Penticton hockey dorm proponent pleads not guilty

One of the men facing fraud charges relating to a failed trip to Europe from a defunct hockey organization has pleaded not guilty.

One of the men facing fraud charges relating to a failed trip to Europe from a defunct hockey organization has pleaded not guilty.

Defence lawyer James Pennington appeared on behalf of his client Michael Elphicke to enter a plea of not guilty, and elect that the trial take place in front of a provincial judge, on Wednesday.

Neither Elphicke or co-accused Loren Reagan appeared in court for the charges of theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and the unauthorized management of a lottery that both face relating to the Okanagan Elite Hockey Association.

Reagan has yet to enter a plea and the matter was put over to June 10 while Reagan’s Calgary lawyer finishes a trial in Alberta.

The association was involved in a civil suit in 2012 with parents who had raised over $100,000 through fundraising efforts to send minor hockey players to Europe, when the trip was abruptly cancelled.

The two men now face criminal charges for the failed hockey trip which were sworn on Jan. 29.

The lawyer representing the parents in the civil suit, Nathan Wahoski, told the Western News in 2012 that nobody knew where the money for the trip went.

“The bottom line is that someone took the money and used it for other things, maybe used it for personal reasons,” Wahoski said.

The City of Penticton unknowingly received money from the fund, and Reagan was also tied to the failed hockey dormitory project on Eckhardt Avenue.

The $925,000 purchase of the property from the city never went through, however construction began until the city issued a stop work order after contractors went unpaid.