Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)

Kelowna mayor declares $31K in previously undisclosed 2018 campaign contributions

Contributions came in 2016 and 2017, before the province enacted restrictions barring corporate donations

More than $30,000 in previously undeclared contributions made in 2016 and 2017 to Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran’s 2018 re-election campaign have been cleared by Elections BC.

Basran submitted a supplemental report on his 2018 election finances to Elections BC after local developer Les Bellamy went public, stating his $3,000 contribution, made at a campaign event in October 2017, was not present on the mayor’s campaign financing report.

According to Elections BC, financial agents must file a supplementary report within 30 days if they become aware that their original report was incomplete or inaccurate. Elections BC reviewed the supplemental report on May 25 and found it to be in compliance with the Local Election Campaign Financing Act.

The new report shows Bellamy was not the only one whose donation was unaccounted for, with $31,200 coming from 19 contributors before between December 2016 and October 2017, when the province enacted new restrictions on campaign contributions that barred corporate donations and limited individual donations to $1,200.

Largely, the previously unreported donations came from development firms and other local corporations, with the largest donation coming from McKinley Hillside Limited Partnership at $4,000. Notably, one came from an insurance company run by Tom Dyas, Basran’s main competitor in 2018.

In total, more than $24,000 came from corporations, unincorporated businesses or commercial organizations, most of which would not be allowed under new regulations. The remaining $7,000 came from individual contributors.

However, none of those funds were used during the campaign period, which began Jan. 1, 2018, leaving Basran below the expense limit. Most of those funds were used for “social media messaging,” Basran said.

Basran previously estimated the monetary amount of the undeclared contributions to be closer to $20,000. In a May 13, interview with the Capital News, he chalked the issue up to a clerical error.

“[My team and I] thought, given our reading of the rules, that we did not have to disclose or provide that information to ElectionsBC,” he said.

The mayor claimed the issue only came about as former supporters had a change of heart.

“(Bellamy) was a supporter, who is now no longer a supporter. If you go back through his social media history and things he’s said publicly about me, it’s clear that he is just using any opportunity he can to discredit me and damage my reputation,” he said.

Bellamy said it’s disappointing and concerning that those funds likely would have remained undisclosed if he hadn’t come forward.

“He claimed he wasn’t aware he had to file the paperwork, then when it was brought to his attention, he claimed it was about $20,000 and now the actual report is $30,000. I find it concerning that there are a lot of inconsistencies in those stories,” Bellamy said.

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