Tory apol­o­gizes and pays back cost of gen­er­a­tor

Cape Breton Post - - ATLANTIC -

HAL­I­FAX (CP) — A Con­ser­va­tive mem­ber of the Nova Sco­tia leg­is­la­ture apol­o­gized Fri­day for spending $7,995 in pub­lic money on a gen­er­a­tor, one day af­ter he de­fi­antly de­fended the pur­chase as a valid ex­pense.

Richard Hurl­burt, a for­mer cab­i­net min­is­ter, is­sued a brief state­ment call­ing the pur­chase a lapse in judg­ment.

“I am sorry for ex­pens­ing an item that I now know was not an ap­pro­pri­ate claim,” said Hurl­burt, who rep­re­sents the ru­ral con­stituency of Yar­mouth. “I re­gret how this has been per­ceived and have paid back the full amount.”

Hurl­burt said he re­im­bursed the money Thurs­day and will do­nate the ma­chine to a com­mu­nity group in his con­stituency.

“It was pur­chased for their use, and I made emer­gency or­ga­ni­za­tions aware that it was avail­able to them when­ever it was needed,” he said.

The ex­pense was one of sev­eral that were flagged as ex­ces­sive in a re­port re­leased ear­lier this week by the prov­ince’s au­di­tor gen­eral.

Hurl­burt’s ad­mis­sion was a dra­matic turn­around for the Tory vet­eran, who was in­sist­ing he had fol- lowed spending guide­lines.

Two for­mer Con­ser­va­tive cab­i­net min­is­ters also came for­ward Fri­day to say their ex­penses were among those cited in au­di­tor gen­eral Jac­ques La­pointe’s re­port.

Judy Streatch said she was no­ti­fied that a $738 espresso ma­chine she bought was on the list of ex­pense items La­pointe ques­tioned.

In­ter­viewed by re­porters at the Con­ser­va­tive’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing later Fri­day, she con­firmed she met with the ad­min­is­tra­tor of the Speaker’s Of­fice ear­lier in the day and re­im­bursed tax­pay­ers the full amount for the cof­fee ma­chine.

“I’ve al­ways held that my in­tegrity and my ac­count­abil­ity are ex­tremely im­por­tant to me and my fam­ily and I’m more than happy to re­im­burse for the ex­pense,” Streatch said.

Len Goucher said he used pub­lic money to buy three MP3 play­ers for $150, but added that they were for three schools in his sub­ur­ban con­stituency of Bed­fordBirch Cove. Goucher said he is also wait­ing to hear from the Speaker’s Of­fice about his ex­penses.

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