By Marianne Curtis
Saskatchewan RCMP have arrested and charged former RM of La Broquerie administrator Lori Wood with theft over $5,000.
According to Maidstone RCMP, the arrest was the result of a complaint by the Maidstone Arena Board, on which Wood participated as a volunteer board member. The complaint accuses Wood of issuing cheques “without authorization” for which she was the beneficiary. The total loss to the board is alleged to be in excess of $15,000.
Wood was released from police custody and ordered to appear in Saskatchewan Provincial Court in Lloydminster on June 28.
Mayor Connie McCulloch confirmed that Wood has been employed by the Town of Maidstone as administrator since September.
“I cannot comment on the case at this time because it is a legal matter,” she stated. “However, there were problems.”
A source from Maidstone alleges that Wood went on stress leave over a month ago leaving residents to deal with a snowfall and spring flooding without town employees available.
“I know that she went on stress leave about a month ago and somehow got most of the staff and some of the town workers to go along with it too,” stated the source. “We went about five to seven days with no one working here. Some of the town residents were taking the time on their own to run things and make sure culverts were cleared and streets plowed as we had a dump of snow and spring thaw was getting under way.”
This is not the first time that Wood has incited a coup. Wood, along with several staffers went on stress leave in the RM of La Broquerie. Then she briefly worked for several municipalities including the RM’s of Armstrong, Lynn Lake and Plum Coulee before relocating to Saskatchewan where problems within that council allegedly surfaced.
However, it was her employment history with the RM of La Broquerie that made Wood infamous. Last year she made numerous allegations against the municipal council at the time by alleging that the former reeve stolen a historic firearm from the municipal vault, that certain councillors were bending the rules to suit their own agenda’s and that council was breaking their own municipal bylaws. She relentlessly pursued the matter with the Province, Ombudsman’s Office, RCMP and the Auditor General until just before the fall election when she relocated to Maidstone, Saskatchewan.
When asked if Wood’s arrest could incite a financial audit in the RM of La Broquerie, Reeve Claude Lussier says that as far as he is concerned the matter is closed.
“We are a new council and I ran on the platform that the past is the past,” stated Lussier. “We are writing a new chapter for the municipality.”
He further confirmed that since the new council took office in the fall, the municipality has not been contacted regarding any of the investigations launched by Wood’s complaints. pertaining the issues raised by Wood prior to the election.
“We (council) do not know the status of any of the investigations,” Lussier added. “We have not heard anything from any of the departments that were investigating.”
Wood did not respond to any of the Dawson Trail Dispatch’s requests for an interview.