POLITICS
04/04/2014 09:25 EDT | Updated 06/04/2014 05:59 EDT

Review of New Brunswick politician's spending says claims were eligible

FREDERICTON - A review of constituency expenses filed by New Brunswick politician Greg Davis says with the exception of one duplicate payment, all payments he sought were eligible for reimbursement and had supporting documentation.

Last month, the legislative administration committee asked legislature staff to examine Davis's expenses after the Progressive Conservative party had to cover $5,125 in rent for his riding office from February to June of 2012.

The committee's report released Friday says Davis fell behind in his office rent again from Sept. 15, 2013 to March 31 of this year, owing $6,665. Those arrears, as well as $1,028 in legal, bailiff and moving costs in order to reopen his constituency office and retrieve furniture that was seized, was covered by the legislature, the report says.

Davis, who represents the riding of Campbellton-Restigouche Centre, did not seek reimbursement, the report said.

The committee's review does not say why Davis fell behind in his rent, but Davis said Friday he is sorry that an unspecified illness affected his ability to manage his financial obligations.

"It pains me to think that the implication has been made that I misused taxpayers' money for any purpose," Davis said in a statement.

Davis has said he won't seek re-election in September due to health concerns.

The committee's report says in one case, Davis was reimbursed twice for an expenditure of $602 for radio advertising in 2012, and the legislative assembly will take steps to recover that amount.

The report does recommend the legislative assembly make direct payments to landlords for constituency offices.

Tory and Liberal members who sit on the committee said while they need more time to review the report, they were satisfied that no public money was misspent.

"Thus far I have seen no evidence of any public funds that are missing," Health Minister Hugh Flemming said after the committee report was released.

Liberal member Victor Boudreau said while no monies were claimed inappropriately, questions linger.

"Where we still have some question marks is with the PC party involvement," he said. He did not elaborate.

J.P. Soucy, the executive director for the Tory party, has said there was an arrangement with Davis to repay the party for the 2011-12 rent arrears, and that Davis is still reimbursing the party.

Speaker Dale Graham, the chairman of the Committee, said no further action will be taken.

But NDP Leader Dominic Cardy said he wants a broader review.

"We want to see a full investigation into what has happened since 2006 with the last two full governments, what every single member has spent on every single line item and make sure that is clear and available to the public with clear and appropriate documentation," Cardy said.

Cardy has already filed a complaint with conflict of interest commissioner Alfred Landry alleging that Davis did not disclose the loan from the governing Progressive Conservative party.

In a letter dated April 2, Landry confirmed receipt of Cardy's complaint and said that he has asked Davis for a response by way of an affidavit.