Introducing ... the "Sunnyside Hardware Tool of the Week"
Figure this blog needs a regular award to give out (Dreaming of a house band, too!). Sponsorship is tougher than ever in today's economy, so we’re enlisting the family business, Sunnyside Hardware. I'd post a link but this is an old-fashioned store, no website but 55-plus years and still going strong in Parkdale, started by my father Willy and now run by my wonderful brother-in-law Scotty. (Mention the blog and a discount is guaranteed.)
So without any more fanfare, we’re introducing the Sunnyside Hardware Tool of the Week. (T-shirts to be considered).
They did a flip flop last week and said they didn’t want star swimmer Michael Phelps at their events in Canada after originally saying they supported him after he was caught smoking from a marijuana bong. Phelps was to speak tomorrow in Calgary and Friday in Vancouver.
Just knew the name Salim Khoja rang a bell. He was one of the promoters of the Donovan Bailey/Michael Johnson “Fastest Man In The World” showdown at the then SkyDome in 1997.
It came out then that Khoja had been convicted of fraud in 1992. As David Israelson wrote in a story for the Star at the time, Khoja admitted he was caught trading with clients' funds without telling them and barred for life as a stockbroker.
Khoja runs remarkably successful motivational shows and has made millions for the likes of Bill Clinton -- and undoubtedly himself -- and regularly features power brokers like entrepreneur Richard Branson and cyclist Lance Armstrong. The Washington Post in 2006 likened these shows to selling snake oil. “The premise here is basically that you, Mr. Joseph H. Schmo, or Ms. Schmo, could be one of them, and this is simply false,” wrote reporter David Segal.
Segal described part of the show he watched:
Khoja's checkered past has often been mentioned in stories about his association with Clinton and also with Cherie Blair, wife of the former British PM who has also appeared at his shows. Khoja no longer likes to talk about his past conviction, but here's what he said in the Star story at the time of the Bailey/Johnson race in 1997:
He (Khoja) says he has paid more than $220,000 in restitution, done about 10 days in jail and is barred from life as a broker by the Investment Dealers Association of Canada.
"What can I say?" he says, disarmingly.
"I was 22 years old. It's my fate to be reminded of this every time reporters do a search. And it's perfectly justified. This (race) is my opportunity to do something good and make up for it."
Too bad his company didn’t afford Phelps the same opportunity.