By Mike Archer. AbbotsfordFIRST candidate Vince Dimanno has made a great deal over the years about his presidency of the ARA. In fact all of the media which cover Abbotsford issues, with the exception of the Abbotsford News, describe Dimanno in his role as president of the association.
This week Dimanno is facing criticism, in the form of an email circulated by council candidate Gerda Peachey accusing Dimanno of “ … operating the Abbotsford Ratepayers Association (ARA) as a ‘phantom group’ and of running the group’s meetings, “only for the advancement of his personal aspirations.”
When we asked Dimanno about the charges, he said he had never received the email from Peachey but had been asked by the Abbotsford News to explain himself.
Whatever he told the News, Dimanno has not yet replied to our request for a response to Peachey’s charges. He may consider this an insignificant matter from a candidate who runs every election with no hope of getting elected.
Peachey’s motives may simply be to ensure transparency on the part of all candidates. The serious nature of her accusations and the fact she has singled out Dimanno for scrutiny may cause him to think he doesn’t have to respond.
Here’s what we know:
The ARA was founded in 2006 as a response to the decision by the City of Abbotsford to spend taxpayer money promoting the disastrous ‘Plan A’ proposal in a referendum without providing any funds for any group opposed to the project.
The ARA was a registered association under the BC Society Act, but seems to have dissolved. According to its website the ARA represents, “… the priorities of those citizens in Abbotsford who pay municipal taxes or use municipal services.”
While it is established in the historical record and chronicled both online and in the old print media (before they stopped mentioning him or the ARA in their newspaper), the ARA does seem to have disappeared from the public agenda in recent months other than in media references to explain why reporters are speaking with Dimanno.
While Dimanno is under no legal obligation to provide Peachey or anyone else five years of documentation, minutes, bank account records etc – which Peachey has asked for – he cannot ignore this challenge to his reputation.
If the ARA has dwindled in size or, as Peachey appears to allege, evaporated as an organization, Dimanno should be forthright and explain what has happened to the organization. If there is any truth to Peachey’s allegations that he ran the organization “only for the advancement of his personal aspirations” he should resign from AbbotsfordFIRST and seriously reconsider his candidacy for City council.
We look forward to clearing this up and finding out if there is any truth to the serious charges Mrs. Peachey has leveled against Domanno. He shouldn’t wait to respond.
On Thursday, October 9, Abbotsford council candidate Gerda Peachey sent an email to a number of people and organizations including both the Abbotsford News and Abbotsford Today reporting a “persistent rumour” that AbbotsfordFIRST candidate Vince Dimanno has been operating the Abbotsford Ratepayers Association (ARA) as a “phantom group.”
Peachey went on to demand five years’ worth of minutes and financial statements for the ARA and intimated that Abbotsford Today and the ARA are the same organization.
In the email Peachey says, “These are very serious charges, and the ‘slate’ drive for a seat on council makes it imperative that Vince follow his own claims about the need for transparency.”
Strangely, Peachey never sent the charges to Dimanno.
Abbotsford Today contacted Dimanno, forwarded the charges made by Peachey, and has requested an explanation for publication. Given the libelous nature of the charges Peachey has published, if untrue, and the possibility that the matter could very well end up in court, Today Media has requested that, notwithstanding the foregoing, Mr. Dimanno provide a response in time for the November 15 municipal election.
*For the Record. Abbotsford Today is one of four community news websites owned by Today Media Group of which both Vince Dimanno and Mike Archer are owners.
The Abbotsford Ratepayers Association is a society formed several years before Today Media Group by Vince Dimanno and a group of concerned citizens. Neither Mike Archer nor Today Media have any relation to the ARA. The two organizations are not “one and the same” as Mrs. Peachey asks in her published statements.
Abbotsford Today, along with all of the provincial and national media which cover Abbotsford issues, has covered both Mr Dimanno and the ARA since its inception. The Abbotsford News stopped making any reference to Mr. Dimanno or the ARA in its pages or online several years ago. Abbotsford Today will continue to cover Mr. Dimanno and the ARA as long as Dimanno remains a public figure and as long as the ARA exists.