Fines handed down to Shores of Erie International Wine Festival

(UPDATED TUES., DEC. 5)

By Jolene Perron

 

“After being through this, the committee members decided it was best to maybe let someone else take over or pursue this event. We made this decision collectively a few months ago.”

Shores of Erie International Wine Fest Corporation chairperson, Karen Gyorgy explained the chain of events following the September 2014 festival have impacted the committee to a great extent and none of them “have the heart left to pursue it.”

Her comments came after Justice of the peace Mike Hurst fined the festival $30,000 on their first charge and $22,500 on their second charge. He also added a victim surcharge of $13,125, giving a grand total fine of $65,625. The corporation’s lawyer Patrick Ducharme requested six months to pay, which Hurst granted.

“The five volunteer board members are unquestionably people of good character,” said Hurst.

The corporation was found guilty in September earlier this year of failing to inspect a piece of identification, and allowing a person apparently under the age of 19 to drink liquor.

In coming to his conclusion and total fine amounts, Hurst explained he had to “consider a lengthy list of matters.” Hurst listed a number of aggravating factors, including the fact that Emily lost her life. He also listed a number of mitigating factors, including that the defendant at trial demonstrated its due diligence, even though “that diligence fell short.”

“We worked hard as volunteers to put on a quality festival and expose our great community, bringing a $2.5 million economic impact to our region,” said Gyorgy. “I’m extremely proud of the festival, I’m extremely proud of the volunteers. I just never expected that the Shores of Erie would go out this way. It is an emotional time.”

The family of Emily Bernauer said they believed Hurst did the right thing and they respect his decision. However, they do still hold angst towards the Amherstburg Police Service in regards to the investigation into Emily’s fatal crash.

The Bernauer family called for the resignation of Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume.

“We were just looking for the truth,” stated Christian Bernauer, Emily’s father. “We don’t want any money from the town. Amherstburg is a beautiful town and it doesn’t deserve this. They need to get good people to take charge and a guy like Tim Berthiaume needs to move over, there are plenty of good officers that can do his job and do it right.”

Bernauer said it was “a long journey” and said it was the family the got the AGCO and Ministry of Labour involved “or else this investigation would never have got here.”

 

 

ORIGINAL VERSION — The fines have been handed down in relation to the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival’s guilty verdicts.

The festival corporation was found guilty in September of failing to inspect a piece of identification, and allowing a person apparently under the age of 19 to drink liquor. Total fines exceeding $65,000 were issued Monday afternoon, reports the RTT’s Jolene Perron.

The breakdown of the fines sees the festival corporation fined $30,000 for one count, $22,500 for the second and a victim surcharge of $13,125. Total fines are $65,625.

In a statement released by SOE festival chair Karen Gyorgy, she stated: “As a committee, the Shores of Erie Wine Festival is very proud of what we accomplished for our community and the Lake Erie North Shore Winery region in the ten years we held our wine festival on the beautiful grounds of Fort Malden National Historic Site.

We worked hard as volunteers to put on a quality festival and expose our great community, bringing a $2.5 million economic impact to our region.

Giving back to local youth groups, businesses and local projects such as the Amherstburg Family Health Care Centre, the Libro Centre, the Rotary Inclusive Playground, the House of Shalom, Amherstburg’s baseball and skating organization and local seniors groups to name a few was our mandate.

Our volunteers were the best, the partnerships we developed with wineries and restaurants were amazing, but it was the tireless dedication of volunteer committee members throughout the years that made our festival happen and something I will forever be proud of!

Today, I can announce that The Shores of Erie Wine Festival will no longer happen.

We hope we have helped pave the way for any future events and sincerely hope that these events will accomplish what we tried so hard to do in our ten years as volunteers.

Thank you.”

The Bernauer family is also expected to make a statement.

…MORE TO COME…

Comments are closed.