'Truckloads' of booze: $370

A new report from B.C.'s speaker of the Legislative Assembly alleges the former speaker and former MLA for Penticton, Bill Barisoff, paid just $370 for two truckloads of booze that had been previously paid for with taxpayers' money.

The allegation is contained in a second report released by Speaker Darryl Plecas, as reported Thursday by CTV News. The second report comes on the heels of an initial damning report released in January.

Plecas says Clerk Craig James, who's since been suspended pending an investigation, spent two working days to deliver the alcohol to Penticton in 2013. Plecas says Barisoff paid $370 for the alcohol, which included beer, wine and liquor. 

“That amount of money certainly does not accord with the accounts of two truckloads of alcohol that were loaded into Mr. James’ truck and which included beer and hard liquor,” Plecas writes in the report.

“The value of the alcohol Mr. Barisoff purchased from the Legislative Assembly was only a fraction of the cost of Mr. James making the trip. To my mind, both as Speaker and as a taxpayer, this is unacceptable.”

The report contains James' response to the allegations.

“I categorically deny taking $10,000 of liquor to Mr. Barisoff, or otherwise,” wrote James. “What I do remember is that, along with a desk and a chair that had been presented to him, and other personal effects, I took some amount of alcohol to Mr. Barisoff’s house (certainly not $10,000 worth) in the Okanagan when I was scheduled to meet with him on Legislative Assembly matters.

“I remember that Mr. Barisoff provided a cheque for the alcohol, payable to the Legislative Assembly. It should be in the records, which are unavailable to me.”

Barisoff was MLA for Penticton from 1996 until 2013, when he was succeeded by current MLA Dan Ashton.

Barisoff told CTV News Thursday he'd been “advised not to make any comments” on the matter.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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