Dimanno Must Come Clean

By October 10, 2014Municipal Politics

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.

Gerda PeacheyWhatever 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.

He shouldn’t.

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.

He does.

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.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Gerda Peachey says:

    Hi Mike:

    Sorry to see the distortions that you have injected into my letter. So for the sake of clarity, I would hope that you will display what I actually wrote to you.

    The original neither looks nor feels like your article here.

    I’ll post both my letter and your article on my web, as well as your earlier response to my request for clarity.

    Certainly Vince Dimanno is under no obligation to show me documents that would dispel the rumours that have circulated for years, but if there is no basis for such doubts, it will be a simple matter for Vince to produce minutes of meeting, and financial statements for this Association.

    The computer shows that Abbotsford Ratepayers meet at Bethel Reformed on Gladwin Rd. Again, if Vince has been conducting meetings there, it should be very easy to clear the air. The website says, “Contact and meeting information are posted on this website, but there is little to read beyond that.

    If you click on the ARA web-site, the latest news was Feb.7/09, and Feb. 16/10 say general meetings will no longer be held monthly. The link to the map showing the location of Bethel church is non-funtional.

    So maybe there is a perfectly clear explanation, but folks were confused by hearing Vince on the radio, on several occasions, introducing himself as the president of the Abbotsford Ratepayers Association, when there did not seem to be such an Association anymore.

    This matters a lot because we want and need strong, quality leadership at city hall, and the slate of 5 candidates running with Vince under the AbbotsfordFirst label, needs to model the transparency that we ask of city hall.

    There has been a shadow over Vince referring to himself as the president of an association that has not had a clear presence for some years. I sincerely hope Vince Dimanno will clear up this doubt.

    So here, if you chose to post it, is my original letter to you………..(and I notice that one of the paragraphs is a bit confusing.)

    From: Gerda Peachey
    Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2014 7:18 AM
    To: Mike Archer

    Hi Mike:

    Can you dispel the persistent rumours about Vince Dimano and the ‘phantom’ nature of the Abbotsford Ratepayers Association?

    This morning, for the first time, I have spent time on the computer to try to clear this up to may own satisfaction, but have not succeeded.

    This threatens to drag down the names of some respected people, running on the slate with Vince, for a seat at Abbotsford city council.

    Would you, or Vince send me the minutes of ARA meetings, for the past 5 years. Would you ask Vince to send copies of the financial statements for the past 5 years.

    Are Abbotsford Today and the Abbotsford Ratepayers Association, one and the same?

    Would you ask Vince to provide a list of the membership names?

    We’ve heard Vince constantly refer to himself as the President of ARA. We’ve heard him state a membership of ?? (can’t recall the number I last heard)

    But a number of Abbotsford residents were actively involved in this group, for the first year, and they are adamant that there have been NO MEETINGS, NO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS, and that Vince conducted these meetings poorly, and only for the advancement of his personal aspirations.

    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.

    I sincerely hope this charge of Abbotsford Ratepayers Association, being nothing more than a phantom group, meant only for the furthering of Vince Dimano’s political aspirations can be cleared up.

    I am sending this to all the people who’ve been saying this, or hearing it. I’ll send the answer if Vince provides these documents to verify that a genuine ARA exists, meets regularly, has a proper bank account, shows membership list, and makes financial statements available.


    Gerda Peachey

  • The Editor says:

    Hi Gerda,
    Sorry you think my reporting contains distortions. As always, we’ve reported in full what you’ve said and will report what Vince has to say when he replies.


  • The Editor says:

    Gerda – so you know – the distortions you refer to were, in fact, attempts to protect you from the consequences of your actions.
    I’m not sure any other local media would have the courage to take such risks on your behalf.
    You may not realize it but, by publishing your email, Abbotsford Today is at risk of legal action due to the possibly libelous accusations you’ve made. We tried to convey your peculiar sense of outrage over an issue which, as far as we can tell, has no bearing whatever on the election and, unlike our media competitors who haven’t published a thing about your email, we actually pursued the issues you raised.
    If you truly believe that the slow and possibly final demise of the Abbotsford Ratepayers Association demonstrates anything of importance to the citizens, residents and voters of Abbotsford, then we will gladly continue to publish your concerns but, quite frankly, we’d rather devote our time to more substantive issues.

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