Almost two years of emails sent and received by a government employee named in the $50-million e-gaming lawsuit appear to have disappeared, and IT staff still do not know why.
The emails, from the account of Brad Mix, a senior director with Innovation P.E.I., related to a time period between summer 2010 and spring 2012 when Mix was an employee with Tourism P.E.I. In response to a request from the province’s information and privacy commissioner, Erin McGrath-Gaudet, deputy minister of Economic Tourism and Culture, confirmed the emails from Mix were not available.
The emails were initially sought through a Freedom of Information request by Paul Maines, the president of Capital Markets Technology Inc. which is currently suing the province for $50 million. CMT sought to establish a financial transactions platform related to a failed plan to establish P.E.I. as a regulatory hub for online gambling activity.
A review of the province’s response to this request was initiated by P.E.I. blogger and one-time Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Kevin Arsenault.
The time period of the missing emails appears to coincide with events set out in the lawsuit.
In a July 10 letter obtained by The Guardian, McGrath-Gaudet states Mix first reported in 2015 that the emails from 2011 and 2012 were missing. Mix then reported the missing email archives to provincial IT staff and was “distressed by the discovery of missing emails.”
“Although Mr. Mix advises that he does delete some transitory emails that he won’t use again (as is permitted), he unequivocally states that he has not and does not intentionally delete other emails,” McGrath-Gaudet wrote.
“Mr. Mix also reports that in early 2015 he had a mobile phone upgrade, a few months prior to his discovery, and he believes that this upgrade is related to the apparent loss of emails.”
McGrath-Gaudet also said email losses can occur because of corruption in files and deletion, but that the cause of losses of such files can sometimes not be found.
McGrath-Gaudet also said archiving of government emails across departments was not standardized until 2014.
The CMT statement of claim accuses several government officials, including Mix, former premier Robert Ghiz, former finance deputy minister Neil Stewart and others of misfeasance in public office. CMT alleges that a memorandum of understanding signed with the province was violated and further alleges that both Ghiz and Stewart unlawfully ordered the destruction of emails to avoid scrutiny.
None of these allegations have been proven in court.
The reference to a phone upgrade has previously not been mentioned in court documents in regard to missing emails from Mix.
In a cross-examination earlier this year, Ghiz denied knowing that an email account of his former chief of staff, Chris LeClair, would be deleted, despite signing off on a form authorizing the deletions. Ghiz said he simply believed the form to be standard paperwork requiring his signature.
Mix was also cross-examined in January by John McDonald, a lawyer representing CMT Inc. and Maines. During the cross-examination, Mix was asked by McDonald about the e-mails.
“Have you disclosed all the emails that would exist between you and Paul Jenkins to your counsel?” McDonald asked, referring to a former business partner of Maines.
Jonathan Coady, a lawyer representing Mix, LeClair, Ghiz and several other former government staff, answered the question for Mix.
“I believe so, Mr. McDonald,” Coady said.