Following a $27,000 civil law suit victory, Wallaceburg Coun. Jeff Wesley says he will not be seeking re-election in 2018.
“I owe the people of Wallaceburg a huge debt of gratitude for their support over seven municipal elections and I have tried to stand up for them the best I know how… even when it was detrimental to my own career outside of politics,” Wesley told the Sydenham Current.
“If the position of Mayor of Wallaceburg was up for election, I would campaign my heart out as that is the best job I have ever had. Being defamed and having to resort to a law suit to clear my name is not what I got into local municipal politics for. My wife and my family were also hurt and they do not want me to run again. I am agreeing with them.”
Wesley’s lawyer, Michael M. Lerner, provided a copy of the decision against Kevin Jakubec, spokesperson for Water Wells First, to the media on Wednesday.
The ruling, made by Deputy Judge Glen C. Walker, was for $25,000 in damages and $2,000 in costs.
The basis of the law suit stemmed from “defamatory comments” made by Jakubec in multiple media outlets earlier this year, Walker said in his ruling.
Water Wells First and Jakubec had handed Wesley one of their ‘Shame Awards’ back in February, for apparently misleading the public.
Subsequently, Wesley demanded an apology and retraction of the comments and threatened legal action against Jakubec.
Lerner said in an e-mail that Wesley is happy with the outcome.
“Mr. Wesley is delighted with the decision and has instructed me to enforce the judgment for damages and costs,” Lerner said in an e-mail to the media.
“After all expenses have been paid, the balance will be donated to a charity or non-profit organization committed to the preservation of clean drinking water.”
Walker’s ruling stated that Wesley was “embarrassed and humiliated” by the false accusations by Jakubec.
As a result, Walker said in his ruling that Wesley has decided not the run for municipal council in the nest election.
“I did not want to make this public this early but when asked during the hearing, I had to be honest,” Wesley told the Sydenham Current.
Wesley added he has no intention of seeking Chatham-Kent’s top spot on council either.
“The position of Mayor of Chatham-Kent does not interest me, my heart is in Wallaceburg, and besides Mayor Randy Hope has always been very good to me and my concerns about Wallaceburg,” Wesley said.
Reports say Jakubec felt “blind-sided” by the ruling, adding he was not aware of any court date.
Published reports indicate Jakubec intends to appeal the ruling and file a complaint with the ombudman’s office against Wesley.
Watch for more on this story.
– Photo credit: Aaron Hall