City, mayor refute allegations

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Statement of defence filed in former council candidate's defamation suit

A statement of defence filed earlier this month has revealed Mayor Nolan Crouse was the author of one of the election-finance complaints filed with the city’s returning officer last April.

Crouse and the City of St. Albert are both named as defendants in a defamation suit filed by Ted Durham, who unsuccessfully ran for city council during the 2013 municipal election.

The statements of defence were filed Jan. 16 in Edmonton at the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Durham is suing the city and Crouse for defamation based on the election complaints, and also over Crouse’s letter to Durham’s employer that was sent on city letterhead.

Durham is seeking $7,220.28 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages according to his statement of claim filed in early December.

The statements of defence both seek dismissal of the action as well as costs. They deny that Durham has suffered any damage or injury with regards to the election complaints filed with the city or Crouse’s letter to Durham’s employer.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In Crouse’s statement of defence, it is revealed that Crouse wrote one of the two complaints that were filed in April, alleging some candidates should have included advertising that wasn’t paid for by their personal campaigns as an election contribution.

“On April 18, 2014 Crouse made a complaint to the City of St. Albert Returning Officer with respect to six candidates, including Durham, stating that the candidates, including Durham, did not completely or accurately disclose all information required to complete their disclosure statements,” Crouse’s statement of defence says.

Both the city and Crouse’s statements claim the subject matter of the complaints were matters of public interest.

Neither the City of St. Albert nor Crouse wished to comment at this time since the matter is currently making its way through the legal system.

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