Fildebrandt apologizes, takes leave as UCP finance critic
A controversy over an Alberta politician using his taxpayerfunded housing allowance to make money took a new turn Thursday night with Derek Fildebrandt apologizing and announcing he would take a leave of absence as finance critic for the new United Conservative Party.
Fildebrandt started out the day in a defensive posture, saying there was nothing wrong with renting out his subsidized Edmonton apartment through Airbnb when he wasn’t using it.
“I confirmed that letting out my Edmonton home while it is not being used is compliant with the rules,” Fildebrandt said in an email earlier in the day. “Letting out an unused residence is reasonable and a part of the modern sharing economy.”
But several hours later he issued a news release saying: “I apologize.”
“Since January I believed that renting out my Edmonton home while I was away was above board and never cost the taxpayer anything extra,” he said. “I however recognize the perception that this is not good enough, and have spoken with my constituents, and they are never wrong.
“I have paid the amount I earned during those eight months ($2,555) to the taxpayer.”
Interim UCP Leader Nathan Cooper issued a three-paragraph statement confirming those developments and adding “the UCP believes in fiscal accountability and protecting taxpayers.”