Lac La Biche County councillor Alvin Kumpula is going to do nothing about pending legal action that threatens to have him dismissed from his council seat, and perhaps even fined.
“I’m not about to say anything because I’m waiting to see what happens,” said the Ward 1 councillor last Thursday when asked about a lawsuit filed by former county councillor Phil Lane against Kumpula that says he was in contravention of the Local Authorities Election Act when he signed his nomination papers last September to become a county councillor. According to the act — and the legal firm of Tarrabain & Company who are representing Lane — a candidate cannot run for a council position if they have outstanding bills to the municipality.
“Records obtained under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act confirm that Alvin Kumpula was not eligible to be nominated as a candidate in the Lac La Biche County election of October, 2010 by reason of indebtedness”, notes the three-page file from the lawyers.
When asked by the Post if he owed money to the municipality at the time he signed his nomination papers and a candidate’s acceptance form, Kumpula said he asked county employees the same question last year when he decided to run against Lane for the Ward 1 seat.
“I’ll put it this way, I asked them at the county office if I owed any money and they looked it up by my name and said I didn’t owe any money.”
What Kumpula later found out, however, was that a piece of leased property he pays for jointly with his brother Paul did have some outstanding payments on the books.
“I guess there was a tax notice for $75 on land my brother and I have together” he said last week, a little more than four months since first being served the legal papers. In the months since then, Kumpula said he has taken no action against the allegations.
Kumpula’s inaction brought the issue back to the attention of Lac La Biche County Council earlier this month. Councillors, however, took no official action on the legal paperwork. No official motions to accept, reject or table the issue were made.
Kumpula said “ignoring it,” is the way he’s reacting to the accusations.
In the law firm’s letter, they state that Kumpula has been given ample time to “tender his resignation … providing him a less embarrassing departure.”
Kumpula said he will wait to see what Lane and his lawyers do next, but said that he believes he will be represented by the county’s legal counsel and isn’t planning on giving up his seat anytime soon.
“I have legal counsel thorough the county,” he said.
According to the Local Authorities Election Act, a candidate for elective office who signs a candidate’s acceptance form that contains a false statement is guilty of an offence and liable for a fine of not more than $1,000.