Subseries consists of records related to the Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society, its related organizations, and the various commissions and investigations into its activities, 1988-2001.
The Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society (NCHS) was a non-profit organization created by the CCF in 1954 to hold properties, provide event spaces, and support the organizing efforts of what would become the New Democratic Party. One of its primary methods of fundraising was through bingos. The formation of the NCHS was largely assisted by David Daniel Stupich, a former chicken farmer and accountant, who was later elected as the Nanaimo MLA for the NDP in 1963. Stupich remained heavily involved in Nanaimo politics, acting as a provincial NDP MLA from 1963-1969 and 1972-1988, and then as a federal NDP representative for the Nanaimo-Cowichan district from 1988 until 1993.
Under provincial regulations at the time, at least 25% of a bingo’s gross revenues were to be donated to charity. However, in 1988 the RCMP received a tip from Frank Murphy, one of the directors of the NCHS Charities Society (NCHS C/S) concerning the misdirection of funds. The RCMP proceeded to investigate, but the case failed to proceed due to lack of evidence. In May of 1992, allegations about the NCHS’s redirection of charity funds reached the media, including allegations that some of these funds had been redirected for NDP use, and the event quickly became known among the press as “Bingogate”. This prompted the RCMP to re-open an investigation (dubbed "Project Enigma"), and in 1993 search warrants were obtained. The investigation led to charges against the NCHS and several of its related societies in 1994 but, on the recommendations of Special Prosecutor Ace Henderson, not against any individuals involved. As the details of the case came to light, the NDP faced increasing public pressure to account for its actions, and in 1994, the services of Ron Parks, a forensics accountant with Lindquist Avey Macdonald Baskerville, were engaged to further analyze the collected evidence. The Parks Report, as it became known, was submitted in May of 1995, and among many other allegations, it suggested that in 1983-1984, the NCHS had funneled money ear-marked for charities into the NDP-owned Democrat Publications, which the NDP then attempted to pay back in 1993 as the NCHS allegations reached the media. This led to public accusations of a cover-up on the part of the NDP, and following the submission of the Parks Report, Bill M 207, the “Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society Public Inquiry Act” was passed in the legislature in 1995, calling for a public commission to investigate the activities of the NCHS. Headed for the majority of its time by Murray Smith and publicly known as the Smith Commission of Inquiry, the public inquiry began in late 1996, and continued until 2001. In 1999, at the age of 77, David Stupich pleaded guilty to fraud and the illegal operation of a lottery. He died in February of 2006.
Subseries includes court documents (primarily related to the Smith Commission of Inquiry), media clippings and transcripts, correspondence, public communications, reports, drafts, and other related material.