The city has entered discussions with management at the Lakeside Resort in hopes of resolving a lawsuit involving over $600,000 in backpay on the electrical utility out of court, the mayor said.
Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit confirmed informal discussions have taken place between city management and Lakeside owners or managers regarding the amount of electricity which went unpaid for a period of five years due to a faulty meter discovered in January 2013.
“I think both parties want to have this issue resolved and move on to bigger and better things,” Jakubeit said. “It’s a complicated matter in the sense that it’s a large nut to crack, it’s a big dollar figure we can’t just walk away from.”
David Prystay, general manager at the Lakeside Resort, said he had not yet been served any documents.
Filing notice of claim on Jan. 22 showed that the city was serious about trying to come to some sort of resolution, Jakubeit said.
“It’s a big number to just sort of walk away from or not try to acknowledge,” Jakubeit said.
Looking to resolve the issue out of court could save both the city and the Lakeside legal fees and lengthy days in court.
“I think no one really wants to see things go to court, so I think if both parties can get together and try to find some resolution instead of going to the courts and leaving it up to a judge to decide, I think that’s the best process and I think that’s what’s playing out right now,” Jakubeit said. “The less we involve lawyers the better. I think the more our management and the hotel’s management or ownership can get in a room and find some common ground if common ground exists, I think the better we are, the more authentic those conversations are.”
The City of Penticton has one year since the filling of the statement of claim to serve the Lakeside with the court documents.
The faulty meter, the claim states, was located in a locked metering compartment which the city would not have access to without shutting off power to the entire resort, which Jakubeit previously told the Western News was part of the delay between the discovery of the faulty meter in 2013 and the federal investigator’s inspection in 2015 to determine how much power went unpaid.
The claim states the Lakeside informed the city that the city comptroller “pays close attention to electricity bills. However, the comptroller failed to note the drop in consumption in September of 2009 and the demand in October 2009.”