Don Martin sues PC party for $124K over bribery allegations

A former candidate disqualified from running for the Tory nomination in a north Edmonton riding has launched a $124,000 lawsuit against the party.

Don Martin says he was not allowed to review affidavit accusing him of attempted bribery

Don Martin's lawsuit alleges that he was forced from the nomination race in Edmonton-Decore over false bribery allegations. (CBC)

A former candidate kicked out of the Tory nomination in a north Edmonton riding has launched a $124,000 lawsuit against the party.

In the lawsuit, Don Martin alleges he was unfairly forced from the race in Edmonton-Decore by the party's nomination committee following false claims that he attempted to bribe another candidate.

"I was accused of something that, frankly, I didn't do," Martin told CBC News.  

The suit alleges that on March 6, Martin received a phone call from Kelley Charlebois, the PC party's executive director, telling him to withdraw from the race or risk being publicly disqualified as a candidate.

When asked why he was being disqualified, Martin says he was told that an unnamed individual swore an affidavit claiming that he had offered money to a candidate in another riding, Edmonton-Meadowlark, to withdraw in favour of Martin's preferred candidate. 

A candidate in the Edmonton-Meadowlark riding, Tom Choucair, was later disqualified over allegations that one of his opponents was offered money to step out of the race. It is unknown if the two disqualifications were related. Choucair said he was pressured to drop from the race by Alberta's health minister to ensure another candidate's victory. 

Martin said he asked to see the affidavit, but Charlebois refused. He said he also wasn't allowed to make any rebuttal of the allegations. 

"Backroom affidavits ... this is some pretty underhanded stuff. Sometimes, it's important to stand up and set a precedent," Martin said. 

When he told Charlebois he would not withdraw, Martin said he was threatened with being publicly accused of the alleged bribery.

"I find that morally akin to blackmail. It's fundamentally wrong."

He said the call ended, followed by a second call minutes later when Charlebois stated he did not intend to threaten Martin. 

Martin's suit accuses Charlebois of either inventing the allegations or negligently spreading them without confirming their accuracy. By spreading the allegations within the party and to the media, Martin alleges his reputation was damaged.

The suit also names Charlebois and the unnamed author of the affidavit as defendants.

The defendants in the suit have not filed statements of defense in the lawsuit and none of the allegations in the lawsuit has been proven in court.