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UCP top adviser billed taxpayers $45,000 in expenses, including luxury London hotel stays: NDP

Opposition accuses UCP staffer of spending thousands on questionable trips
WATCH: The NDP is accusing the premier's top adviser or spending $45,000 on trips with no obvious purpose. Jason Kenney's office is not apologizing; instead, pointing out the staffer was doing what the NDP didn't. Fletcher Kent reports.

The UCP are again being accused of mismanaging taxpayer dollars. The NDP claims the UCP spent thousands on a high-level provincial staffer’s travel, amounting to what the opposition is calling a “life of luxury.”

On Wednesday, NDP critic for democracy and ethics, Heather Sweet, said that the NDP had obtained invoices that show Premier Jason Kenney‘s principal adviser David Knight Legg had billed over $45,000 in expenses over a six-month period, including $18,000 in relation to four recent trips to London.

“While he was in London, Mr. Knight Legg stayed in five-star hotels,” said Sweet.

“Even as Premier Kenney is saying the province is broke, even as he’s cutting funding for schools and hospitals, cutting the benefits for disabled Albertans… the premier’s own staff are living a life of luxury.”

READ MORE: Alberta budget 2019 includes cuts to cities, civil servants, universities

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Some of the expenses outlined from the NDP include a three-night stay in September at Kettners totaling nearly $1,200 British Pounds, a hotel in London’s Soho neighbourhood that describes itself as “a home to aristocrats.”

Invoices show that Knight Legg stayed at the Kettners hotel previously in June and August for two other trips, as well as an another trip where he stayed at the Chilworth hotel in July.

“Why would he need to go four times?” asked Sweet. “He could have gone to London and stayed at a two-star hotel,” she said.

The NDP is asking for a full itinerary to be released on the London meetings.

“We would like to see what that trip was about, why he had to go so frequently, and who he met with,” Sweet said

READ MORE: Premier Jason Kenney spent $16K to fly premiers to Saskatoon after Calgary Stampede event

The UCP defended the expenses on Wednesday, saying in a statement from deputy press secretary Harrison Fleming that: “under the NDP, Alberta saw tens of billions of dollars in job-creating investment flee our province,”

“Mr. Knight Legg, a highly-credentialed and experienced business professional, is tasked with working to bring investment back to Alberta. This obviously includes meeting with companies and investors to sell the merits of Alberta,” Fleming said.

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Fleming added that: “Mr. Knight Legg also hosts meetings with investors at the hotel, which requires being in or near the financial district of the city.”

David Knight Legg was hired on as the premier’s principal adviser in May 2019, with a salary of $195,000. 

This allegation comes under a week after the NDP also accused the UCP of spending $16,000 on a charter flight for premiers following a Calgary Stampede event.

Notley grills Kenney over $16,000 chartered flight on taxpayers’ dime
Notley grills Kenney over $16,000 chartered flight on taxpayers’ dime