Nanaimo’s mayor is firing back after Council went public yesterday with allegations of secret business dealings.
“The statements are based on speculation, innuendo, misstatements of facts and a misreading of the law. The release of Council’s press release is completely and wholly an effort to discredit, embarrass, and humiliate me publicly,” said Mayor Bill McKay.
It came in response to allegations from Council that he was cutting a secret business deal with a ferry company, and hadn’t disclosed a trip to China paid for by the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation and attended by local developers.
“Signing non-disclosure agreements with private companies that Council is not aware of, failure to disclose that event – and receiving free trips and things is also concerning,” says Nanaimo Councillor Bill Bestwick.
He says the allegations came after Council voted last spring to conduct an investigation into the mayor’s affairs.
He says an additional allegation, that McKay disclosed confidential personnel information, has been forwarded to the RCMP.
“We’re bound by our fiduciary responsibilities and duties and the Charter not to share certain pieces of personnel information that may harm the city, and in this case we believe that has happened.”
McKay says he won’t address the individual allegations but says they amount to nothing more than a smear campaign, launched by rival Councillors on what he describes as a 5-4 split Council.
“It’s one group of Council who appear to take great lengths to destroy members of the other group,” he said.
He says civic politics in the city have become highly charged, and that around 10 senior municipal staff have quit in the last year.
Indeed, there’s no doubt friction in the city’s government has been building.
Back in March, seven of eight Councillors signed a letter expressing a lack of confidence in the mayor, citing allegations he was bullying the city’s interim chief administrative officer.
No word yet from the RCMP.