Heed faces new spending allegations

FORMER Solicitor General Kash Heed is back in hot water this week over fresh allegations of campaign violations and the release of politically embarrassing emails he sent while serving as West Vancouver's police chief.

The B.C. Elections Office announced earlier this week it will review the claims that Heed went over his allowable campaign budget during his 2009 run for office in the VancouverFraserview riding by tens of thousands more than he previously admitted to in court.

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CHIEF BACK IN SPOTLIGHT OVER FORMER AIDE'S COMMENTS, EMAILS

The move came after Leonard Krog, the NDP's critic for Attorney General, called on the chief electoral officer to investigate allegations of overspending made by Heed's former campaign manager last Friday.

That aide, Barinder Sall, has since released emails highlighting how Heed's political ambitions were at the forefront during his stint as West Vancouver's top cop - despite his low opinion of several Liberal ministers.

Heed was chief constable of the West Vancouver Police Department for 18 months before resigning in March 2009 to enter provincial politics.

On Oct. 28, Sall pleaded guilty to charges of campaign overspending and misleading election investigators.

He was fined $15,000 and put on a year's probation by Judge Joseph Galati of the Vancouver provincial court.

The plea came little more than a month after Heed himself was fined $11,000 for violating the Elections Act in overspending by $5,500.

Part of the undeclared sum related to pamphlets that were illegally distributed under the direction of Heed's campaign team in the final days of the election.

Heed argued in court that he acted in good faith, relying heavily on his campaign staff such as Sall to file paperwork - including accounting - properly.

But following his own sentencing on Friday, Sall gave at least two media interviews stating that he thought the amount of campaign overspending was actually closer to $40,000, but that he had later destroyed the evidence.

Sall added he didn't act alone in any of the political dirty tricks.

He has since released emails sent by Heed commenting on political issues while serving as top cop in West Vancouver. In one, sent in October 2007, Heed mused about "jumping ship" to the NDP, while in another he referred to Liberal minister Mary McNeil as "a loser."

Sall told Province columnist Mike Smyth that while he was police chief, Heed had a special phone with a secret number in his West Vancouver office that he referred to as the "Bat phone" and took political calls on.

Sall told Smyth he was choosing to reveal the information to prove his longstanding and close ties to Heed.

Material released in January from an RCMP search warrant application had already pointed to Heed's active courting of a political run during his tenure as police chief as well as his close relationship with Sall, who worked for Heed on some police projects and was involved in opening doors for Heed to enter the political arena.

In one of those emails, Heed infamously referred to himself as a "stallion" who was chomping at the bit to get into the political horserace.

A special prosecutor cleared Heed of criminal wrongdoing earlier this year, stating there was no evidence Heed knew - or could have known - about what campaign staff were up to.

But Krog said Sall's latest statements call that into question and need to be examined.

Krog fired off a letter to the chief electoral officer on Monday, saying, "This additional disclosure of significant alleged overspending by Mr. Heed's campaign manager must also be dealt with."

Heed issued a statement Monday saying the issue has already been thoroughly examined by a forensic audit. "The matter is over, and it is time to move forward," he said in the statement.

"The prior decision by the special prosecutor and the court re-affirmed my integrity and I will not be commenting further."

One of Heed's other campaign supporters, Dinesh Khanna, also pleaded guilty to three election act charges Oct. 28. He was fined $3,000 and put on three months probation.

jseyd@nsnews.com

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