Saanich mayor sued by former campaign worker

Saanich woman claims $1,400 for insurance on car that was provided to her

Mayor Richard Atwell is being sued for $1,400 by a former campaign worker over the use of a car following the 2014 municipal election.

Saanich resident Cynthia Carlsen worked on Atwell’s mayoral campaign that saw him defeat 18-year incumbent Frank Leonard in the Nov. 15, 2014 election.

The civil claim Carlsen filed says she was given a car to drive that he owned, a 2007 Audi, late in 2015. The use of the car was in lieu of payment for her work. She is asking to be reimbursed for the $1,191 insurance bill she paid as she was listed as the primary operator of the vehicle. However, she said she drove it no more than two months when Atwell came to her house in the middle of the night and reclaimed the car.

“I have repeatedly asked him to refund the insurance money that I paid for,” Carlsen states.

Carlsen is also asking for compound interest at 14.99 per cent per month for seven months, which is $108, and a $20 service fee for a total number sought of $1,419.12.

Clouding the issue is an affair between Atwell and Carlsen that Atwell admitted to in January 2015.

Atwell said he is reimbursing Carlsen and responding to the claim through his lawyer.

“The car was to help her out during our relationship. After the relationship ended, she texted me to remove the car and I did,” said Atwell. “Her contribution to the campaign was as a volunteer and has been mischaracterized by her. I have correspondence from her that verifies her role as a volunteer.”

Atwell said it’s part of some serious misunderstandings that will be resolved.

“I will work to correct them, but my primary focus is Saanich and doing the best for the community.”

 

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