94.1 Juice FM – Greg Nesteroff
A Federal Court judge has ordered an arbitrator to take another look at a case involving the Lower Kootenay Band.
The arbitrator ruled last year that chief Jason Louie and councillor Sandra Luke could keep their jobs after Jason’s uncle Wayne Louie alleged the pair were in breach of their fiduciary duty and oath of office.
In 2015, the BC Court of Appeal ordered the band council to repay unauthorized $5,000 bonuses they granted themselves in 2009. However, they only agreed to a repayment schedule in April of this year. Arbitrator Marko Vesely said it was a borderline case but he allowed Jason Louie and Luke to remain in office.
Now a federal judge has decided it wasn’t open to the arbitrator to find they didn’t breach their oath of office.
“The applicant submits that the arbitrator’s finding on this issue essentially overturns the BC Court of Appeal’s decision,” Justice Michael D. Manson wrote. “He claims that a council member’s fiduciary duty is incorporated into the oath of office, and it was not open to the arbitrator to depart from the findings of the BC Court of Appeal. I agree.”
He said the arbitrator’s decision “lacks justification, transparency and intelligibility and is unreasonable” and referred the case back to him be reconsidered.
Meanwhile, in a letter to the band dated June 3, Wayne Louie called for the chief and Sandra Luke to be removed from office by the end of today. Otherwise he said he will also ask the arbitrator to reconsider his decision in light of the federal court ruling.
Chief Jason Louie did not immediately return a message seeking comment.