A petition is circulating in Norman Wells seeking the resignation of the mayor, town council and the senior administrative officer, and for a byelection to be held.

Last week, the Town of Norman Wells announced it was withdrawing a lawsuit that had dragged on for close to four years, alleging fraud against former senior administrative officer Catherine Mallon and former mayor Nathan Watson.

READ MORE: https://www.nnsl.com/news/town-of-norman-wells-drops-lawsuit-against-former-sao/

The Town of Norman Wells didn’t respond to questions from NNSL Media on Monday.

On Jan. 27, the municipality posted another statement to its website acknowledging an active legal claim by Mallon for outstanding pay and benefits from her tenure as SAO.

“The matter is still before the courts and, we are not at liberty to discuss our evidence in detail,” the town stated.

It added that it’s aware of Mallon’s stated intent to pursue a claim of malicious prosecution.

“We remain satisfied that the town had and continues to have meritorious evidence supporting our original claim and we will vigorously defend ourselves against any such lawsuit. As to the EPR (Yellowknife, an accounting firm) report, we can say that all of our evidence to date is that MACA (Department of Municipal and Community Affairs) commissioned EPR to conduct a forensic audit to be relied upon by the town for the purpose of litigation. Should the report be used as evidence in Ms. Mallon’s case or subsequent lawsuit, we look forward to hearing EPR’s explanation for any alleged deficiencies in the audit process and why they felt compelled to recant from an audit and report they were contracted by MACA to provide.”

EPR issued an apology to Mallon in November and asserted that its work in this matter was not at the level of a forensic audit.

However, NNSL Media has seen a copy of EPR Yellowknife’s Report to the Town of Norman Wells, dated June 11, 2019, which reads in part: “The attached report is the final copy of the forensic analysis of the Hamlet of Norman Wells former SAO (Catherine Mallon) payroll and expenditures as deliverable under contract #SC-MAC01-4599.”

MACA’s request for proposals in October 2018 sought “services from an audit firm to conduct a forensic audit of certain municipal departments and/or accounts…”

The town stated last week that based on EPR’s November apology to Mallon, “we have determined it no longer prudent to pursue the current course of (legal) action.”

MACA also did not provide immediate comment on Monday to NNSL Media.

The petition in Norman Wells requests an independent inquiry be held and a forensic audit conducted regarding this situation.

Mallon called on Premier Caroline Cochrane last week to launch a public inquiry into the ordeal.

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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