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A Calgary man whose highly-publicized promise to donate millions of dollars to a B.C. junior hockey team has so far gone unfulfilled has been charged with fraud and forgery stemming from a celebratory banquet he held at a restaurant.
The National Post has also learned that Mike Gould took part in meetings in recent months with the managers of an upscale residential community in Cranbrook, B.C., during which he expressed interest in buying the whole development for tens of millions of dollars but never followed through on a hefty deposit. During those meetings, the managers say they were led to believe Gould was in talks with the Calgary Flames about acquiring an ownership stake in the team.
Gould, 38, first drew attention in mid-October, when he announced at a pre-game ceremony his intention of donating $7.5 million to the Dynamiters hockey team in his hometown of Kimberley, B.C.
The following night, he threw a banquet for the team at the Northwest Grill in nearby Cranbrook, incurring a tab of $8,000. As the National Post outlined in a story this past weekend, Gould initially presented two cheques to cover the bill.
According to restaurant owner Jolene Salanski, Gould signed one of the cheques in the restaurant, while the other cheque was already signed. But Gould called the next day asking her not to cash the cheques. When she examined the cheques more closely, she discovered the cheques were under someone else’s name.
Salanski said she later learned they belonged to Gould’s stepfather and that he had not authorized the use of the cheques.
Weeks went by before Gould finally came in and paid the $8,000 tab using cash, she said.
Cranbrook RCMP Const. Katie Forgeron said Tuesday Crown counsel approved charges of fraud and forgery against Gould on Friday stemming from the restaurant incident. She said she couldn’t elaborate.
Gould said Tuesday he had no comment on the charges. He previously confirmed to the Post he used his stepfather’s cheques. He said the reason he asked Salanski not to cash them was because he didn’t have access to funds to give to his stepfather to cover the payment.
He is scheduled to appear in provincial court on Dec. 18. The charges remain unproven.
Read the full story over at The National Post.