Penticton Indian band launches countersuit against former administrator | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton Indian band launches countersuit against former administrator

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
July 30, 2018 - 3:30 PM

PENTICTON - The Penticton Indian Band has answered a former band administrator’s lawsuit with court action of its own.

The band filed a counterclaim against former chief administrative officer Brent Ryan-Lewis on July 18 in Kelowna court.

Ryan-Lewis’ original lawsuit, filed June 21, sought compensation for breach of contract and wrongful dismissal claiming he was fired by the band administration for raising concerns about financial management of the band.

In the counterclaim, the band alleges Ryan-Lewis committed fraud and dishonesty and it is seeking damages that include full repayment of funds improperly taken, damages to compensate for losses incurred by the resignation of the band’s chief financial officer, punitive and aggravated damages, interest and “other relief as the court deems.”

The band alleges Ryan-Lewis approached band council with a new budget for their approval when the Chief and the band’s chief financial officer were absent.

He allegedly told council the new pay grid he was presenting had been approved by the financial officer, but failed to say the new budget also included a hefty pay raise for Ryan-Lewis, including $17,000 in retroactive pay.

Ryan-Lewis was aware the band's financial committee and the chief financial officer had to approve the budget prior to council's approval, the band's claim says, noting Ryan-Lewis failed to get that approval.

The band further claims the chief financial officer resigned as a direct result of Ryan-Lewis’ behaviour, which caused disruptions and losses to the band.

Council approved the budget based on Ryan-Lewis’ assurances. He was terminated after his “fraudulent and dishonest behaviour," came to light, the court document states.

Ryan-Lewis has 21 days to respond to the counterclaim.


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