Vancouver’s civic election ended months ago, but a small Burnaby business owner says former Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart’s Forward Together campaign has failed to pay its bill and owes him thousands of dollars.
“It’s sad that a political party is just going to walk away and not pay small businesses like myself,” Tim Malito told Consumer Matters.
Last summer, Malito says he delivered rental furniture which included desks, chairs, and folding tables to Stewart’s Vancouver campaign headquarters.
The owner of TownRent says he was thrilled to do the job since his business suffered during the height of the pandemic. “Trade shows and conferences all ended. We had to downsize our business and compact it a little bit,” he said.
After Stewart lost the mayoral race to Ken Sim in October 2022, Malito says he sent Stewart’s campaign an invoice for $2,888.48.
“They said they would promise to have a cheque for us within 30 days,” said Malito.
However, Malito says after 30 days, there was no sign of the funds owing. Malito says he was patient and even gave the campaign a 30-day extension. “I’m thinking maybe they are backed up on paperwork, maybe they’ve got accounting and are trying to reconcile things and things take a little bit longer,” he said.
Despite that extension, Malito says the bill remains unpaid with Stewart’s campaign manager Neil Monckton, who told Malito they were still sorting out their finances.
In February 2023, Malito says he received a “debt management” proposal from Monckton. It stated that “the proposal is Forward Together makes three payments in 2023 amounting to 10 per cent of the total for the outstanding invoices for work pre-Oct.15, 2022 you are owed.”
The memo goes on to state: “If Forward Together finds that its revenue picture has improved sufficiently over the course of this year –as the result of our traditional fundraising work or the new line of goods and services that are in development –we will make every attempt to exceed the 10 per cent payment to your company in 2023.”
“To come up with a minuscule amount over the course of almost a year – is odd,” said Malito in response to Monckton’s proposal.
Consumer Matters reached out to Monckton and Stewart asking why Malito hasn’t been paid in full and why Forward Together appears to be accepting donations currently on its website. Global News did not get a response from either.
According to an Elections BC campaign financing summary, Forward Together with Kennedy Stewart reported just over $618,081.90 in income and $1,092,573.73 in total expenses during the last civic election.
Malito has owned his business for over 13 years and says he’s provided his services over the years to various political parties during elections, but says he’s never been treated this way.
“I’ve never had a political party ever stiff or short on a bill,” Malito said.