Nova Scotia·Exclusive

Cape Breton MLA can't bill taxpayers for Halifax home

Gordie Gosse's office determined Samson lives full time in Halifax, spends most of his time in the city and can no longer bill taxpayers for his monthly rent.

Michel Samson asked for a review after a CBC investigation

The Speaker’s office has sent a letter to Richmond MLA Michel Samson informing him taxpayers will no longer pay for him to rent a home in Halifax, CBC News has learned.

Samson asked for a review of his living arrangements after a CBC investigation raised a number of questions about the house he rents in the city.

MLA's from outside Halifax are given an allowance up to $1,470 to rent accommodations in the city. Under the rules it can't be a principal residence and the rental arrangement can't benefit the member or any associated persons.

For the past six years Samson and his wife, who works in Halifax as an executive with the Irving Shipyard, have rented a house in the south-end of the city.

Even though he owns a home in Arichat, the ruling from Gordie Gosse's office determined Samson lives full time in Halifax, spends most of his time in the city and can no longer bill taxpayers for his monthly rent.

Samson said he’s challenging the ruling.

"The decision by the Speaker again was based on some false assumptions that were made due to a lack of information. As soon as I saw that I endeavored to provide him with the specific information to show them some of those assumptions were false," said Samson.

He would not explain what information he believes is wrong.

Samson filed new documents for the Speaker’s office to look at on Wednesday night. Gosse said it will probably take about a week to review them.

He said because Samson asked for the review he won't release details of his ruling.

"I’m going to look at the information that was given to me...I’m not going to divulge his personal information," he said.

Over that six-year period Samson billed taxpayers for more than $115,000 in rent. On Thursday the Speaker's office wouldn’t say if it will ask Samson to pay it back.

The house Samson rents is owned by Edgar Samson, a well-known businessman in Arichat who is not related to MLA Samson. Samson describes Edgar Samson as a "close friend" who has donated to both, his election campaigns in 2006 and 2009 and to the Liberal party of Nova Scotia.

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