Susanna Kaljur vs Ted Haraldson, John Doe #1, John Doe #2, John Doe #3 and John Doe #4 – in the Supreme Court of British Columbia

Union Bay Improvement District will be mailing out apology letter contrary to Haraldson’s claim “that’s why there is a newspaper”.

From: Peter Johnson <pjohnson@sms.bc.ca> 
Sent: February 15, 2019 2:32 PM
To: Jason Gratl <jason@gratlandcompany.com>
Subject: Union Bay Improvement District

Mr. Gratl:

I am legal counsel to the Union Bay Improvement District.

I have been asked to advise you that in response to your letter dated February 12, 2019, addressed to members of the Board of Trustees, the attached letter has been posted to the Union Bay Improvement District website, and that a copy of the letter has been sent to your client.  

The Improvement District does not have the resources available to mail a copy of this letter to each elector today. The Improvement District is prepared to mail a copy of the letter with the next water bills, which will be sent out at the beginning of March.

I trust this satisfies your client’s concerns regarding the decision to suspend her from office.

Peter Johnson*

*Peter D. Johnson Law Corporation           

2nd Floor 837 Burdett Avenue | Victoria, BC V8W 1B3

Phone 250 380 7744 | Fax 250 380 3008

pjohnson@sms.bc.ca | www.sms.bc.ca  

The contents of this electronic mail transmission are privileged and confidential and for the sole use of the designated recipient. If this message has been misdirected please delete it and advise our office.

Haraldson states: “that the change of dates for the election and nomination period was a “strictly administrational” (sic) change, in order to fix an error in the original posting and comply with Elections BC.

Haraldson quotes from the article below:

“Those election dates were set wrong the previous election, and that’s why we are [changing them],”

“The change didn’t [require] her to be there, or myself.” 

What is the point of a Board?! The Administrator has no decision making power only the Board has the power to make decisions which affect Landowners such as dates for elections and AGM.  

PROVINCE WON’T BE STEPPING IN TO UNION BAY DISAGREEMENTS


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James Wood

JAMES WOOD, STAFF FRIDAY, FEB. 15TH, 2019

 The community of Union Bay is pictured in a Goat News file photo. Photo by James Wood/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio 

UNION BAY, B.C- The provincial government won’t be taking any action in Union Bay.

In recent days, four trustees of the district’s elected board have apologized to their fifth board member, Susanna Kaljur, who was “suspended” earlier in 2019. Kaljur had threatened legal action earlier this week over her suspension, and other actions taken by the board.

RELATED: https://www.mycomoxvalleynow.com/48594/union-bay-suspends-trustee-susanna-kaljur-indefinitely/

In a letter, the four trustees have said they were told by the province’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing that there are no provisions under the Local Government Act allowing the board to suspend an elected trustee from office.

“We acknowledge that the decision to suspend Trustee Kaljur is of no force or effect,” read the letter.

“We sincerely apologize to Trustee Kaljur for our actions in this manner and regret any inconvenience our decision may have caused her. We hope that as a Board, moving forward, we can work collectively and cooperatively to serve the interests of our residents.”

Kaljur had also threatened legal action against Haraldson specifically, due to what Gratl described as defamatory statements by Haraldson published by MyComoxValleyNow.com in an interview after Kaljur’s suspension.

In the wake of Kaljur’s first letter, the newsroom reached out to the municipal affairs ministry to get clarity what the board can do and what they can’t do.

Asked if the board had any legal authourity to remove or suspend another trustee board member, Municipal Affairs said the Local Government Act did not include specific provisions regarding the suspension of improvement district trustees.

They also said the province couldn’t provide legal advice to an improvement district, when asked if they planned to instruct the board to take different action or allow Kaljur to return.

They were unaware of any previous instances of improvement district trustees taking legal action against their fellow trustees.

In the wake of the apology, Kaljur has indicated that it was only one of the things she was looking for.

“There are a number of issues which the board has not addressed adequately, which may result in further legal action,” she said, in a written statement.

“Both the apology for suspension letter and the apology letter from Ted Haraldson for defamation against myself (which has not yet been received) must be sent by mail to every landowner as Union Bay has a large number of seniors who do not use computers.”

Kaljur is also questioning the validity of any decisions that were made at UBID board meetings during her suspension.

“The board meetings of January and February 2019 occurred without my knowledge or public notice, due to my being illegally suspended,” she said. “Now that the board has agreed this was illegal, this decision renders those meetings null and void which includes the highly irregular alteration of Union Bay’s election days and AGM.

