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Union Bay trustee launches legal action against board chair

UNION BAY, B.C- A trustee of the Union Bay Improvement District is officially suing the chair of the board.

According to a notice of civil claim, trustee Susanna Kaljur has started legal action against UBID chair Ted Haraldson for defamation.

The notice names Haraldson as a defendant, as well as four John Does, who had a role in the defamation of her character.

It states that there has been a “sustained public effort to politically marginalize and humiliate the plaintiff, including persistently interrupting the plaintiff at board meetings, claiming that the plaintiff was not entitled to vote on or propose corrections to board meeting minutes, and repeatedly evicting and excluding the plaintiff from board meetings by various means.”

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The full court filing can be found here: Notice of Civil Claim (Kaljur) Feb 25 2019 (filed)

Earlier this month, Kaljur’s lawyer Jason Gratl had sent a letter to the board threatening legal action after her “suspension” on January 10th. In the letter, Haraldson was given a deadline of February 15th to acknowledge the suspension of Kaljur was illegal, along with sending a written apology.

Shortly afterwards, a written apology was posted to the UBID website signed by Haraldson and the three other trustees. At the time, Haraldson told the Comox Valley Record that there were no plans to mail out the letter, which has now been set in motion.

Four days after that latter was posted online, the remaining public board meetings in February and March, which were already closed to the public, were cancelled by Haraldson without explanation.

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The newsroom spoke with Gratl about the court action.

According to Gratl, Haraldson should apologize for what he’s said about Kaljur.

“Mr. Haraldson should apologize for his defamatory remarks,” said Gratl.

“They were wrong, damaging, and without any foundation.”

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He would also have to make a contribution towards Kaljur’s legal fees.

Gratl also noted that Kaljur’s court action is addressed to Haraldson in his personal capacity, not in his capacity as chair of the district, which was meant to not cost the district money.

“The suggestion that Mr Haraldson and the other trustees had reason to attempt to indefinitely suspend Ms Kaljur, that concern was raised against the trustees in their personal capacity, rather than in their capacity as trustees, because of course, lacking any legal authourity, these individuals couldn’t have been acting in their capacity as trustees,” said Gratl.

“To my mind and Ms. Kaljur’s mind, the taxpayers shouldn’t be footing any of the legal fees or expenses for this dispute.”

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According to Gratl, Haraldson’s lawyer has confirmed receipt of the civil suit.

A request for comment has been sent to Haraldson.

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