UPDATE: City of Penticton loses legal dispute against Penticton Hospitality Association
UPDATE: 4:40 Global News speaks to both sides of the legal battle.
Rob Appelman, President of the Penticton Hospitality Association (PHA), is feeling triumphant this week.
“I was very happy that the judge put it in the PHA’s favour,” says Appelman. “We knew in the beginning that we did no wrong.”
But this wasn’t a decision the City of Penticton expected.
“When you lose, you wish you hadn’t played the game,” says Penticton Mayor Garry Litke.
Litke still believes that going to court was the right option for the dispute because the City had already exhausted all its other options.
He admits that this is not how the City likes to spend taxpayers money, having to pay its and PHA’s legal bills.
“It just proves the point that from the beginning, the City didn’t have a good case,” says Appelman. “It was even more frivolous to start it.”
Appelman says the PHA has not calulated its total legal costs yet.
Litke believes the PHA’s legal bill is much less than the City’s, and believes the total will not exceed $60,000.
Both parties say they will continue collaborating with one another to promote Penticton.
UPDATE 3:30 p.m. Thursday: City of Penticton releases statement on HRT decision.
PDF document linked here: 2014-07-31 HRT decision
PENTICTON, B.C. – It’s been a nine month legal battle, which Wednesday, came to an end.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has dismissed the City’s petition against the Penticton Hospitality Association for mishandling marketing money.
Global News has read the judge’s decision and confirmed it with Tim Hodgkinson, a member of the PHA .
Hodgkinson was all smiles, but did not want to comment, saying he wants to save it for a formal news conference.
However, this is new information for Penticton’s mayor, who first heard of the judgement through Global News.
“I got to go back to my office and take a look at it,” says Mayor Garry Litke, who says he won’t be providing further comment until seeing the documents.
“But I am glad this is finally over, no matter what the decision was,” says Litke.
Since May, the City has spent $41,769.75 in legal fees.
Having lost this court case, taxpayers will be paying even more because the City will have to foot the bill for PHA’s legal costs as well.
Read the City of Penticton statement on the HRT decision here: 2014-07-31 HRT decision