News

Struggling With Decision To Give $1.2 Million To Sex Offender

By Adrian Duyzer
Published May 03, 2012

I'm struggling to understand why the City has approved $1.2 million in loans and grants for Denis Vranich, given his history as a convicted sex offender.

I look forward to comment by the planning and economic development committee that approved the funding. I'm sure they had their reasons. Probably a principal one is the fact the building is crumbling. Another is that construction fencing was put up a few months ago, closing the sidewalk and blocking one lane of King Street, but there has been no visible progress in terms of doing anything with the building.

Given that our traffic engineers relentlessly give primacy to traffic flow over all other downtown concerns, perhaps it was blocking the King Street lane that really greased the wheels for the loan and grant. Vranich took one of our precious lanes hostage, and we caved.

The state of the building is unquestionably a disgrace, and something had to be done about it. No one can fault anyone at the City for wanting to fix the situation.

But what I'm really struggling with is that this guy is a convicted sex offender. He's a criminal and quite frankly, he's a slimeball. In addition to sexually assaulting one of his employees, he's also been convicted of driving while impaired and in 2001, "Vranich was ordered to pay more than $85,000 in fines and surcharges after being convicted on three counts of prostitution-related offences and three charges of falsifying immigration records" according to the Spec article I linked to above.

I spent a few minutes browsing job postings on the City's HR site. I found one for a housekeeping aide (I'd link to it, but for whatever reason, links on this site don't work properly). Part of the job description:

Note: As a condition of employment, the successful applicant(s) will be required to obtain a satisfactory Criminal Reference Check or Vulnerable Sector Screening, at their own expense, prior to beginning work in this position.

Nope, Denis couldn't get that job, which pays $19 to $21/hour. In fact, with his criminal history, he likely wouldn't be eligible for many of the jobs available through the City. But he's eligible for $1.2 million, $333,000 of which is a grant?

I'm angry.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

33 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 08:16:35

I agree. He's clearly not a nice person, yet he is investing in our city with the projects that he is involved with. But, if not him, then who?

Permalink | Context

By adrian (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 09:10:53 in reply to Comment 76426

But, if not him, then who?

Steve Kulakowsky at Core Urban.

Jeff Paikin and Joe Giacomodonato at New Horizon Homes.

Doug McCurley, Bill Curran, and the others who have partnered on various downtown developments.

Heck, I'd far rather see the money go to Darko!

The list of worthier candidates is, in my opinion, probably in the order of around 7 billion, i.e. approximately the population of the planet.

Permalink | Context

By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 13:18:28 in reply to Comment 76432

And if Dennis doesn't want to sell to anyone? Just let it rot?

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 15:27:34 in reply to Comment 76448

I see. So the $1.2m is a ransom then. We have to pay up or he'll let it rot. Nice. Why should the taxpayers feel obligated to reward this kind of blackmail?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 08:39:05

The grant is for the betterment of the city, not for the betterment of an individual. Convicted criminal, yes, but he'd paid his dues. Should the penalties have been harsher for such crimes? I think so.

But personally, I'd much rather see the city convert King and Main back to slower two way traffic, than worry about the likes of DV getting grants and loans, that are their to better the city.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 09:06:49

This is a new low for RTH.

What's your alternative, Adrian? Let a building in our core crumble because of a six year old charge? Force all criminals to sell their property? Forever refuse loans for anyone?

I'm angry.

You know what makes me angry? Ad hominem attacks.

Permalink | Context

By ntomkin (registered) | Posted May 04, 2012 at 08:33:33 in reply to Comment 76431

If you think about how council handles black & white decisions, I fear that they wouldn't even know how to handle something like this. As I think about it more, I feel the relevance of this article. I don't think it's a new low, it's just something you don't get to see from most outlets - an opinion rooted with concerns. Adrian is a business owner and like many business owners in Hamilton, he probably struggles with the city on pretty common subjects - so to hear a sex offender is being handed cash probably bites a little. Sometimes it seems like us who play fair, lay down the groundwork for blowhards to benefit from - and the city does nothing to celebrate its hardworking catalysts.

Comment edited by ntomkin on 2012-05-04 08:34:38

Permalink | Context

By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 17:02:10 in reply to Comment 76431

He's a rapist!

Permalink | Context

By JM (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 10:17:56 in reply to Comment 76431

i agree - this has absolutely no connection to the subject matter of the loan/grant. this is a "business deal" plain and simple.

i look forward to seeing life again at the corner of king and hess. let the man do his job. as much as people are giving the vranich's greif for their "work ethic", they are (one of) the only ones doing something in the core right now... and a good chunk of it to.

hold your criticism until the work is done!

Permalink | Context

By adrian (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 11:29:27 in reply to Comment 76434

Is it your opinion (and mrgrande, this is a question for you too) that the criminal history, moral character, and past behaviour of people should not factor into whether or not taxpayers give them large sums of money?

That is not a rhetorical question - I am genuinely interested in knowing your thoughts on the matter.

Permalink | Context

By ntomkin (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 12:09:06 in reply to Comment 76440

I think with regards to Vranich you have every right to be upset. My worry is, if we're not helping people on the basis of previous criminal/poor taste history, we might just further alienate those who actually have turned a new leaf.

While I haven't done anything near as bad as Vranich, I shudder at the thought of being held back because of how I used to be, having learned to be a better person.

Comment edited by ntomkin on 2012-05-03 12:11:33

Permalink | Context

By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 11:54:26 in reply to Comment 76440

Past behaviour should, regarding similar business decisions.

Moral character should not. Why? Because where do you draw the line?

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 15:22:42 in reply to Comment 76441

Moral character should not. Why? Because where do you draw the line?

We're not talking about someone who cheated on his wife, here. We are talking about someone who has been convicted of sexual assault. I have no problem drawing the line at people who have committed violent crimes.

