June 24th, 2024

Transparency is lacking when it comes to the Exhibition

By Lethbridge Herald on May 17, 2024.


On April 22, I emailed a letter to the editor, and delivered a copy of it  to City Hall for the attention of Mayor Blaine Hyggen. About three hours after having delivered the letter to City Hall, I  received a three-page letter from a Lethbridge legal firm retained by the LDE in which I was advised to cease direct communication with the LDE since  requests of this nature, in their words,  are becoming a nuisance. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Also on April 30, I contacted City Hall and asked for a 30-minute meeting with the mayor to discuss my concerns about the compensation/severance package awarded to Mr. Warkentin, ex-CEO of the LDE which is now owned by the City.  I never did hear from Mayor Hyggen.

So I’ll condense what I wrote in my previous letter. The $25 million grant to the LDE came from grant money earmarked for other projects (robbing Peter to pay Paul). The $17.8 million loan to the LDE was money that the City borrowed by way of debenture debt financing.(2022 City financial report)

The LDE in April 2024 reported a deficit of $341.194 which was funded from the Municipal Reserve Stabilization Reserve (MRSR).

The MRSR is to be used to stabilize the effects of fluctuating interest revenues and general operating surpluses and deficits on annual taxation requirements.

 The May update showed another deficit of $411,592.00, no mention of where that money is going to come from. Up to $300,000 coming from general revenue, will be made available for a third party to investigate the operations of the LDE, to be made public in November, 2024.

 On May 8, it was reported that $900,000 was taken from the Major Community Event Grant budget as emergency funding for the LDE in January of this year, resulting in a zero balance in the Community Event Grant budget and no money for the 2026 national womens curling championship.

So here we are, by asking a simple question, what was the compensation/severance package of the ex CEO of the LDE,  I have been stonewalled by both the previous board and the current City-appointed board, who obtained the services of a legal firm to make me go away, because in their words, I’m becoming a nuisance.

And to rub it in, the LDE is funded by Lethbridge taxpayers, and the taxpayer including myself is paying to have me go away and shut up. So much for transparency.

Barney Feenstra


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We all want to know …” simple question, what was the compensation/severance package of the ex CEO of the LDE” ??? The whole affair was ill thought out … no proper consultation with public …no proper business plan! Warkartin should be charged along with entire mismanagement team and Board. These rank amatures talk a good talk which as we have found out was all BS. The building is a fiasco in terms of design…what a mess.

Southern Albertan

Would it be a question of irony to ask if there are just as much funds available for affordable housing in Lethbridge as there was/is for the Exhibition?

Kal Itea

“what was the compensation/severance package of the ex CEO of the LDE…?”
The compensation package issue is a small potato.
The blame for the whole fiasco lies all the way up to the top, i.e. the LDE board, City Council, The City of Lethbridge, and The Voter.
Yes, You and I.


classic lethbridge city hall. never a useful audit – ever more cash sucked from our pockets and ending up…?

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