Pubdate: Thu, 15 Sep 2016
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 The Toronto Star
Author: Jesse McLean
Page: A1


The Durham cop allowed by his force to co-own a controversial
marijuana company gave thousands of dollars in sponsorship money to a
soccer team run by the senior police official whose department vetted
his pot shop ownership application.

Chief administrative officer Stan MacLellan oversees Durham police's
human resources unit, which handled the request from veteran Const.
Phil Edgar to co-own Living On Inc., a medical weed shop located in
Port Perry.

A recent Star investigation found the marijuana company is unlicensed
and its website offers customers drug products, such as pot brownies,
that are illegal to sell because of concerns of overdose or
unintentional ingestion by children. Edgar, a successful businessman
when he's not patrolling the streets, sponsored the girls competitive
soccer team for at least three seasons. MacLellan, a civilian employee
of the Durham police, coached the team and his daughter was a player.

Team financial records for the 2012-2013 season show the gas station
Edgar owns, Fill-Up Fuels, gave the team $2,000. Edgar said he likely
gave similar amounts each year, but does not keep track because he
sponsors numerous local sports teams and community events.

In return for the money, the gas station's name went on one of the
team's sets of jerseys.

Edgar said he and MacLellan are friends, and that his sponsorship of
the soccer team had no impact on getting a green light from the force
to co-own the marijuana company.

"I don't give people anything for the purpose of getting something
back . . . I love to help kids," said Edgar.

"If (MacLellan) was good for my career, I've known him 10 years, why
am I still a constable at the bottom of the food chain?"

In an emailed statement, MacLellan said as part of his volunteer
coaching duties he "reached out to several organizations that are
known to support local non-profit community programs."

MacLellan said the donations went directly to the soccer

"I never received personal fundraising money," he said. "The funds
were solicited on behalf of the soccer club and I received no
financial or material benefit of any nature, either directly or

The police force has steadfastly refused to answer questions about
Edgar's case, calling it an "employer-employee matter" that is "not
open for public discussion."

At a June police board meeting, MacLellan said the force had received
a legal opinion that it would be required to approve Edgar's
application to co-own a medical marijuana company.

MacLellan did not declare any conflict of interest, according to the
minutes. He told the Star the police force and the chief had no
knowledge of the sponsorship money "as they were done on behalf of the
Darlington Soccer Club."

When a Durham officer wants to work a side job or have ownership in a
company that may conflict or interfere with his duties as a cop, he
files a request to human resources.

Human resources, which is under MacLellan's command, sends a
recommendation to the police chief on whether he should approve or
deny the side job. The chief makes the final decision. MacLellan said
he is advised on applications that "rise above" the routine request
but he does not direct the final decision.

"The process is led by HR and the chief has the ultimate authority,"
he said.

In the past, Durham has denied officers permission to moonlight as a
bartender or security guard.

In an interview Monday, Durham police Chief Paul Martin would not
address the medical marijuana case, but said generally he would expect
anyone involved in the decision-making process would declare any
potential conflicts of interest.

"If there is a conflict of interest, then they should remove
themselves from the decision-making process, but I'm not aware of any
case that would involve that," he said.

A recent Star investigation found that medical marijuana company
Living On Inc., located on First Nations land in Port Perry, was not
licensed by Health Canada.

Its website also advertises various kinds of edible marijuana products
- - pot peanut brittle, lollypops, a weed-infused chocolate hazelnut
spread called "Chrontella" - that are illegal to sell in Canada
because the government says they pose a risk of overdose or
unintentional ingestion by children.

After the Star began asking questions, Edgar said he "stepped back"
from the marijuana company. The 22-year police veteran said he is
weighing whether he wants to continue a career of policing or branch
into the budding medical weed business.

He said he joined the company in December 2015 to handle promotions
and filed a request for secondary employment around the same time. He
left Living On in July.

Edgar owns two palatial homes nestled along Lake Scugog and a fleet of
high-end cars, the product of what he described as "years of smart
investments and good business practices."

With his success, Edgar said he sponsors numerous local organizations,
including giving money to cover hockey equipment costs for children.

In January, he gave $600 through his gas station to sponsor a Durham
police team at a charity ball hockey tournament that raised money for
Sick Kids Hospital.

"I sponsor a ton of stuff. And here's the most interesting part: you
know how most people do a charity donation, what are they doing it
for? Tax writeoff," Edgar said.

Edgar said he does not claim the donations for tax credits. As a
member of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, he does not
pay any tax on income generated from the gas station or other
businesses on First Nations land.

"This is 100 per cent loss for me," he said. When he made his
secondary employment application, Edgar said the force's approval was
conditional on the company having "all the proper documents."

The constable said he believes the company had and continues to have
the proper licence from Health Canada, but added he was not involved
in Living On's day-to-day operations. While Durham police remain mum
about Edgar's case, spokesman Dave Selby said, "the service would
never knowingly approve a request for secondary employment that is

If an officer quits the secondary business, MacLellan said, "the
approval granted by the chief would be considered null and void."

At a meeting Monday, members of the civilian police oversight board
discussed the matter behind closed doors. The board made no statement
regarding its private discussions.
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MAP posted-by: Matt