Talking about his crime as though it were some kind of moral peccadillo trivializes the true nature of sexual assault.

Permalink | Context

By George (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 15:56:57 in reply to Comment 76453

Ok, let's say for arguments sake the city denies him the loan and the grant based on his convictions.

Does he have a legal right to apply for the loan and grant as does any other property owner? Can the city give or take away that right?

What legal criteria can the city apply to the loans and grants qualifications for property improvement?

Does he have cause to sue the city?

I dunno.

Comment edited by George on 2012-05-03 15:57:25

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By CWD (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 10:46:46

How is this even allowed and how are people not outraged by this? "Paid his dues", "betterment of the city"? Seriously? I wonder how the victims feel? They will live the rest of their lives with the impact of what they experienced and yet we are supposed to forget that.

What kind of message does this send to people?

Sexual assault is a CRIME. But I guess from the City's perspective and based on some of the other comments it doesn't matter any more. In this situation because he has money he can get away with it. It's shameful and I am disgusted with the City. It is yet another example of how corruption, money and power rule.

Permalink | Context

By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 12:04:42 in reply to Comment 76435

Yes, better for the city to have that crumbling building fixed up.

And no one is suggesting the his crimes should be forgotten or that the victims of his crimes have suffered, and probably will forever. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous.




Permalink | Context

By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 12:08:20 in reply to Comment 76445

Forgot the word "not"

Should have read:

....or that the victims of his crimes have NOT suffered.

Permalink | Context

By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 11:55:09 in reply to Comment 76435

So, in your opinion, if you commit a crime, you should never be allowed to do business ever again.

Permalink | Context

By adrian (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 11:58:35 in reply to Comment 76442

For a guy that complains about ad hominem attacks, you're sure big on the strawmen.

Permalink | Context

By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 13:20:39 in reply to Comment 76443

CWD said:

Sexual assault is a CRIME. But I guess from the City's perspective and based on some of the other comments it doesn't matter any more.

He's clearly stating that, in his opinion, anyone who has been charged with a "CRIME" should not be able to do business with the city.

Permalink | Context

By quo (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 13:45:29 in reply to Comment 76449

Sounds to me like CWD is saying someone convicted of a crime shouldn't be able to get free money from the city, not that they shouldn't be able to do business.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Book (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 11:16:54

Eli Lapp: This gun of the hand is for the taking of human life. We believe it is wrong to take a life. That is only for God. Many times wars have come and people have said to us: you must fight, you must kill, it is the only way to preserve the good. But Samuel, there's never only one way. Remember that. Would you kill another man?

Samuel Lapp: I would only kill the bad man.

Eli Lapp: Only the bad man. I see. And you know these bad men by sight? You are able to look into their hearts and see this badness?

Samuel Lapp: I can see what they do. I have seen it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Omega (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 11:24:32

insult spam deleted

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Really People (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 12:00:42

I agree strongly with this article. Notice we never hear about the upstanding developers downtown as they simply don't want to deal with the city. There are many developments that occur, but it seems that the questionable characters are the ones that tap into the public dollars or hold the city ransom or threaten demolition or bad mouth the city until they get their way.

Simply put, we need to stop rewarding people who have demonstrated bad judgement and behaviour. Until then, the core will be more vranichtown than downtown and that's frankly not going to get us where we need to go.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Cee Cee (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2012 at 13:27:29

Appearently you're eligible for a pardon on an indictable offense after five years.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 04, 2012 at 02:09:08

It's not just the sex crimes.

First there's the numerous derelict buildings left to rot or burn (how many times did this one catch fire?), along with fire code citations. Then there's the bribery allegations. The unpermitted parking lots. It's not like the city hasn't had to demand these loans back from Vrancor before...

Oh, and the Rok Bar is now getting publicly denounced for wage theft from the waitresses.

There is every reason to be outraged here.

Permalink | Context

By Brick (anonymous) | Posted May 04, 2012 at 12:08:26 in reply to Comment 76461

The outrage in the second paragraph is legitimate but seems to relate to the actions of the father and not the son. Am I wrong?

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted May 04, 2012 at 12:29:05 in reply to Comment 76476

I think you're right about the illegal parking lots, but the bribery allegations were Denis, and he also owns 220 Dundurn.

Permalink | Context

By Rebar (anonymous) | Posted May 04, 2012 at 17:04:27 in reply to Comment 76477

Right you are. For some reason I had it in my head that Moodie was linked to Darko. Goes to my point, I suppose.

http://www.thespec.com/mobile/news/article/254458--municipal-corruption-charges-tossed-out

Not that this excuses any bad actor, but in my experience both developers and nightclub managers tend to be alpha males of flexible morality. The more prominent/prolific they are, the more this tendency expresses itself. Broad brush strokes.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 04, 2012 at 13:30:14 in reply to Comment 76477

Someone posted a comment a few days ago stating that the building is now owned by Michael Corrado/Coletara Development. I'm trying to get confirmation on this.

Edit: I just got confirmation from the City that Denis Vranich still owns 220 Dundurn South and plans to submit a formal redevelopment application in 1-2 months.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-05-04 16:09:00

Permalink | Context

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 04, 2012 at 13:48:14 in reply to Comment 76481

One of the hallmarks of speculation is a general disinterest in actually running, maintaining or even continuing to own the properties in question.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Omega (anonymous) | Posted May 04, 2012 at 11:31:36

insult spam deleted

Permalink | Context

By John Neary (registered) | Posted May 04, 2012 at 12:41:26 in reply to Comment 76472

(Being willfully blind to sarcasm)

It's already made the south side of King St unusable as a walking route for weeks. Although the city should share the blame for not cordoning off a temporary walkway.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds