Nanaimo court house (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo Clippers say former CEO overcharged, took liquor sales money

Ownership group of B.C. Hockey League team files lawsuit in Supreme Court

Nanaimo Clippers ownership is taking the hockey team’s former CEO to court, claiming she overbilled for services and took alcohol and money from alcohol sales.

On Nov. 1 in B.C. Supreme Court, Clippers Hockey Limited Partnership and Pirates Hockey Ltd. filed a civil claim against Andrea Trepanier and her company, referred to in court documents as 1203270 Alberta Ltd. According to the claim, Trepanier is accused of taking cash from alcohol sales and product. A discrepancy in liquor sales began in the year leading up to the sale of the business (May 2016-April 2017 year end). Revenues were down that year by 25 per cent and the profit ratio also decreased, while corresponding expenses for liquor purchase only decreased 14 per cent.

Trepanier’s company had previously signed a general service agreement with the Clippers, which essentially carried over to the new ownership on Nov. 10, 2017, the claim said.

The Clippers claim Trepanier’s company invoiced new ownership for commissions during the 2017-18 hockey season leading up to Dec. 28, 2017 and Trepanier wrote cheques to her company without approval from the team. Trepanier signed a new service deal with the Clippers on Dec. 28, 2017, while ending previous deals. She invoiced the Clippers for hours worked after Dec. 28, 2017 and to March 21, 2018, when the contract ended, with ownership claiming Trepanier wrote cheques to her company without team approval.

Trepanier wasn’t authorized to use advertising sales for personal gain, the court filing said, but during 2017-18, the Clippers claim she received a refrigerator and stove from an appliance store in Nanaimo that were never used in any promotion.

The Clippers conducted an audit which they claim showed Trepanier’s company overbilling for time charges and commissions. According to court documents, over $6,360 in commission was overcharged, but “set off against commissions actually owing, $4,155 is owed.

Trepanier was notified by a team representative about the issues and ownership claims she ended her contract on March 21, 2018 with no notice.

Trepanier filed a response on Dec. 7 denying all allegations. She denied writing cheques without approval, stating that before January 2018, a bookkeeper wrote cheques using information she submitted and team owner Wes Mussio and team president David LeNeveu signed cheques on behalf of ownership.

Trepanier claims ownership terminated her company’s prior contract with no notice on Dec. 28, 2017 and “forced [her and company] to enter into a new agreement.” She denies handing in cheques for approval that didn’t reflect payment owing or overbilling for time, commissions and claiming commissions that weren’t owed. She denies having contributed to alleged financial irregularities related to sale of liquor. She states she was aware that coaching staff “were requesting and receiving unpaid-for liquor orders,” which ownership knew or should have known about and could have accounted for discrepancies.

Trepanier said keeping timesheets prior to Jan. 1, 2018 was not required and she provided invoices and timesheets when asked, her response said. She said she responded to the alleged billing inconsistencies and “fully explained why they were owed the payments requested” and that she “resigned employment … on March 21, 2018 after being constructively dismissed.”

Trepanier also denies ever having a deal with the appliance store and said a proposal was made to the company, but “never completed” during her tenure with the team.

None of the facts or claims have been proven in court.

Bradley Durvin, Trepanier’s legal counsel, said he couldn’t comment.

Mussio, who is a lawyer, told the News Bulletin he didn’t want to comment, but said his side had applied for fast-track litigation and seeks approximately $50,000.

“If you have a case that can be heard in three days and under $100,000, you’re supposed to file a notice of fast track, so we would’ve done that …as a requirement by the court,” Mussio said.

Neither Durvin nor Mussio knew when the matter would go before a judge.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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