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Fildebrandt apologizes, takes leave of absence from UCP finance critic role

Fildebrandt apologizes, takes leave of absence from UCP finance critic role
From CBC - August 10, 2017

Alberta's official Opposition finance critic Derek Fildebrandtwill take a leave of absence from his dutieseffective immediately, according to a statement from the United Conservative Party MLA Thursday night.

It's the first formal statement fromthe embattled Strathmore-BrooksMLA since the revelation brokethat he was earning money by subletting his downtown Edmonton condominiumwhile also claiming thousands of dollars in housing allowance.

"I believed that renting out my Edmonton home while I was away was above board and never costed the taxpayer anything extra," Fildebrandtsaid in a statement provided by the United Conservative Party.

"I however recognize the perception that this is not good enough, and have spoken with my constituents, and they are never wrong. I apologize."

Fildebrandtsaid he has paid back the $2,555 he earned from renting out hisapartment overeight months "to the taxpayer." A spokesperson for the UCP said ThursdayFildebrandtpaid the money to the Legislative Assembly Office earlier in the day.

"I am scheduled to leave for a family vacation out of provincetomorrowand will be taking a leave of absence from my finance duties effective today," Fildebrandtsaid.

"The UCP believes in fiscal accountability and protecting taxpayers."

The statement was immediately followed by a statement fromUnited Conservative Party Interim Leader Nathan Cooper, who reiterated Fildebrandt'sapology and confirmed his departure.

"Derek has apologized for renting his Edmonton home out and has given the proceeds to the taxpayer," Cooper said.

"Effective today he is taking a leave of absence from his co-critic finance role."

Both news releases said there would be no further comment.

Fildebrandtquestions timing of story

Earlier in the day, Fildebrandt had noted the information was leaked to the media the day after he said he would not be voting for former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean, who is now campaigning for the leadership of the UCP.

"I hope that my stance two days ago concerning the UCP leadership race in no way influenced the timing of this story."

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark said he has asked the Speaker of the legislature to review Fildebrandt's sub-rental of the apartment and wants a full review of living expenses claimed by all members of the assembly.

No rules were broken, according to Speaker

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