Rob Fleming, NDP MLA, facing defamation lawsuit from deputy minister Athana Mentzelopolous
The province's deputy minister for jobs, tourism and skills training is suing an NDP member of the Legislature for allegedly claiming the civil servant got her job because she was a bridesmaid for Premier Christy Clark.
Athana Mentzelopolous claims Rob Fleming damaged her reputation when the MLA for Swan Lake, Victoria, published comments in an email to NDP supporters and on an NDP webpage that suggested she obtained her position because she was a bridesmaid at Clark's wedding in 1996 and doesn't deserve her $247,000-per-year salary.
Her lawyer David Wotherspoon says the comments damaged her reputation.
"Athana is a career civil servant who's worked for the federal government. She was recruited by the Campbell government to work for the province of British Columbia. She is not a political appointee and her reputation as a civil servant is very important to her."
"She found it very troubling to have someone to say such things about her and to use her inappropriately as political fodder, said Wotherspoon.
Fleming was not available for comment, but an NDP spokesperson says he plans to "vigorously defend himself in court."