Cape Breton RCMP investigate alleged blackmail involving call to male escort

By The Canadian Press
April 11, 2016 - 11:32am

HALIFAX — RCMP in Cape Breton have opened an investigation into a municipal councillor's allegation that someone tried to blackmail him by revealing a call made from his hotel room to a male escort service.

Earlier this week, Steve Sampson told a news conference he recently received an anonymous letter threatening to release a copy of a hotel bill from February 2014 unless he resigned and promised not to run for office again.

Sampson, a member of Richmond County council, confirmed the bill included a phone call to a male escort agency, incurred while he was on county business in Seattle, Wash.

The municipal councillor said he took the letter to the RCMP, calling it an attempt to blackmail a public official.

"We are conducting an investigation," said RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke. "That's really all I can say on it."

Sampson said he trusted local residents to weigh the motives of the alleged blackmailer against his conduct during 25 years as a councillor.

He said he received dozens of supportive emails from the county and across the province after his news conference Thursday.

As warden until 2014, Sampson led a successful fight to reduce county council to five seats from 10.

"The blackmailer apparently believes I can be embarrassed or shamed into resigning my seat, but I will not be blackmailed into leaving public office," he told The Canadian Press.

"Unlike the blackmailer, I have complete faith in the fairness and good judgment of the people of Richmond County."

His expenses were released in response to a Freedom of Information request by a county resident, part of an expenses scandal that grew from the fight over council's size.


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