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Calgary Friendship Centre election results disputed

Lesley Crossingham

Page 1

A dispute over the general election of the president and board members of the Calgary Native Friendship Centre (CNFC) continues to fester this week as the president came forward to criticize news reports saying a former band member had resigned due to inefficiencies within the executive.

President Aurele Dumont, who is also Metis Association of Alberta (MAA) Calgary vice-president and treasurer, severely criticized Calgary media for not contacting the Centre after former board member, Edward Yorke, announced he had resigned because "the executive had not informed him that the Centre was about to be sued."

"I want to make it clear that in his letter of resignation, Mr.Yorke did not even mention that we had not informed him of the pending lawsuit," said Dumont in an interview last week.

"Mr. Yorke was well aware that George Chatsis had threatened the lawsuit. And he was also aware that Mr. Chatsis had on several other occasions threatened the Centre with a lawsuit," continued Dumont.

Dumont was incensed by what he called "one-sided account's" that appeared in the Calgary Herald recently which quoted only Yorke's account of the story.

"If the Herald had bothered to contact me or any other member of the executive, they would have written a story based on facts," he added.

Dumont said, Yorke's letter of resignation stated that he was terminating his position "due to the failure of the Centre and other members of the Board to protect the Centre's and the Board of Director's reputations."

The Centre is currently embroiled in a lawsuit lodged by former board member George Chatsis. In his statement of claim, Chatsis claims the Centre did not adhere to correct procedure during the May 24 general elections.

"They (the Centre) have to stick to the constitution," said Chatsis this week. "The constitution does not allow for proxy votes on the part of individuals. We saw several cases where individuals voted by proxy.

Dumont refused to comment in the impending lawsuit as the Centre is currently under legal advice. However, he did add that he and all members of the executive were "very confident" of the outcome.

The lawsuit is expected to come to trial within the next three months.

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