June 24, 2013 – Mayor Wells and his wife Dr. Martha Collins attend an open house for a $800,000 mansion at Regal Ridge east of Osoyoos. After visiting for about an hour they leave and notice two signs on a nearby fence post saying “BUYER BEWARE”. This fence about 3 homes down the hill.
Finding them offensive they took them down, put them in their trunk and disposed of them further down the road. The act was caught on video, RCMP investigated and the court system used something called “alternatives measures” to conclude the matter. Stu and Martha admit to committing the act.
The Well’s paid a small sum for the loss and the case file was closed. Mayor Wells also wrote a letter to the owner of the home with the signs – Mr. Oliver Betz and his partner. Date of that letter May of this year.
Yesterday ODN received the following letter and contacted RCMP and Mr. Wells:
“In regard to Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells’ sudden decision to withdraw his candidacy for the upcoming term, I believe there is a reason that he has not made public.
Mr. Wells was involved in a theft from my property last year, along with his wife, Dr. Martha Collins and a contracted employee from Osoyoos Mountain Estates (OME). The tresspassing and theft of signs were captured on video from a surveillance camera. The matter was handed over to the RCMP and a six month “investigation” followed. Despite accepting criminal responsibility, the Mayor, Dr. Collins and the OME employee, all evaded charges and were referred directly to probation. Mr. Wells also avoided a Breach of Trust charge (warranted due to his capacity as an elected official), which I understand the RCMP should have pursued.
In the weeks preceding the Mayor’s withdrawal of his candidacy, I heard anecdotally from a few people in Osoyoos that the Mayor was getting very anxious about the number of people aware of the thefts, and the impact on his campaign. One individual was even visited at his place of work by a Wells rep who told him to stop talking about the thefts because “Stu is getting upset about how many people know”. Likewise, I heard that Dr. Collins was confronted with the story of the thefts and asked her patient to “keep it to herself during the campaign period”.
Whether Mr. Wells’ withdrawal from the current Mayoral race represents a “hiatus” from politics as he stated, or is a permanent retirement from politics, I think the matter of why the Mayor trespassed onto my property and stole legal signs (which were meant to protect his constituents) continues to be a matter of public interest. I believe that the citizens of Osoyoos and the RDOS (as he is a Director), are entitled to know what motivated the theft of the signs. In case Mr. Wells returns to politics, I believe citizens also have a right to know the true character and history of the individual they are voting for.
The significance of the signs which were stolen is key, therefore I have attached background information and would be happy to discuss further. I am a pilot who is frequently out of the country, so email contact is most convenient.”
Mayor Wells says he and wife admit everything and have taken the necessary steps to apologize and compensate. Was this a factor in his recent decision to not run again? “Jake, this incident has play a role in my life, for sure”. “This process was fair, but a wake up call” says Wells.
Wells anticipates some controversy on this matter and is planning to speak to all media Friday.