Gym membership, Disney trip, restaurants: Questions about spending at Hampstead Town Hall

Gym membership, Disney trip, restaurants: Questions about spending at Hampstead Town Hall

Serious questions are being raised about how the Town of Hampstead has been spending taxpayer dollars.

A report has concluded that the town’s director general expensed tens of thousands of dollars on things such as restaurants, a gym membership and a trip to Disney World.

The Commission municipale du Quebec report found the official, Richard Sun, regularly used city credit cards to make various purchases, including at the SAQ and the Apple store. In 2022, expenses on the credit card totaled more than $150,000.

The report also found that over the past five years, the director general billed between $8,000 and $14,000 dollars a year on restaurants. He defended the spending, saying there wasn’t enough room to hold meetings at the town hall.

In that same period, between $30,000 and $60,000 a year was billed to allow Sun and certain town officials to attend conferences and training courses outside of Quebec, including at Disney in Florida, two trips to Barcelona, and another to Las Vegas.

The director general also paid for a gym membership on the city’s credit card, according to the report.

In a statement, the commission says its investigation found that: “wrongdoing has been committed against the Town of Hampstead … namely contraventions of the law, abuse of public funds and serious mismanagement.”

However, the commission is not asking for the money to be reimbursed.

Hampstead Mayor Jeremy Levi and the director general did not respond to requests for comment from CTV News on Friday.

In a statement on its website, the town wrote that it “undertakes to review and improve its policies, regulations, and internal controls. This includes the implementation of a strengthened framework for use of Town credit cards, in accordance with the Cities and Towns Act.”

It went on to say that: “The Town expresses its full confidence in its director general and has no reason to suspect any foul play or improper conduct.”

The report is expected to be a major topic of conversation at the next town council meeting next Tuesday.

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