By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: June 2, 2012
The district can’t–or won’t–tell you how much was paid in insurance claim to four developers who sued the municipality in 2010.
The developers won’t say because of a possibe gag order on speaking about the case.
And the Municipal Insurance Association of BC (MIABC) won’t speak either, not even with a FOI.
So, was it $25,000, or $500,000, or was it $899,000 ? We might never know.
In 2010, four people sued the district for $899,000 claiming a district manager, who had the power over their development, was involved in a romantic relationship with a project opponent.
John Davey, Anthony Routley, Nancy Louise Routley, and Yasmin Haufschild had filed a statement of claim with Supreme Court of B.C. Dec. 18 alleging a district official, Mick Gottardi, “was the prime mover behind every attempt to identify and/or act upon a possible objection to the project.”
Court documents, and sources familar with the case, have informed the Reporter the claim was recently settled.
The Reporter tried to obtain more details about the case with a FOI request from the district, but the district deflected the query to MIABC.
The district seems to wash its hands off the matter by saying it paid MIABC a one-time deductible of $25,000, the maximum amount per claim that qualifies.
Robin Arthurs, the general manager of corporate services, said typically the district will forward the notice of claim to the insurer.
Once, it’s established that it’s an insurance claim–not a law suit—the district is no longer involved, she said.
“The analogy might be – if you get in a car accident with someone, you may pay a deductible, but ICBC handles any claims. You are no longer involved – ICBC – your insurer is and you are not involved in the settlement with the other party,” Arthurs explained.
While the analogy is helpful, it doesn’t explain how district got in an accident in the first place.
Now, the Municipal Insurance Association has flatly refused to reveal the details of that settlement, or for that matter anything at all.
Tom Barnes, the CEO of the insurance authority, said the information on insurance claims can’t be released.
“It is not our policy to disclose this type of information in order to protect private personal information and to adhere to the confidentiality of the litigation process,” said Barnes.
“The FOI legislation does not apply to our organisation,” he further added.
That is bad news for Squamish residents, who have every right to know how—and at what cost of time and money—municipal claims like these are handled.
The district has also refused to reveal details of how much it paid to the lawyers to fight cases over the past two years.
The district claims such information is private and confidential, even though it’s the tax-payer’s money that paid for the legal fees.
The Reporter requested the district to share infromation on this particular claim, assuimg that MIABC shares such information on claims that affect the district.
The district didn’t answer by press time.
Insurance authority CEO Tom Barnes email is email@example.com.
Try asking him how much was paid to settle the insurance claim with the above-mentioned developers.
May be he will tell you.