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Conflict-of-interest case costs Municipality plenty

Last Updated Feb 5, 2019 at 3:26 pm MST

Council meets on Nov. 23, 2018, to discuss homelessness, Shell Place, and where cannabis retail stores can open in the region. PHOTO. Nathalia Cordeau-Hilliard. Reporter.

The costs of litigation in the Councillor Balsom conflict of interest case were certainly high for the Municipality, costing Wood Buffalo nearly $105,000.

Chief Administrative Officer, Annette Antoniak, confirmed the Municipality incurred $83,588.00 (excluding GST) in legal fees so far with disbursements costs totalling $1,002.98 (excluding GST).

“We are committed to responsible government and ensuring we are open in our communication to the public, so we are sharing the costs incurred by the Municipality as a result of this process.”

A third-party investigation found Councillor Krista Balsom had a conflict of interest when she voted on key Council decisions. However, the Court of Queen’s Bench found she acted in good faith, and the legal counsel she requested before those critical votes were incorrect. The cost of that investigation cost the Municipality another $19,932.66 (excluding GST).

Altogether, the amount the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo incurred is $104,523.64 (excluding GST).