The Mayor of Surrey, BC, says he has gone back on his vow to order Mayor Doug McCallum to pay his own legal fees in his public nuisance lawsuit.
As McCallum’s trial began Monday, his immediate successor Brenda Locke said in an interview that taxpayers should not be on the hook.
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“Right now, they are,” Locke told Global News. “When I was elected, within days, I directed staff to stop paying any more legal bills for Doug McCallum, and going forward, they will not be paid for by the taxpayer.”
He said he has also asked city staff to seek outside legal advice on recovering the lost tax dollars.
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When asked how much, Locke said he could not share that information due to legal advice.
“I can’t give you a number but I can tell you it’s important,” he said.
“The public cried foul and clearly. They don’t want to pay Mr. McCallum’s legal fees for public abuse.”
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Global News has reached out to McCallum for a response.
In December 2021, shortly after his impeachment, the city announced that taxpayers would pay his salaries, citing his salary ordinance, which applies to all employees, officers and council members. .
“The city shall pay the city officials to pay any sums required or incurred in the defense of any action, suit or claim brought against any city official in connection with the action, to or exercise the rights of the person, to act or perform the duties of the person. and actions including the enforcement of the judgment, award or sentence imposed in relation to the historical facts,” the constitution says.
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John Alexander, a lawyer with the Cox Taylor firm in Victoria, said the law was very specific.
“It says the payment is a fee to defend a claim or lawsuit, but for that person to exercise their rights and perform their duties,” he said.
There’s the real issue of legal fees, as McCallum previously said he was serving as mayor at the time of the incident, while others say he was on time.
— and files from Simon Little
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