Former Chilliwack city councillor and mayoral candidate Sam Waddington has been charged with two counts of breach of trust by a public officer. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Progress file)

Former Chilliwack city councillor charged with breach of trust over expense claims

Sam Waddington faces two counts from 2017 related to allegations

Two years after accusations first surfaced, former City of Chilliwack councillor and 2018 mayoral candidate Sam Waddington has been criminally charged with breach of trust over allegations regarding expenses while in office.

Waddington faces two counts of breach of trust by public officer, one offence dated May 29, 2017, the second Dec. 5, 2017.

The Progress became aware of the charges before Tuesday’s council meeting after members of city council were informed. Waddington has not yet had a court appearance in the case.

Asked on Wednesday to comment, the 30-year-old declined to do so because the matter is before the courts.

“No statement from my end at this point,” he said via text.

Questions over Waddington’s expenses emerged before and during the municipal election in which he ran for mayor against former mayor Sharon Gaetz and the winner of that election, Ken Popove.

In September 2018, an independent auditor was hired by city hall with the findings to be referred to the RCMP.

Gaetz and Popove (who was a councillor at the time) recused themselves from a discussion at a special meeting of council to decide to hire the auditor.

“We chose to do so, so that there could be no suggestion it was an attempt to influence the election,” Gaetz said a year ago.

• READ MORE: Waddington expense claims being sent to the RCMP

Both Gaetz and now retired councillor Chuck Stam had filed freedom of information (FOI) requests for details about out-of-town conferences and meetings for which Waddington filed expense claims.

Some of the people Waddington said he met with came forward to say the meetings never happened.

At that time, he called the “tens of thousands” of dollars of taxpayer money spent to investigate his $1,500 in expenses a political move.

“I don’t believe this effort is administrative, I believe it is political,” Waddington said. “And it’s going to be a very expensive endeavour for the city, so it will be up to the public to decide if this was the right course of action to take.”

The charges Waddington face come under section 122 of the criminal code, which states: “Every official who, in connection with the duties of his office, commits fraud or a breach of trust is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, whether or not the fraud or breach of trust would be an offence if it were committed in relation to a private person.”

See www.theprogress.com for more details as they become available.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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