It’s hard to disagree with former Surrey mayor Bose Bose that the city’s handling of Coun. Tom Gill’s legal bills in a defamation suit, in which Gill and one of his relatives are defendants, is "a mess."
Surrey businessman Harjit Atwal is suing Gill over comments he allegedly made to the Surrey Leader newspaper concerning a violent 2010 incident involving Surrey broadcaster Maninder Gill, a family member.
Why should we care? Because we’re paying for it – the city is spending taxpayers’ money to cover Gill’s legal bills.
While the city indemnifies council members who find themselves in lawsuits related to city business, it has not established how, in any way, shape or form, this present case before the courts is anything other than a private matter.
Further, for Surrey’s city solicitor to hide behind solicitor-client privilege as an excuse for not revealing the amount of legal bills already paid on Gill’s behalf is downright cheeky.
Where’s the public oversight? Imagine someone telling you they are going to spend your hard-earned money on something while at the same time refusing to justify the expenditure or even let you know how much of your money they are spending? That, essentially, is what it happening in this case. Mayor Linda Hepner should be irate. Rather, she notes council wasn’t involved in the decision and that’s the way she wants it.
For council to weigh in, for her, would somehow constitute "a football." In this game, it appears, Joe Taxpayer has not only been sidelined, he’s been locked out of the arena.