Homburg Academy calls for apology from Crane

School president critical of Opposition in letter

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on December 4, 2012
Opposition Leader Olive Crane in the halls of the P.E.I. legislature recently.
Guardian photo

The head of the Homburg Academy is calling on Opposition Leader Olive Crane to issue a public apology for comments she and members of her caucus made about businesses related to Richard Homburg.

The Guardian obtained a copy of a four-page letter Jarrod Wiener, the school’s president, wrote to Crane that was critical of the Opposition for giving, what he suggested, was a misleading impression about Homburg’s investments in P.E.I.

Wiener said Homburg has been involved in Island businesses for decades and he wondered how the people who worked for those businesses felt about attacks on those investments.

“Ms. Crane, it is difficult to love your job when opinion leaders in society say they hate you,” Wiener wrote.

The letter came after several days of comments and questions in the legislature about Homburg’s business dealings in the province and with the government.

Those comments included a recent Opposition motion calling for a forensic audit of the government’s dealings with Homburg, his companies and any other related entities.

Homburg’s name has a visible connection to several businesses in Charlottetown, including the Holman Grand, which its owner Homburg Invest Inc. closed last month.

Although Homburg Invest Inc. bears his name and he is a shareholder, Richard Homburg does not control the publicly traded company.

He also has other investments in P.E.I. that include the Dundee Arms Inn and the Redwater Rustic Grill.

In his letter, Wiener asked Crane to apologize to the people who work for the businesses Homburg has invested in and for her to recognize both the legitimacy of the businesses and further investments in those companies.

Wiener also wrote about the Opposition’s comments related to the Homburg Institute, which offers real estate courses.

In speaking to the motion, Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry said Premier Robert Ghiz and then innovation minister Allan Campbell were sneaking behind then UPEI president Wade MacLauchlan’s back to make a backroom deal regarding the institute.

Perry also called into question a memorandum of understanding between UPEI, the government and Homburg Education.

But Wiener wrote in his letter that everything was done in the open with numerous reports in the media about the memorandum’s signing.

He also said the Opposition has never asked him for a copy of the agreement.

Wiener said the memorandum of understanding put to rest differences between the university and the institute.

It is irresponsible for elected officials to try to divide members of the community, to try to open old wounds that two sides have settled and to drive a wedge between Islanders, Wiener said.

“That kind of politics is the darkest kind, as it sacrifices ordinary Islanders for the sake of perpetuating a climate of fear and anger to be exploited by politicians who have otherwise nothing constructive to contribute.”

Wiener called for Crane to apologize for what he said was attempting to re-open old wounds for political gain.

“Ms. Crane, the privilege of members of the legislative assembly is a shield to protect the truth; it is not a sword to be wielded recklessly for political gain,” Wiener wrote.

Crane was asked about the letter but refused to comment.