Adrian du Plessis - InvestigatorThursday, April 26, 2007
Adrian why hast thou forsaken us?
Some 28 years ago at a Vancouver punk concert (of all places, Carnegie Centre on Main and Hastings) I met a nerdy young man (with glasses, natch) who said he was the manager of one of the bands playing that evening. His band were The Metros and his name was Adrian du Plessis. With him was a woman almost 6 ft tall in black, wearing chains and leather. She was gorgeous. "And this is my girlfriend," he said to me.
From rock 'n roll he switched to what he always called white collar crime. Behind the scenes he investigated our then notorious stock exchange. Many believe he almost made it go down in flames. Then he became less behind the scenes and started writing articles for magazines where the editors had to consult in detail with lawyers to avoid lawsuits. As far as I know du Plessis only wrote the truth and it was always a truth he had painstakingly researched over a long period of time.
I made it a habit to call him up before I had to photograph a businessman for a magazine or the Globe & Mail or the Financial Post. While I never revealed to my subjects what I knew about them it helped me in being objective with my photography. I enclose here the first page of a long article du Plessis sent me a week before I photographed Robert Friedland.
Whenever I ran into him (he cycled everywhere) we always chatted and I never failed to mention that I found it incredible he had not been bumped off or that I had yet to read a Vancouver Sun headline that du Plessis had been found floating face down in Burrard Inlet.
Part of du Plessis' talent came from an incredible photographic memory. A man's photo would appear on the front page of the Sun with an article on how he had been caught red-handed in a bank scandal. Five years later (the limit of Vancouver's long time memory for facts such as these) the same man would be on the business page promoting a Veracruz sunken gold venture. Only du Plessis remembered.
But there is another man whose memory may be as good, and like du Plessis it would be next to impossible to buy. This is the Vancouver Sun's investigative business reporter, David Baines (below). For many years in those terrible times of our notorious stock exchange (the 80s and early 90s) Baines wrote damning articles on the shenanigans that passed for routine business in our city. Many of those articles were fueled by du Plessis' research. And I distinctly remember that several times security was provided for Baines as he did receive death threats.
As far as I know du Plessis never bought a car and never made much money with his writing. He now lives on Saltspring Island and manages Allison Crowe.
I believe that had the December 28, 2003 BC Legislature raid in Victoria been investigated by a du Plessis/Baines team (someone would have gently pushed them from business to politics) we would not be where we are now. I only wonder how du Plessis would modify his often used term white collar crime for incidents such as these.
The bicycle pictured in the second shot on your blog
page of today was stolen when, exhausted from all
night investigative work, I failed to lock it up outside
my Commercial Drive apartment one morning. It
was a good ride.
What I'm doing these days is pretty much the same
search for truth, in different form. Like Art
Bergmann, like Johnny Thunders, Allison makes
music from the heart. In today's music scene that's
as rare a flower as one can find.
Wishing you and your loved ones the best of this
season, and all to be. Thank you.
Sláinte mhaith, Adrian