By Robert Frank
Beaconsfield mayoral candidate Hela Labene has abandoned her court challenge questioning the right of former Beaconsfield District 2 councillor Karin Essen to hold elected office, city manager Patrice Boileau told The Suburban, Nov. 3.
“The case has been withdrawn,” Boileau said in an interview on election night.
The lawsuit appeared largely moot, given that Essen’s term effectively ended with Sunday’s municipal election.
Essen, who was obliged to take up residence—at least temporarily—in Lachine, because of ongoing divorce proceedings, decided not to seek reelection.
In an interview with The Suburban, Labene expressed the hope that if the court removed Essen from office, it might also have retroactively invalidated some decisions upon which Essen voted.
Essen chaired the Beaconsfield demolition committee, which recently gave a crucial green light that Batshaw Youth and Family Centres needed in order to proceed with the first phase of its $50 million, open-custody facility for troubled youth.
Beaconsfield city council voted unanimously, Sept. 23, to cover the cost of defending Essen against the lawsuit.
Labene had previously disrupted Beaconsfield’s April council meeting, loudly demanding that Essen be summarily dismissed, and refused to cede the floor of the council chamber until police were called to remove her.
She came dead last in this year’s balloting, garnering 438 votes—30 more than she earned in her mayoral bid four years ago—despite vigorous door-to-door campaigning and ample news coverage.
During the election campaign several citizens questioned the accuracy of the former member of the Parti Québécois’ Jacques Cartier riding executive’s statements that she was an accountant, after the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec told them that they could find no record of Labene’s membership in the professional corporation.
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