Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gary Goodyear and Wife Involved in Adoption Scandal

So Mr. 'I'm better than you because the Religious Right got me this job' Goodyear, has fallen from grace, as he and his wife Valerie, are now implicated in an adoption scandal.

It doesn't get much lower than this; exploiting poor children from Ethiopia for monetary gain.

And as the story unfolds it gets even uglier. The agency was paying rent to Goodyear for offices they never occupied, while everyone was living high off the hog, with money unsuspecting couples doled out for children they never saw.

Gary Goodyear could very well make Maxime Bernier look like a saint.

Imagine Adoption: Gary Goodyear’s wife on the payroll – and the company they co-own is on the creditor list.
by Kady O'Malley
July 16, 2009

The Kitchener-Waterloo Record reports on the link between Valerie Goodyear and the ongoing Imagine Adoption/Kids Link International bankruptcy meltdown:

The 16 employees of the bankrupt agency included Valerie Goodyear, wife of federal cabinet minister and Cambridge MP Gary Goodyear. In a written statement yesterday, Gary Goodyear said his wife helped place children with families and wasn’t involved with the agency’s finances. He also said he has never been involved with its operations. [...]

In an agency newsletter last year, Valerie Goodyear was described as co-ordinator of its African adoption programs. A profile said she had been to Ethiopia three times and was one of the agency’s first employees.

In the same newsletter, photographs showed Gary Goodyear and other local politicians alongside Susan Hayhow at a ribbon-cutting to mark the agency’s move to new offices.

He is also quoted in a story accompanying the photos. “This is a wonderful group of people,” Gary Goodyear reportedly said. “I want to congratulate Sue (Hayhow) and her team on the most excellent work and incredible progress.“

The agency newsletter
can be found on the Imagine Adoption website.

The Record reports that bankruptcy officials are “trying to determine why the agency was renting three properties in Cambridge with payment obligations of $13,000 a month,” and notes that only one of the three — “the location at 780 King Street East … was used for agency offices.”

ITQ checked the public registry for MPs, and found a
disclosure summary for Gary Goodyear, filed earlier this year. In it, he states that he and his wife are co-owners of Constant Energy Ltd. — the same “private real estate holding firm” listed as the landlord of one of those three properties.

According to the Statement of Affairs released earlier this week by BDO Dunwoody, the agency was paying $3,000 a month to Constant Energy for property at 382 Queen Street West in Cambridge. BDO lists Constant Energy’s total outstanding claim at $96,000, which works out to 32 months rent, and it is the first entry on the list of “preferred creditors for wages/rent/etc.” The Queen St. W property is currently occupied by the Hespeler Community Chiropractic Centre. (Goodyear is a Chiropractor)

BDO estimates that the total claims held by unsecured creditors — the 400 families who have “active files” with the agency — to be at least $800,000, but warns that that number is a “conservative” estimate, since it’s still not clear how much is owed to each family. The first meeting of creditors is scheduled for the end of the month.

The affects of this scandal were also felt in Alberta where the provincial government is going to step in. In the Calgary Herald story (printed in the Vancouver Sun) though, they conveniently left out Gary Goodyear's involvement, so I posted this comment at the end of the story.

I notice that you didn't mention that federal science minister Gary Goodyear is a co-owner and his wife an employee. They are also on the creditor's list for back rent. Apparently they were leasing three properties to the agency, though they only occupied two. The Prime Minister will have to fire him because this is going to get uglier as the story unfolds and places Gary Goodyear and his wife right in the thick of it.

Alberta adoption hopefuls in limbo after Ont. firm falters
Province to aid broke agency's applicants
By Robin Summerfield,
Calgary Herald
July 16, 2009

CALGARY - The Alberta government has promised to step up and help victims of a faltering adoption agency, which was taken over by bankruptcy trustees this week.

On Monday, business was halted at Cambridge. Ont.-based Kids Link International, leaving about 400 Canadian families and their adoptions in limbo.

Bankruptcy trustee BDO Dunwoody has been assigned to go through the agency's accounts and will update the families Friday.

Alberta Children & Youth Services, the ministry responsible for overseeing international adoptions in the province, was also blindsided by the agency's financial troubles and learned through local adoption agencies Monday that something was amiss.

The province has since e-mailed all of the Alberta families affiliated with the agency, promising to help facilitate their adoptions and track down more information. "I really feel like we're making progress," said Cathy Ducharme, spokeswoman for Alberta Children and Youth Services.

In Alberta, there are six families using the agency who have been matched with Ethiopian children but have not yet legally adopted the youngsters, Ducharme said.

About three or four additional families in the province have legally adopted their children via Kid's Link and its affiliate Imagine Adoption but were waiting for the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi to issue travel visas or passports, she said.

To that end, the province has asked that office to expedite the documents, Ducharme said. "What we're really hoping is that families don't give up and they don't panic," she said.

Countless other families, who would have already invested thousands of dollars in deposits, legal fees and home studies, are in the queue waiting to be matched with children from Ethiopia.

The future of those adoptions, which cost on average between $15,000 and $25,000, are also up in the air.

On Wednesday, a grassroots campaign to raise money for the caregivers and children at Imagine Adoption's orphanage in Addis Ababa was launched by one adoptive couple (ourfourmiracles. families are vowing not to give up the fight to adopt.

"We're not just disappointed, we're devastated," said Shawn Bertin, an Imagine Adoptions client in Calgary.

Between failed fertility treatments and now international adoption fees, the 37-year-old and his wife Delores have spent between $35,000 and $40,000 trying to make a family. They had not yet been matched with an Ethiopian child.

Like other families, the couple wants answers from the agency owners, who arrived in Africa on Monday just as news of the bankruptcy was breaking. "We trusted them with our lives, with our family, with our hearts and this is how they treat us, this is how they treat other families and this is how they treat the children they are supposed to be helping?" said Delores.

The Bertins don't care about the money, they just want a child to adopt, Shawn said.

According to legal documents posted on the website, the agency has $1,086,004 in liabilities and $723,004 in assets, leaving a $363,000 deficit. An additional claim of $800,000 has also been put forward by the bankruptcy trustee BDO Dunwoody for the families.

"This really is a wake-up call, if you will--that these kinds of things can occur and families need to understand that no one is immune. You have to be really cautious and careful," said Roberta Galbraith, a co-founder of the Canadian Advocates for the Adoption of Children, the Manitoba-based agency that also handles international adoptions.

Galbraith said her agency, which has been doing international adoptions for more than 20 years, would not be able to take on Imagine's clients and would be waiting for direction from the Ontario ministry and the Ethiopian government before offering to help.

But Galbraith assured adoptive parents that the kids at Imagine Adoption's transition home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, would still be cared for by that country's Women's Affairs Ministry, which regulates international adoption.

Meanwhile, another adoption agency owner said the incident tarnishes all Canadian adoption agencies.

"Who's going to trust a Canadian now. Our reputation is harmed," said Wendy Robinson, director of Christian Adoption Services in Calgary. "I feel terrible because I've been recommending them, but nobody saw this coming."

There are about 200 international adoptions in various states of progress in Alberta.

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