Kelowna mayor feels no need to say how he spent $31,000 in pre-campaign contributions | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna News

Kelowna mayor feels no need to say how he spent $31,000 in pre-campaign contributions

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran was sworn in for a second term by Judge Lisa Wyatt Monday, Nov. 6, 2018. He won re-election after spending the maximum amount allowed in 2018 plus 40 per cent more in 2017.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran is not about to tell the general public where he spent tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions before formally running for re-election in 2018.

After being caught out last month for not telling Elections B.C. that he raised that money, Basran said it was about $20,000 that he spent to “boost social media posts and promote my profile in the community."

READ MORE: Complaint forces Kelowna mayor to file corrected financial report with Elections B.C.

When he filed new financial disclosure statements because of the reporting error, they showed it was actually $31,200 he raised in 2016 and 2017. There was no listing of what he spent that money on because such details are not required by Elections B.C.

"I already said what I had to say on the subject," Basran said in a text message to after being asked for more details on that spending. "All the required information was submitted to Elections B.C. along with the answers to their questions. They conducted a comprehensive review and came to the inevitable conclusion that there is no wrongdoing or malintent, other than the oversight on our part to submit the paperwork covering the pre-election period fundraising and spending.

"I will reiterate that the funds raised were spent on managing social media communication strategies of all the important work my council colleagues and I did during our term to benefit our community. As communication mediums evolve (sometimes faster than most can comprehend) we will do our best to stay ahead of the curve, as far as information delivery is concerned, but those conversations belong to private political strategy sessions."

New rules for city elections were put in place for the 2018 election year that limited how much could be donated to candidates and how much each could spend trying to get elected.

Basran spent to within $200 of his limit of $76,781.50 for the 2018 campaign. But that was only for money spent that year.

READ MORE: Kelowna mayor spent big on 2018 re-election campaign

While he did not have to list what his pre-2018 contributions were spent on, he did have to list general categories of spending during 2018. Most of that money was spent during the “campaign period,” from Sept. 22-Oct.18, 2018.

During that time he spent about $19,000 on web advertising and another $7,300 on other media.

Almost $19,000 went for signs and billboards, $17,000 for professional services and almost $3,500 for “other campaign related functions.”

So, while he was limited to spending less than $77,000 in 2018, his $31,200 raised in 2016-17 is the equivalent of a 40 per cent bonus spend.

In contrast, his nearest rival, Tom Dyas, only spent about $38,000 for his 2018 campaign.

Basran’s $31,000 pre-campaign spending is also close to one-third of what all his elected council members combined spent to get elected.

That totalled $88,786 with eight-place finisher Loyal Wooldridge being the big spender at $23,334. He was the only non-incumbent elected that year.

Maxine DeHart, who topped the polls for city councillors that year, spent the third lowest amount at $4,800.

Most of Basran’s contributors in 2016-17 were businesses but the financial statement includes information on the names behind those businesses.

Leading the way, at $4,000, was McKinley Limited Hillside Partnership with Grant Gaucher listed as the sole director.

Kelowna Motors (Brian August director) and Bellamy Homes (Les Bellamy sole director) each gave $3,000.

Bellamy has been quite critical of Basran’s handling of the financial disclosures and questioned his suitability as mayor.

READ MORE: Past campaign donor questions Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran's suitability for leadership

Donors in the $2,500 range included 1156694 Alberta Ltd. (Dave Mossey sole director), RISE Management. Inc. – The Shore (Greg Appelt sole director), Michael G. Hoffman and Melissa Sargent.

Of the 19 donors in those two years, there were nine who donated $1,000 and two who donated less.

Only two of those donors, Dominic Petraroia and Ken Webster, contributed in 2018 as well. Each gave $1,000 in 2016 and $1,200 (the new maximum) in 2018.

Dyas donated $1,000 to Basran in February 2017 before running against him for mayor.

See Basran’s spending report here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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