RDEK pens letter of support for Gerry Taft

Mr. Taft requests letter to help with his legal case going back to 2015

The Regional District of East Kootenay was unanimous in their decision to send a letter of support to the Municipal Insurance Association of BC (MIA) on behalf of Gerry Taft. Mr. Taft approached the RDEK board of directors to pen a letter to the MIA to support his case that he was acting in his capacity as mayor when he made a comment on a Facebook page that led to the local mayor being sued for defamation.

On Thursday, May 4th, the District of Invermere’s mayor was found guilty of making a defamatory statement and was ordered to pay $75,000 in damages. Mr. Taft is appealing the MIA’s decision to not use liability insurance to cover him during this trial.

“The municipal insurance has said no to coverage for the lawsuit originally and that it was prior to going to court. So I proceeded, went to court, paid my own legal fees out of my own pocket with no support from the district or from municipal insurance,” said Mr. Taft. “Through the whole time I disagreed with their lack of coverage and it’s my opinion that I wouldn’t have been sued if I wasn’t mayor and that I do think municipal insurance should kick in.”

According to Rob Gay, chair of the RDEK, the MIA is an organization that municipalities and regional districts are part of and the MIA provides them with liability insurance.

“I feel I’m always wearing the regional district hat when I’m out in public and I think that was fairly common around the table. The mayor of Kimberley, the mayor of Elkford, when they’re at social events, or when they’re grocery shopping, or when they’re getting a haircut, if people ask about municipal business they’ll give them their view and their position as mayor. So that’s what our letter was, we can’t argue with the court and the judge determined Gerry Taft’s guilt but we did want MIA to have a second look at it,” said Mr. Gay.

With the letter of support from the RDEK, Mr. Taft will ask for the MIA to reconsider their decision that he was not acting in his capacity as mayor when he made the comment online. The letter provided by the other regional directors will go towards Mr. Taft’s case for the MIA.

“The letter that we’re providing would be some of his support. That his board supports that … when he made his comments, he had his mayor’s hat on. That’s all we’re trying to do, get a ruling on that,” said Mr. Gay.

Mr. Taft stated that one of the comments the municipal insurance made in their statement regarding lack of coverage was that Mr. Taft didn’t make the comments in his office.

“I don’t actually have a physical office as mayor and I think there’s a real disconnect between what might happen in a large city and what happens in a small town,” said Mr. Taft.

At this point Mr. Taft has paid $35,000 in legal fees for his own defense out of his own pocket. The judgment of $75,000 plus award that could exceed $150,000 has yet to be paid.

“Fundamentally and philosophically it seems wrong that someone should potentially lose their house or lose property or 15 years of community service and a potential $200,000 cost should come out of the pocket of an individual just doesn’t seem right to me,” said Mr. Taft.

Mr. Taft expressed to the Pioneer his intention to approach his own Council, hopefully at the upcoming council meeting on Tuesday, September 12th to ask for a letter in support stating they believe he was acting in his capacity as mayor.

Just Posted

Radium council discusses short term rentals

RHS council are elaborating the second draft plan for STR

Invermere gets new CAO

Invermere found his new CAO after a long period of research.

Doctor Creek fire finally ‘being held’

The wildfire in Canal Flats is under control

Mount Nelson Community Garden

The Community Garden in the Mount Nelson Athletic Park is now full of vegies, herbs and flowers.

KCP accepts proposal for Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund

CVLCF will now provide financial support for local projects

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Most Read