Construction firm sues disqualified mayoral candidate over bribery remarks

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A Winnipeg mayoral candidate whose name wasn’t on the ballot after missing a deadline, is being sued for defamation over comments he allegedly made at a seniors’ forum during the campaign.

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A Winnipeg mayoral candidate whose name wasn’t on the ballot after missing a deadline, is being sued for defamation over comments he allegedly made at a seniors’ forum during the campaign.

Court documents show Govind Thawani is being sued by Bayview Construction, its president Blake Karschuk and company vice-presidents Jeff Krawetz and John Motkaluk (mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk’s brother).

The lawsuit seeks damages for comments it attributes to Thawani during a Sept. 7 event at the Good Neighbours Active Living Centre, according to a statement of claim filed Sept. 14. Thawani registered a mayoral bid but did not complete the nomination process by the Sept. 20 deadline, which disqualified him from the race.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Govind Thawani is being sued for defamation over comments he allegedly made at a seniors’ forum during the mayoral elections campaign.

“The defendant said the following words: The power of the bribe takes over; I have worked at the city for 12 years and if you wanted to grow you had to be like Bayview Construction and (use) bribes,” the court document states.

The statement of claim asserts Thawani was well aware that Bayview has obtained many city contracts and that his comments were made publicly in the presence of the media, other candidates, campaign staff and about 40 senior citizens.

“The plaintiffs state that the language employed by the defendant was defamatory and untrue and puts the reputation of all plaintiffs into dire danger,” the document states.

A second legal document shows Thawani has not yet been served with legal papers, accusing him of “likely evading” that process. As a result, the court is now being asked for an order that allows alternate ways to serve the papers, such as through another person, by mail or through a newspaper notice.

Thawani, the second mayoral hopeful to be hit with a defamation suit, told the Free Press by text message that he no longer lives in Manitoba.

Don Woodstock was being sued for comments he made about John Motkaluk and others at the same event, when he responded to a question about recycling crushed rock to fill and pave roads. Woodstock later apologized for his comments and the lawsuit was withdrawn.

Joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

History

Updated on Friday, November 4, 2022 12:04 PM CDT: Adds comment from Thawani

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