OTTAWA – The RCMP has obtained hotel receipts showing suspended Senator Mike Duffy stayed in a Charlottetown hotel during the winter, despite claiming his permanent residence was in Prince Edward Island, according to newly filed court documents.
Investigators say Duffy spent 35 nights in PEI during the winter months between 2009 and 2012. But there’s no evidence Duffy spent any of those nights at his cottage in Cavendish.
Instead, the Mounties have evidence Duffy was staying at hotels in Charlottetown, despite the fact the house Duffy was claiming as his principal residence was less than an hour’s drive away.
Duffy admitted in a media interview last year that he stays at the Great George Hotel in Charlottetown to be close to the hospital during the winter months, Cpl. Greg Horton writes in the document.
The document shows when the Mounties looked into Duffy’s winter travel patterns, hotel stays were the norm.
Duffy regularly stayed at the Great George, which is described as Charlottetown’s historic boutique hotel, in 2011 and 2012, according to the documents.
Prior to that, Duffy frequented the Charlottetown Hotel, allege the documents. On one of the Senate expense claims referencing a stay in January 2009, his office used the weather to justify the hotel booking.
“His home in Cavendish is not on the main highway, and when a winter storm hits, it’s the best to stay in town; The house in Cavendish is snowed in,” his office assistant said at the time.
The document also states the evidence suggests that during the 16 winter months, or 481 days, between 2009 and 2012, Duffy only spent 35 days in PEI.
“Senator Duffy has collected almost $90,000 from the Senate, claiming that his primary residence is a cottage that he does not live in for at least four months of each year,” Horton writes.
The RCMP have been investigating Duffy since last summer for bribery, breach of trust and fraud related to housing and travel expenses he claimed as a senator, allegations he used Senate resources to pay a friend for little or no work, and receiving a $90,000 cheque from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright for the purpose of repaying questionable expenses.
Duffy has not been charged with any crimes. He is one of four former or suspended senators facing allegations over improper expenses claims, including Patrick Brazeau, Mac Harb and Pamela Wallin.
Harb and Brazeau face charges of fraud and breach of trust.