NDP MLA Jenny Kwan fielded questions from reporters Friday after saying she would repay her family's vacation costs linked to the Portland Hotel Society.

Kwan repays $35,000 in travel costs, takes leave

Longtime NDP MLA won't resign her Vancouver seat after audit uncovers vacation spending by society

Embattled NDP MLA Jenny Kwan said Friday she has repaid nearly $35,000 in questionable vacation expenses to the Portland Hotel Society relating to trips her family took in 2012 after the release of bombshell government audits this week.

A tearful Kwan told reporters she will take a leave of absence of undetermined length but will remain MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant.

“Words cannot adequately express how shocked and sorry I am about the findings of these audits,” Kwan said. “I can’t tell you how upsetting this is to me.”

She said she believed the portion of costs for her and her children to go along on trips to Europe and Disneyland that surfaced in the Portland audits had been paid by her estranged husband, a Portland Hotel Society manager at the time.

Citing difficulty getting Portland to verify the amounts linked to her family and in determining whether her husband would repay the money, Kwan said she was doing it herself via a cheque delivered that morning for $34,922.57.

She said that’s the full amount that either her ex-husband or her family is associated with that was paid by Portland.

“I trusted that he was telling the truth,” Kwan said. “I’m taking responsibility for this because I was part of the family unit at the time.”

Kwan’s statement follows revelations in twin audits released by the province that uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in irregular management expenses by the non-profit society that serves people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The money Kwan is repaying includes a Europe trip to Vienna and Bristol and a separate trip to Disneyland.

Kwan said she booked and paid for the Disneyland vacation herself but her husband then told her they had a hotel upgrade, which she believed he and not Portland had paid for.

Asked by reporters if she had considered resigning, Kwan responded: “No, I haven’t.”

The Portland Hotel Society board and senior managers resigned earlier this week after the provincial government threatened to cut off funding if they didn’t.

Health Minister Terry Lake said the millions of dollars in questionable or unsubstantiated expenses uncovered by the audits were an inappropriate and unacceptable use of taxpayers’ money.

Large amounts were spent on vacations, high-end hotels, limousines and other questionable expenses, including payments to various affiliated companies run by PHS staff or board members.

The society operates the supervised drug injection site in the Downtown Eastside, as well as other services.

Just Posted

FILOMI Days sees massive crowd arrive in town to enjoy weekend festivities

The North Island Gazette was at just about every event this weekend.

Rumble on the Runway returns to Port McNeill Airport

In fact, the event is so popular that officials say it is usually sold out months in advance.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Fireweed in full bloom

“This year is shaping up to be a good year for fireweed.”

Tahsis Inlet voted BC’S top boating destination for 2019

Tahsis Inlet is located midway up the west coast of Vancouver Island

Oceanfront RV campground in Port Alice is open for business

Anstee plans to have other amenities besides camping, “but for now, this is it.”

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Vancouver Island teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students, parents

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Vancouver Island man wanted after walking away from halfway house in Victoria

Warrant issued for Jesse Goodale, convicted of aggravated assault

Most Read