Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples and her lawyers are asking that a petition to the Supreme Court of B.C. for a judicial review seeking to remove her from office be struck down. Court documents filed on behalf of Staples by Paul Hildebrand, a lawyer with the Vancouver-based law firm Lidstone & Company, said the petition, signed by Duncan resident Mark Anderson and 10 other yet-to-be identified residents, was filed without any supporting affidavits, as is required.
The documents also said Staples had not been personally served with the petition, as the Community Charter requires, and it was, instead, delivered to the reception desk at Duncan’s municipal hall.
“The Community Charter requires a petition proceeding of this nature to be served on the person whose right to hold office is being challenged, and on the municipality, within seven days after the petition was filed,” the documents said.
“This service requirement has not been complied with and is a mandatory statutory requirement.”
The application to dismiss the petition will be heard on Friday, July 24.
The petition alleges there are reasonable grounds to believe that Staples is in a number of conflicts of interest over grant payments and directing grant money to organizations in which she is involved or has an interest.
The petition states that Staples, as well as being mayor of Duncan, also works as the executive director of Social Planning Cowichan and through that position, has received income by way of contracts from the Cowichan Housing Association, the Canadian Mental Health Association and Cowichan Green Community.
It states that as an elected official, Staples sits on the boards of leadership groups and participates on committees, while partnering with Social Planning Cowichan as well as the other listed agencies at the same time.
“Michelle Staples does not declare a conflict or recuse herself from any discussions where she has a direct financial interests in the matter,” the petition says.
None of the allegations have been proven in court, and Staples has denied any wrongdoing.