A longtime Conservative is denying a report that suggests he knowingly bought hundreds of dollars of alcohol for underage girls at a nightclub last month.
The denial came after the Buzzfeed website published photographs that appeared to show Rick Dykstra posing with teenaged girls at the Mansion House nightclub on Sept. 2 in his riding of St. Catharines, where he's seeking reelection.
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Dykstra is seen smiling in a photo alongside several people who are holding beverages in their hands at the club, a popular spot for the city's university students.
His campaign denied he knowingly bought underage girls any alcohol, adding he assumed anyone at the nightclub was of legal drinking age.
"Mr. Dykstra was in a licensed establishment, where patrons are required to be 19 or older," Karen Moncur, Dykstra's campaign spokeswoman, said in an email.
"Given Ontario's rigorous ID requirements, Mr. Dykstra had no reason to believe anyone in the establishment was underage. Mr. Dykstra did not purchase drinks for any of the individuals in question, nor did he see them consume any alcohol from the bottles he purchased."
Moncur said that Dykstra was with members of his campaign team and his family "on the night in question."
Buzzfeed reported that two of the girls tweeted about Dykstra's alleged generosity, and one of them — who told the website she was 16 at the time — reportedly alleged she was later offered a bribe by a supporter of Dykstra to deny it had ever happened in the form of VIP service at the club.
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An emailed statement from Dykstra did not speak to the allegation of a bribe.
On Sept. 3, an 18-year-old girl tweeted "thanks for the bottle service last night @RickDykstra," Buzzfeed reported. She also said in another tweet that at least six bottles of Ciroc vodka — at $170 each — were purchased for the girls.
Another girl, 16 at the time but now 17, tweeted: "Lol Rick Dykstra just paid for our bottle service," according to Buzzfeed.
The tweets have since been deleted, but were obtained by the website.
Buzzfeed reported that an associate and supporter of the Conservative incumbent then reached out to the 16-year-old girl and offered her indefinite VIP service at Mansion House — once she was of legal drinking age — if she refrained from tweeting about the night and if she claimed Dykstra never bought her drinks.
The website says she provided a screenshot of their exchange, which it published.
The associate, reportedly a recently departed sales manager for Ciroc vodka, denied to Buzzfeed that he'd seriously offered her VIP treatment or asked her to take down any tweets. The VIP offer was made merely in jest, he said.
Conservative campaign spokesman Kory Teneycke says Dykstra remains the candidate in the riding.