Derek Fildebrandt renting out his taxpayer-subsidized apartment
Since news broke last night about former Alberta Director Derek Fildebrandt renting out his taxpayer-subsidized apartment in Edmonton on Airbnb, some Twitter trolls have claimed the CTF was ‘silent’ on the matter or that we were dismissing the issue … so here are the facts:
It’s noon and I’ve already done interviews on this issue with the CBC twice, 770AM, 660AM, the Edmonton Journal, Metro News, Global News and CTV. No media outlet has been turned down for comment, although I couldn’t accommodate the third CBC request I received due to scheduling conflicts.
As for the expense issue itself, I’ve noted three things to the media:
1) It’s wrong for MLAs to profit privately with funds intended to cover their accommodation expenses.
2) We raised this issue back in 2012 – see page 18 of this report – click here. At the time, MLAs hadn’t been using Airbnb to supplement their income, but it was well known that several MLAs over the years had used their monthly living allowance to purchase homes and make mortgage payments. After their time as an MLA was done, they would then sell the homes, pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, the legislature failed to explore options for remedying this issue.
3) Going forward there should be a review of MLA expense rules. After all, the accommodations allowance isn’t the only problem. See this column from Paige MacPherson that explores problems with MLA mileage expenses – click here – or this story on MLAs expensing the cleaning of their cars – click here.
With any luck, a review will occur, the rules will be tightened and we won’t see stories pop up about MLA expenses again in the future…