“The simplest, fairest remedy is for the original election dates, open/close of nominations and the AGM revert back to the original dates voted on and passed at the 2018 AGM April 19, 2018.”

Asked about the validity of actions taken by the district board in the last two months, during Kaljur’s suspension, the ministry supplied the following.

“In regards to decisions that were made by the UBID in the last two months, this is under the realm of legal advice and the province cannot provide this,” read the statement.

“The Ministry continues to be available to the improvement district to assist, where appropriate, as it works through its challenges.”

Asked to clarify what they meant, the ministry again stated that they or any other ministry cannot provide legal advice to improvement districts or local governments.

“Further, the ministry cannot comment on decisions that may be subject to legal action.”

Today was the deadline for the other demands in Kaljur’s letter, which included an apology from board chair Ted Haraldson.

“Until all these conditions are met I will not be accepting any apology and I will have no other recourse but proceed with my lawsuit,” said Kaljur.

The newsroom reached out to Haraldson for comment today but did not hear back. However, he did speak to the Comox Valley Record, saying that the board had complied with all the demands it deems reasonable.

The same apology letter from the board will not be sent to landowners in Union Bay by mail, according to Haraldson’s comments.

“The apology has gone out on our website, [which] goes to all the landowners,” said Haroldson, speaking to the paper.

“It has not been mailed out – it’s gone out on the website to all the landowners.”

Haraldson also told the paper that the change of dates for the election and nomination period was a “strictly administrational” change, in order to fix an error in the original posting and comply with Elections BC.

“Those election dates were set wrong the previous election, and that’s why we are [changing them],” he said, to the paper.

“The change didn’t [require] her to be there, or myself.”

The upcoming election and annual general meeting are the following.

March 5 – Call for nominations

April 2 – Nomination window closes

April 9 – Advance poll

April 20 – Election

April 25 – Annual general meeting

Haraldson also saw no reason for an apology, saying there was no defamation of character.

The next Union Bay board meeting will be held on Thursday, February 21st, at the Union Bay Hall.

Update on the Record article

The following was added to the article from yesterday.

https://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/news/union-bay-improvement-district-board-apologizes-to-trustee/

Union Bay Improvement District board apologizes to trustee; deadline remains for other demands

When contacted by The Record, Haraldson said the board has complied with all the demands it deems reasonable.

The publicly posted apology will not be sent to landowners by mail.

“The apology has gone out on our website, [which] goes to all the landowners,” said Haroldson. “It has not been mailed out – it’s gone out on the website to all the landowners.”

When asked how those without computers are to receive the apology, Haroldson was curt.

“That’s why there’s a newspaper.”

According to Haraldson, the change of dates for the election and nomination period was to rectify an error in the original posting and was strictly administerial, in order to comply with Elections BC.

“Those election dates were set wrong the previous election, and that’s why we are [changing them],” he said. The change didn’t [require] her to be there, or myself.”

The dates for the upcoming election and annual general meeting are as follows:

March 5 – Call for nominations

April 2 – Nomination window closes

April 9 – Advance poll

April 20 – Election

April 25 – Annual general meeting

As for a personal apology regarding the allegations of defamation of character, Haraldson sees no reason for an apology.

“There is no defamation of character,” he said.


Union Bay Improvement District board apologizes to trustee; deadline remains for other demands

https://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/news/union-bay-improvement-district-board-apologizes-to-trustee/

UBID board complies with one of the demands of a letter threatening legal action

The Union Bay Improvement District board has complied with one of the demands of a letter sent by the lawyer of suspended trustee Susanna Kaljur.

On Jan. 10, UBID trustees Ted Haraldson, Rick Bitten, Glenn Loxam and Peter Jacques voted unanimously to suspend Kaljur from the board, for what they deemed as inappropriate behaviour.

RELATED: UBID board suspends trustee

Kaljur challenged the suspension, saying it had no legal standing.

The board received a letter from Kaljur’s legal counsel on Feb. 12, demanding a published apology signed by Haraldson, Bitten, Loxam and Jacques, with the threat of a lawsuit for non-compliance.

RELATED: Trustee threatens legal action against UBID board

There was a Feb. 15 deadline to meet the demands of the letter.

On Feb. 14, the UBID board posted a letter of apology on its website, signed by the four trustees who originally voted to suspend Kaljur.

“We have been advised by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing that there are no provisions under the Local Government Act allowing the Board to suspend an elected Trustee from office,” read the note, in part. “We acknowledge that the decision to suspend Trustee Kaljur is of no force or effect. We sincerely apologize to Trustee Kaljur for our actions in this manner and regret any inconvenience our decision may have caused her.

