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Town of Qualicum Beach pays for mayor’s $130,000 defamation settlement

Town’s insurance policy covers all but deductible and personal costs

The Town of Qualicum Beach has paid for Mayor Teunis Westbroek’s $130,000 fine from the civil defamation claim against him when he was still a councillor.

Chief Administrative Officer Lou Varela provided the information via press release on Friday after inquiries from the public. The PQB News had also made several inquiries of city representatives and their lawyers to find out who paid for the settlement in the recent civil action between Ken Schley, John Briuolo and Kelland Foods Holdings Ltd. and Westbroek.

“The Town wishes to clarify that the total settlement amount of $130,000 paid to Mr. Schley and Mr. Briuolo was covered by the Town’s liability protection insurance policy held with the Municipal Insurance Association of BC (MIABC),” the press release stated. “Pursuant to the Town’s liability protection insurance policy, the Town has paid a $10,000 deductible on account of the insurance claim. Mayor Westbroek also paid $2,839 personally towards his personal legal fees.”

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach mayor settles defamation case with public apology, $130K settlement

The release also indicated that as with any insurance claim, impacts to the town’s claims rating and premiums are dependent on the insurer’s annual assessment of overall claims history, the results of which are unknown at this time.

Westbroek avoided a court hearing by settling the claim that involves both a public apology and payment for damages and legal fees. Westbroek was accused of making statements regarding the complainants during an in-camera meeting of council, and also at an open meeting of council as well as during an informational meeting with two other members of council in a public restaurant where his comments were heard by other people.

Westbroek apologized for defamatory statements regarding Schley and Briuolo and a business they formerly owned, Qualicum Foods.

“It was wrong of me to have made statements to this effect and I am remorseful for my actions,” Westbroek declared.

— NEWS Staff, submitted

Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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