthy, detailing the infiltration of the government of BC by the Mafioso, was revealed. The letter was written by George Peden who worked as a private investigator for those very individuals he was revealing. Peden described details of the desire of the Mob to expand gambling and gaming houses into BC.
At that time Bill Vanderzalm was Premier of BC. The architects of the infiltration were concerned that his controversial and sometimes unpredictable nature would not facilitate an easy acceptance by the BC general public. They believed a new Premier would need to be selected.
Peden warned my recent actions had put my life in danger as the people I was currently doing business with were some of the world’s worst criminals. I had just finished installing a 160 kilowatt hydroelectric facility on a river at the north end of Harrison Lake at Port Douglas; the Heritage site and second biggest BC community at the start of the Gold Rush. After we finished the project the Papalia’s refused to pay the bill. I started taking actions to collect.
“You are a young businessman with a promising future,” stated Peden, “but you need to know who you are dealing with.” Peden then invited me to meet with him at a place of my choosing, Red Robins in Downtown Vancouver on Thurlow between Robson Street and West Georgia.
“I’d suggest you walk away from your losses and put it down to a learning experience,” he stated after he provided a list of books I should read about the crooks to whom I had just lost $136,000 doing business with; Contrepreneurs
by Diane Francis and Sideshow, The Howe Street Carnival
by Adrian du Plessis.
The Socred Party in British Columbia was the primary and most elected political Party since WAC Bennett started it by uniting the Liberals and Conservative Parties in the 1950’s. Wacky, as he was affectionately known, manipulated the BC electoral process with admirable precision maintaining his hold on power to the mid 1970’s. His right hand man, and leadership opponent through most of this time period was “Flying” Phil Gaglardi.
Gaglardi shared his office on the 17th floor in the Vancouver Stock Exchange Tower on Granville Street with the Papalias’. The letter George Peden wrote to Grace McCarthy wasn’t made public until 1992.
It was 1988 and Peden worked for the sometimes jailed and frequently VSE sanctioned corrupt Italian mobsters, twin brothers Roberto and Antonio Papalia. The 17 page letter he wrote to former Cabinet Minister Grace McCarthy detailed and warned about the infiltration of the BC Socred government by the mob. We spoke with Peden and flying Phil Gaglardi during that time while we performed the contract work on the hydro electric installation for the Papalia’s and their “Gold Mine” . Gaglardi stated they needed to replace then Premier Vanderzalm as he was far too controversial. The plan was to find a Provincial Premier who was more acceptable and calm so they could accelerate their gaming facility plans.
The Papalia twin brothers were a work of art. They would switch their attire such that one day Robert would be dressed in a nice suit and tie while Antonio would be dressed casual. The next time they would switch. One never knew just exactly who you were talking too. If I said, ‘but Robert stated this’, the one I was talking with could say, ‘but I’m Robert, it must have been Tony’. It was a brilliant act of deception detectable only by the closest people. A memorable moment was when they returned from a trip to San Francisco after visiting Randy Jackson, Michael’s younger brother, wearing a leather jacket with a logo from a recent tour. In a strange way I have fond memories of losing money to Robert and Tony. Getting beat by the best is almost a life memory worth $136,000.
Read about the Papalia twins HERE
Garglardi’s statement about Vanderzalm proved to be even more accurate than initially thought as he, Zalm, was reported to have taken paper bags full of cash from a realtor, similar to former Prime Minister Mulroney. Rita Johnston took over the leadership of the Socreds in 1991 which sounded the death knell for the Socreds. The NDP formed Government as the Liberal Party of BC was revived by Gordon Wilson who became a fast rising superstar, forming the official opposition.
Insiders of the Socred Party began working with Wilson’s new Liberal Party switching their allegiance, abandoning Rita. In 1993, after telling the British Columbian public he had no interest in the Liberal Party and planned to remain Mayor of Vancouver, when Wilson accused Gordon Campbell and his organizers of infiltrating his party, Campbell successfully took over the leadership of the Liberal Party. The new Socred crowd, calling themselves Liberals, now had their new leader.
The British Columbia mainstream media treated every action of the NDP as dastardly and every action of the Liberals as an act of divine wisdom. Pacific Press (the Vancouver Sun and the Province), Black Press (every newspaper in the Northwest along with 70 other BC newspapers), BCTV and Global all participated in the kid gloves approach to Gordon Campbell. The media was shocked when Campbell did not win on his first two attempts to become Premier. After his second loss the BC media did everything, and it is even alleged the RCMP participated, to discredit the new leader, Glen Clark. The previous leader, Mike Harcourt complained about the unfair treatment of the issues and the NDP by the media in BC as he decided to quit politics. After reporting for years, the terrible economy being all due to the NDP, Pacific Press started a new section in their newspaper called “Success” immediately after Campbell became Premier. Now, after his drunken driving charge, the raid of the legislature, the sale of BC Hydro and BC rail, ongoing revelations of misdeeds and mistruths, along with the continuing trial against ex-government officials and the destruction of emails and documents against the orders of the Supreme Court, the BC media continue to hold their collective tongues.
Ever since Gordon Campbell has taken office the numbers and methods of gambling and gaming facilities have exploded. Last week the BC Government became the very first jurisdiction in North America to have Government sanctioned and controlled on line gaming. In 1931 the state of Nevada legalized gambling. In the 1950’s the crime families of America took over and controlled most of this activity. The question remains, was George Peden telling the truth, organized crime has been attempting to take over the Government of BC since the 1980’s? Who has a complete copy of this 17 page letter he composed to Grace MacCarthy? Comparing his notes to the actions of Gordon Campbell, the potential front man, would be interesting indeed.
George Peden died shortly after this letter was exposed in 1992. It is claimed he died of Aids. A woman was arrested at the Vancouver International airport a few months prior to his death attempting to return to San Francisco. Her offence . . .? Possession of a hypodermic needle full of blood heavily contaminated with the HIV virus. No allegations were made at the time of what she had intended or had done.