“We hope that as a Board, moving forward, we can work collectively and cooperatively to serve the interests of our residents.” (see end of article for pdf of letter)

A second portion of the Feb. 12 letter threatened legal action against Haroldson specifically, for what Kaljur’s counsel deemed as defamatory comments “published in the Comox Valley Now(sic) online newspaper.”

Kaljur pointed out that the publicly posted apology was only one of the demands in the letter.

“There are a number of issues which the board has not addressed adequately, which may result in further legal action,” she said.

“Both the apology for suspension letter and the apology letter from Ted Haraldson for defamation against myself (which has not yet been received) must be sent by mail to every landowner as Union Bay has a large number of seniors who do not use computers.”

Kaljur is also questioning the validity of any decisions that were made at UBID board meetings during her illegal suspension.

“The board meetings of January and February 2019 occurred without my knowledge or public notice, due to my being illegally suspended,” she said. “Now that the board has agreed this was illegal, this decision renders those meetings null and void which includes the highly irregular alteration of Union Bay’s election days and AGM.

“The simplest, fairest remedy is for the original election dates, open/close of nominations and the AGM revert back to the original dates voted on and passed at the 2018 AGM April 19, 2018.”

The Feb. 15 deadline remains in place for all other demands in the letter.

“Until all these conditions are met I will not be accepting any apology and I will have no other recourse but proceed with my lawsuit,” said Kaljur.

Suspended Union Bay trustee threatens legal action against UBID board

https://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/news/suspended-union-bay-trustee-threatens-legal-action-against-ubid-board/

Suspended Union Bay trustee threatens legal action against UBID board

Legal counsel for Susanna Kaljur contends suspension is baseless; demands apology

Suspended Union Bay Improvement District trustee Susanna Kaljur has threatened legal action against the other UBID trustees – Ted Haraldson, Rick Bitten, Glenn Loxam and Peter Jacques – claiming her suspension from the board has no legal standing.

She has also demanded a written apology from UBID chair Haraldson for “false and defamatory” statements published on the “Comox Valley Now” (sic) online newspaper.

A Feb. 12 letter to the trustees, sent by Jason Gratl, legal counsel for Kaljur, stated the Jan. 10 decision to suspend Kaljur indefinitely is baseless.

“There is no provision of the Local Government Act or regulations thereunder, or even a District Bylaw that allows for the removal of an elected trustee,” Gratl said in the letter.

The letter goes on to insist that each one of the aforementioned remaining trustees “publicly acknowledge that your purported removal is of no force and effect,” and demands that the acknowledgement be mailed to every elector in the Union Bay Improvement District. It offers a Feb. 15, 4 p.m. deadline for the acknowledgement, to avoid a lawsuit.

The second part of the letter deals with a quote Haraldson is alleged to have offered to the Comox Valley Now (sic) online publication.

The Feb. 12 letter addresses the following quotes: “As a trustee making these statements in a public blog about our employee is certainly cyber bullying” and that the “allegations can create … public safety concerns to UBID” and that “she’s endangering the public” by telling the public that a water turbidity threshold has been exceeded.

(See end of article for copy of the letter.)

According to the letter, “These statements are false and defamatory. Nothing Ms. Kaljur has said about any UBID employee amounts to cyber bullying. Trustee Kaljur has not created public safety issues. Trustee Kaljur has not endangered the public.”

Gratl then requests a written apology from Haraldson to Kaljur, with the same Feb. 15 (4 p.m.) deadline.

“Should you fail to make this apology, I am instructed to commence a lawsuit against you personally.”

Kaljur expects the board to comply with the demands listed within the letter.

“It is in the best interest of the landowners we serve, that the current Trustees; Ted Haraldson, Rick Bitten, Peter Jacques and Glenn Loxam, comply with these demands,” adding that she will follow through with a lawsuit should the contents of the letter be ignored. “I will be pursuing legal action against each trustee personally should they choose not to comply… My legal counsel Jason Gratl has made this very clear in the letter sent to the trustees.”

When Haraldson was contacted by The Record for comment, he said, in both instances, there has been no decision regarding any response to the requests.

“No decision at this time; that’s all I can really say right now.”

Kaljur is hopeful of a resolution, stating that, as an elected official, she has a responsibility to her constituents.

“I will continue to serve until April 2020 and to carry out my commitment to the electors,” she said. “I took an Oath of Office to be honest and uphold our bylaws, policies and the Local Government Act. I have done so and shall continue to do so.”