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Apology demanded

Through a Duncan lawyer, the Island Corridor Foundation suggests it may pursue legal action against a regional district director from Coombs

The Island Corridor Foundation is demanding regional district director Julian Fell retract and apologize for comments he made in a July memo to mayors, MLAs and First Nations.

Fell says he sees it as "an attempt to intimidate me."

In a letter dated Tuesday, a copy of which obtained by The NEWS, Duncan-based lawyer Andrew Lacroix wrote that he has been instructed "on behalf the ICF to demand a written retraction of the entire memorandum and an apology addressed to the board of the ICF, the ICF and individual directors of the ICF."

The letter from Lacroix to Fell concludes with this: "If you do not comply with this demand, we will seek instructions to commence proceedings against you in the Supreme Court of B.C., in which we will seek damages, punitive damages and court costs. The level of defamation in the memorandum is grave and the fact that you distributed it widely to people of importance magnifies the seriousness of this matter."

None of the allegations in Lacroix's letter have been proven in a court of law.

Lacroix's letter alleges Fell's memorandum July 24 "is plagued by your inadequate understanding of how ICF functions." It also lists what Lacroix called "examples of defamatory innuendo which frequently appears in the memorandum."

Fell, Regional District of Nanaimo director for Electoral Area  F (Coombs, Errington, Hilliers), was asked by The NEWS to comment on the letter from Lacroix.

"I see the letter of 24 September as an attempt to intimidate me into remaining silent when duty calls for discussion, especially if the public interest calls for it," Fell wrote in an e-mail to The NEWS. "As a public elected official I am privy from time to time to information that some parties would prefer to be kept out of sight."

In his e-mail to The NEWS, Fell said his "extensive experience with non-profit organizations caused me to identify events that did not conform with conventional procedures."

Fell also said he would be willing to address any errors he made in his July memo.

"I am not a malicious person, I have no quarrel with the ICF or its management," wrote Fell. "I will profit nothing, I gain nothing personally from examining and discussing the affairs of the ICF. If I am in factual error in places and can be shown so, I would of course acknowledge without hesitation."