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Court decision reveals turmoil in Penticton Hospitality Association

Former Penticton Hospitality Association operations director Tim Hodgkinson.
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April 12, 2016 - 10:30 AM

PENTICTON - Details of a potentially messy breakup between a former Penticton Hospitality Association board member and the Penticton Hospitality Association were made apparent with the publication of a judgement in a civil case released yesterday, April 11.

The judgement concerned an application by the association to quash a garnishing order issued to former association board member Tim Hodgkinson on Nov. 27, 2015.

The decision returned a major portion of the garnished funds to the association, but does not reflect a decision or conclusion with respect to an ongoing civil suit between the two parties, with Hodgkinson seeking damages from the association for unpaid labour and severance pay owed to him.

Hodgkinson claims he was hired by the association in the spring of 2012 by former association president Edward Brown as an administrative service provider for roughly two days per week at $60 per hour, later increasing to three days per week.

A termination clause in the agreement offered remuneration equivalent to a full term of the agreement (18 months) due to Hodgkinson if he was let go unilaterally.

Hodgkinson was dismissed in September of 2015, when the association declared it no longer needed his services.

The association argued Hodgkinson’s administrative services agreement was not a valid contract. It was negotiated between Hodgkinson and Brown, who died in October, 2012. He was subsequently replaced as president by Robert Appelman, whose signature appears on the document.

However Appelman was not a director on the association board on July 24, 2012, the date the agreement went into effect.

Two other association directors claim they were not aware of the agreement, with one of those directors further declaring he would not have agreed to it.

Hodgkinson was seeking $73,440 in the garnishing order for severance and unpaid labour, but the decision returns $69,120 of the garnished funds to the association, which will be allowed to hold the funds until the conclusion of Hodgkinson’s suit against the association.

The judge also noted the association has received $1.9 million over a four-year period, with no evidence as to the association’s expenses. He concluded there was no evidence the association was suffering from operating hardships as a result of the garnished funds being currently tied up in court.

The Penticton Hospitality Association, incorporated in 1973, collects a tax on Penticton’s accommodation operators, to be used to market the city and region as a tourist destination through advertisements and funding to local organizations and events.

Money collected through the hotel tax is submitted to the province, which reallocates the funds to the City of Penticton, which then disburses the money to the Penticton Hospitality Association.

The association is currently negotiating with a sister organization, Tourism Penticton, to discuss a possible merger.

• This story was rewritten at 3:30 p.m., Monday, April 11 after it was discovered an original story regarding today’s judgement came to a wrong conclusion.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 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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