Frank Butt back as Carbonear mayor, not in conflict of interest, judge rules

He went to court to get his job back, and he won.

Council voted to remove Butt over a 2014 motion

Frank Butt will be reinstated as mayor of Carbonear. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Frank Butt will be reinstated as mayor of Carbonear, after a judge ruled he was not in a conflict of interest related to a 2014 town council decision. 

"Council is relieved the process is finally over," according to a press release issued by the Town of Carbonear late Thursday afternoon. 

The town announced it had received a decision by Justice Robert Stack, who had presided over a two-day hearing in March.

Butt was removed by the town council in December 2017, just a few months after he was elected to the position. 

The issue centred around a 2014 motion by Butt, who at that time was a councillor, to demolish a rundown Carbonear property adjacent to a gas station he owned off Water Street.

Council ruled that Butt was in a conflict because having the council pay to tear down the building benefited Butt's neighbouring gas station by increasing its value.

The demolished building had been there for years — as an Easy Save, and most recently a company called Surprise Bag, which assembled and sold prize bags for children.

Butt speaks with lawyer Kyle Rees during a court appearance in January 2018. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Council received a letter — which Butt said arrived undated, unaddressed and unsigned — concerning the motion and ultimately, councillors voted to declare Butt's seat vacant. 

Butt took his fight to get his job back to the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court, arguing, in part, that council should have disregarded the letter, which is standard practice for anonymous correspondence.

"Arrangements are being made to have Mr. Butt reinstated as mayor," according to Thursday's media release.

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