Cham­ber boss dis­tances self from old charges

Penticton Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE FRIES

The new ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Sum­mer­land Cham­ber of Com­merce says he was “to­tally, to­tally ex­on­er­ated” of crim­i­nal charges that none­the­less prompted one board mem­ber to re­sign af­ter his hir­ing.

David Hull started work in Sum­mer­land in Septem­ber af­ter four years with the cham­ber in Cran­brook.

Prior to that, he worked as a con­sul­tant af­ter re­sign­ing in 2011 from the Ab­bots­ford cham­ber un­der a cloud of le­gal dif­fi­cul­ties that re­sulted in him be­ing sus­pended him with­out pay.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ab­bots­ford News, Hull was first ar­rested in May 2011 for al­legedly as­sault­ing a woman. In June of that year, he was charged with crim­i­nal ha­rass­ment, and by Septem­ber had been hit with two more charges of breach­ing his re­lease con­di­tions.

He was later ac­quit­ted at trial of the as­sault charge, ac­cord­ing to the News.

Hull says all the other charges were later dropped.

“It was all tied to­gether. My ex­on­er­a­tion is com­plete and ab­so­lute,” he said in an in­ter­view Thurs­day.

(The Her­ald was un­able to ver­ify his as­ser­tion through court records be­cause the breaches and crim­i­nal ha­rass­ment files are cov­ered by pub­li­ca­tion bans, and both the B.C. Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice and Ab­bots­ford Po­lice Depart­ment said free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quests would be re­quired to even con­sider com­ment­ing on the files. Hull de­clined to pro­vide the Her­ald with copies of court tran­scripts he said prove his in­no­cence.)

Hull, who served on Ter­race city coun­cil for 12 years be­fore ar­riv­ing in Ab­bots­ford, main­tains he was set up.

“I was falsely ac­cused of a crime and to­tally, to­tally ex­on­er­ated by the courts. It was a ter­ri­ble time in my life. It ru­ined my per­sonal life, it ru­ined my pro­fes­sional ca­reer at the time, and it’s taken many, many years to re­cover,” he said.

“It’s in my past. I’ve never harmed any­one in my life — short of on the rugby field — and my record of cham­ber work and my record as a busi­ness­man and on city coun­cil cer­tainly stand for them­selves.”

Even still, Hull’s le­gal deal­ings raised enough con­cern for Chris­tine Gray to re­sign her po­si­tion on the Sum­mer­land cham­ber board af­ter Hull’s hir­ing.

“It wasn’t in protest, it was a per­sonal de­ci­sion,” she said in an in­ter­view.

“The op­tics in the com­mu­nity con­cern me.”

Cham­ber pres­i­dent Nick Ibuki said he was on the hir­ing com­mit­tee and could only speak to his own de­ci­sion on of­fer­ing Hull the po­si­tion.

“We had a num­ber of great can­di­dates but David re­ally stood out based on his ex­ten­sive cham­ber his­tory, back­ground as a pre­vi­ous city coun­cil­lor along with the nu­mer­ous projects he had the op­por­tu­nity to work on in the dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties he has lived in,” Ibuki said in an email.

“David was ex­on­er­ated and I be­lieve that any­one who spends time with him will quickly come to the con­clu­sion that he will bring pos­i­tive change to the or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Wes­ley Rogers, pres­i­dent of the Cran­brook Cham­ber of Com­merce, de­clined com­ment about Hull’s per­for­mance there and his re­cep­tion in that com­mu­nity.

“We wish Mr. Hull and the Sum­mer­land Cham­ber of Com­merce suc­cess with their new re­la­tion­ship,” Rogers wrote in an email.

Spe­cial to the Her­ald

David Hull is the new ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Sum­mer­land Cham­ber of Com­merce.

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