Members of the three BIAs, Committee of Adjustment, Property Standards and Library Board are responsible for their own legal expenses if they are sued for conflict of interest.
This information went on public record as a result of the discussion around a motion brought forth by Paul Collard requesting that the town front the legal expenses of Ward 5 Councillor Don Lubberts in the latest conflict of interest suit filed this time by EDTC GM Jim Thibert. Lubberts and three other councillors are currently facing a conflict of interest suit filed by former councillor Tim Whitfield. A decision on that should be coming within the next couple of weeks. So far, it has been reported that the four have incurred $150,000. in legal expenses in the case.
The latest suit accuses Councillor Lubberts of conflict of interest in the ongoing discussion of a controversial purchase of vacant industrial land by the town. Lubberts has openly opposed the proposal, calling it "bonusing" in order to abet the proposed purchase of the Fort Erie Race Track by an interested group. The 14 acre property now belongs to Nordic El-Ad which owns the race track land and other properties. It is thought that the town purchase of the vacant land would enhance the deal for the race track. This is what many believe falls under the definition of bonusing.
It's just another case of "malicious prosecution" by Thibert, Councillor Lubberts was served with papers just before the May 12 council meeting.
"Guilty until you prove yourself innocent" (Paul Collard)
Based on that opinion, Ward 6 Councillor Paul Collard brought forth a motion in the May 20 Council in Committee Meeting that the town cover Lubberts' legal expenses. Collard requested that By-Law 199.93 be amended to reflect the change. Collard also wanted the same such coverage for volunteer members of boards who are "affected by this policy." Later in the discussion, Town Clerk Carolyn Kett clarified those committees that have "decision making powers" and, as such, are liable to the conflict-of-interest policy. Kett listed the three Business Improvement Areas: Bridgeburg, Ridgeway and Crystal Beach, Committee of Adjustment, Property Standards and the Library Board as falling under the COI regulations.
Unfortunately the discussion predictably fell to this individual case and the rift on council was once more highlighted with both Mayor Martin and Councillor Rick Shular implying that Lubberts was in conflict. Shular stuck to his usual choice of words: "I will not support this predicated on this case and its merits." Martin added that "The warnings were there and I believe that no action was taken." Passero merely fudged the truth by saying that the matter was "dropped in our laps about 5:55 p.m."
Of course the motion was defeated as Lubberts could not vote and it was a 3-3 tie which is defeated by default.
Now, a little to the back story: David Kompson who figures prominently in the scenario presented in the suit, was not aware that he was so honoured until after the papers were filed. This is all Thibert and Martin's doing, just as Martin figured prominently in the suit against the four councillors.
The various lawsuits and legal actions have cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. For instance, Jim Thibert's action against me for slander cost the taxpayers in excess of $20,000. It accomplished nothing. If the case against the four councillors goes against Tim Whitfield (acting as a proxy for the Mayor Martin and others,) the town insurance kicks in. It will ultimately cost the taxpayers for this lawsuit.
This is a personal grudge being played out at the taxpayers' expense.
GOOD THINGS HAPPENING IN RIDGEWAY AND CRYSTAL BEACH
Today is a great day for residents and visitors to enjoy Ridgeway and Crystal Beach as exciting things are happening.
BBQ at Joe's Valu-Mart to fund the newly formed Ridgeway Beautification Committee. Already Ridge Road has received some sprucing up and the groups has more plans as the summer goes on.
BIG GARAGE SALE IN RIDGEWAY TODAY
Sponsored by the Ridgeway BIA
Crystal Beach is alive with garage sales and returning summer residents. People are already enjoying the public beach at Bay Beach. Tremendous plans by the Crystal Beach BIA upcoming.
Keep Friday, June 13 open for what is becoming a welcome event that may soon rival the doings in Port Dover - except with bicycles. Look for the decorated bicycles coming soon to the area.