Former Greenwood councillor Barry Noll has filed a civil claim in Kelowna court against the city, mayor and council. He alleges that he was libelled in a press release issued by council on March 10, 2014.
The dispute began at a special meeting of council on Wednesday, Feb. 19 when council voted unanimously (Noll was not present) to remove Noll from his seat as city representative at the Regional District Kootenay Boundary board table. They alleged he had violated Section 117 of the community Charter, which requires a member of council to keep in confidence anything in-camera or not part of the public record.
At the next regular council meeting on Feb. 24 Noll issued a prepared statement saying, “Under legal advice I will not be attending any in-camera meetings at this time without legal representation.
An editorial criticizing the lack of transparency in the dispute was published in the Boundary Creek Times on Feb. 27. At the March 10 regular meeting Greenwood council issued a press release listing their reasons for removing Noll from his seat at the regional district.
That press release was published in the Boundary Creek Times. Noll alleges he was libelled in the press release.
Documents filed by Noll in the Kelowna court registry last week state that council and mayor received a letter from Noll’s lawyer regarding the press release and stating terms and conditions expected. When there was no response, a second letter was sent seeking resolution. A third letter was sent on Dec. 17, 2014.
With the issue still unresolved, Noll filed his civil court claim on Feb. 19, 2015. Noll told the Times his case has been prepared with the help of his private lawyer, but he will to be representing himself in the case.
“We will have to deal with it as a city,” said Mayor Ed Smith when asked for comment. He did confirm he had been served with the court papers on Monday, Feb. 23 and that council had met in-camera on the issue.
Named as defendants are the Corporation of the City of Greenwood, Mayor and Council, Nipper Kettle, Darla Ashton, Lee Cudworth, Colleen Lang, Ed Smith and Nola Tutti.
Noll is seeking the following: an apology in the Boundary Creek Times, full reimbursement for all monies received by council’s representative of the RD and WKBRHD boards, compensation for loss of dignity and self-respect and legal costs.
When reached on Wednesday night for a comment Noll said, “Municipal politicians should not be expected to be partisan. They are grassroots politicians and as community leaders are elected to speak freely. I continue to look for a resolution on these matters.”
The defendants have 21 days to respond if served in Canada; 35 days if served the court documents in the United States.