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'No risk to taxpayers' in $100 million loan: Millennium

Millennium Development director Shahram Malek said Vancouver taxpayers won’t get stuck paying the tab for up to $100 million worth of loans the city has offered his firm in order to keep construction of the Olympic Village on schedule.

“Any money that may have been loaned is fully secured by the real estate and by other assets as well,” Malek told The Tyee. “There is absolutely no exposure for the taxpayer. None.”

Malek also disputed reports alleging that Millennium won the contract as a result of its ties to former Non-Partisan Association president Paul Barbeau.

“There are no favors involved. There are no risks to the taxpayer. These things I can tell you categorically,” he said.

Malek said he was frustrated by the assumptions about his company that were being made in the press.

“It’s been a bit disheartening,” he said.

“We are meeting all of our obligations. We are paying the full price for the land. We have not gone to the city and asked for concessions. We have stuck to our agreement,” he said.

Malek emphasized that the Olympic Village will be delivered on schedule.

“I won’t say there haven’t been challenges. There have been a lot of challenges. But we’ve overcome them all,” he said. “I have complete confidence the Olympic Village will be handed over to VANOC on or before Oct. 31, 2009.”

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