NDP attacks Liberal candidate; Shypitka responds to allegations

NDP attacks Liberal candidate; Shypitka responds to allegations

The Kootenay East Liberal candidate i is responding to allegations concerning unpaid taxes and bills

The Kootenay East BC Liberal candidate in the imminent provincial election is responding to allegations levelled by the BC NDP concerning unpaid taxes and bills after the closure of the candidates’ businesses.

A news release from the BC NDP Monday cites court records saying Tom Shypitka’s business “failed $147,000 in property tax, utility bills and GST over a seven year period leading up to the collapse of his business [Finnegan’s Wake] in 2011.

“Court records filed in connection with Shypitka’s default on two mortgages totalling $411,000 show that the BC Liberal candidate failed to pay $98,293 in utility bills and property taxes to the City of Cranbrook, as well as $49,227 in GST,” the NDP release continued.

Shypitka released a statement in response to the allegations later Monday.

“Sometimes a business will suffer set backs or insolvencies.” Shypitka wrote to the Townsman. “When this happens innocent people can be negatively affected. As a business person this perhaps is the most regrettable thing that can happen, and my family and I have felt that regret. I have been associated with many successful businesses over the years employing thousands of people.

“I have always been transparent to the BC Liberals and the community as well. This isn’t a secret to most people.”

The NDP included a copy of a “contravention notice” from the Liquor Contol and Licensing Branch, alleging “Mr. Shypitka’s … bar was the subject of at least nine liquor licensing infractions for serving after hours and failing to check IDs. Under Mr. Shypitka’s management the bar was described by the Liquor Control Branch as a “continuing problem.”

Shypitka decried the NDP’s tactics, singling out his opponent [Randal Macnair, Kootenay East NDP candidate].

“It is no surprise that my opponent has decided to stoop this low in this last week of the campaign,” Shypitka wrote in his statement. “Apparently he will do anything to win.

“I have had numerous opportunities to attack my opponents on a personal level but anyone that knows me will know I am not like that. My main opposition has made public accusations regarding my campaign manager who is one of the most honourable people I know, and she wasn’t given the opportunity to respond, as he made the accusation at a public debate.”

The NDP release alleged “Shypitka [was] also accused of bouncing cheques to a local man for two pool tables. When the man tried to recover the money, Shypitka counter-sued him for costs in excess of the unpaid balance.”

“I have always held myself as an ethical person and I am not about to stop now,” Shypitka responded. “I have had incredible support since this [NDP] statement was released and I thank everyone who is standing beside me.”