Former mayor settles defamation case

NANAIMO – Civil suit against another Nanaimo resident over 'Free Nanaimo from Koruption' stickers continues.

A four-year-old civil lawsuit between former mayor Gary Korpan and downtown merchant Angela Negrin is settled.

In April 2008, Korpan filed a libel and defamation lawsuit against Negrin for placing a bumper sticker that read ‘Free Nanaimo from Koruption’ in the window of Pirate Chips on Commercial Street, which Negrin still owns.

The red, blue and yellow stickers resembled that of popular ‘Free Tibet’ stickers.

Korpan filed a separate writ of summons for Nanaimo resident Tony Parkin, who is alleged to have published and distributed the stickers. That lawsuit remains before the courts.

No details of the settlement were released.

In an e-mail, Korpan would only state, “I can confirm that a settlement of my defamation action against Angela Negrin has occurred.”

Negrin has since moved to Vancouver and could not be reached for comment.

At the time the lawsuits were filed, Korpan was furious with those responsible for the stickers, stating he filed the lawsuit because he had never used his position as mayor for personal gain. Referring to him as corrupt, he said, was defamatory under the Canadian Criminal Code.

Korpan threatened legal action to those involved a year before he filed legal papers on April 18, 2008 in B.C. Supreme Court.

“We sat down with those people who were spreading the lies and they refused to co-operate and misled my lawyer,” Korpan told the News Bulletin in 2008. “After a while we got fed up and filed the papers.”

The animosity between the parties resulted in at least two strange incidents. In one, Parkin invited Korpan to a wrestling match to settle their differences while officially opening the controversial $72-million Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Korpan declined.

In another, Negrin accused Korpan of “threatening me with my life” after he allegedly walked into her restaurant and demanded she take down the sticker. Negrin said she filed a complaint with Nanaimo RCMP.

“I’m scared, I’m embarrassed and I think this is all ridiculous,” she said at the time.

Negrin also ran for mayor in the 2005 civic elections, finishing sixth out of eight candidates with 347 votes. Korpan won with 6,330 votes.

In the 2008 municipal campaign, Negrin ran for councillor and missed out on the eighth and final seat by 138 votes, while Korpan’s lengthy stint as mayor ended with a third-place finish with 16 per cent of the vote.

We are experiencing technical difficulties with our commenting platform and hope to be up and running again soon. In the meantime, you can still send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, or submit a letter to the editor.