De-tales…financial facts & fiction
by Curtis McKenzie, SJ, CPA

Facts about the Gesù projectFor more than eighteen years before entering the Society I spent my life in high finance. Well, mostly high finance. Eventually one learns to tell the difference between a good story that seems credible and doing the due diligence to reveal as much of the truth as possible. So here are some of the “tall tales”…by the numbers!

Fact or Fiction?

The province wants to construct a building for $200 million to solve a small operating loss at the Gesù.

Fiction. Le Gesù generates slightly positive cash flow each year. The point of the project is to make the mission of Le Gesù relevant to the signs of the times, particularly in secularized Québec. And it does not cost $200 million to build a new building. For that we could buy all of the 50 million Big Macs sold in the world in one day!

We previously lost the land next to Le Gesù from failure to pay taxes and the City of Montreal will never give it back.

Fact. The two lots immediately south of Le Gesù, where Collège Sainte-Marie was previously located, were lost due to failure to pay property taxes…though not by the Jesuits! The land was leased after the college was torn down and the tenant never paid the taxes. A small mistake and the land was lost!

And Fiction. The land to the North and West has never been developed by the City into a park. We are in discussions to find a solution that improves the patrimonial importance of Le Gesù, such as through a new construction.

This is a project about constructing a building, not about a new mission!

Fiction. The mission is not to build a building. We are not in the landlord business nor are we property developers. Any construction is mission first, or it just won’t happen!

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