Whitehorse Daily Star

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TOWN’S MAYOR ACCUSED OF OFFENCES – Cheryl O’Brien was elected to Watson Lake’s mayoralty in October 2018. Photo courtesy TOWN OF WATSON LAKE

Mayor facing criminal charges; due to appear in court Oct. 6

The mayor of Watson Lake is facing two criminal charges after the Watson Lake Riding Association was allegedly defrauded of funds exceeding $5,000.

By Gabrielle Plonka on August 7, 2020

The mayor of Watson Lake is facing two criminal charges after the Watson Lake Riding Association was allegedly defrauded of funds exceeding $5,000.

Cheryl O’Brien, who has served as the mayor of the southeast Yukon community since 2018, is facing one charge of defrauding the riding association on or between May 20 and July 29.

The charges were laid Thursday, according to court documentation.

Court documents say O’Brien “did knowingly make false documents, to wit cheques payable to herself, with intent that they be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of Watson Lake Riding Association.”

O’Brien’s court date is set for Oct. 6. in Watson Lake.

O’Brien, 47, was elected in October 2018 to her first term as mayor.

She received 282 votes compared to 188 votes for Justin Brown, the only other candidate.

The biography posted to the Association of Yukon Communities website shortly after her election slates O’Brien as a committee member of the Watson Lake Riding Association, Chamber of Commerce, Training Trust and 4-H Multiclub, as well as the Yukon Housing Board.

Comments (19)

Up 9 Down 2

Rolf on Aug 13, 2020 at 5:39 am

Will the MLA make an appearance in Territorial court as a character witness to address this heinous situation and speak to her involvement therein?

Up 0 Down 13

Nathan Living on Aug 13, 2020 at 2:25 am

This is pretty sad really. This would almost certainly never happen in Whitehorse.

Thank you Whitehorse mayor and council for your honesty.

Up 9 Down 0

drum on Aug 12, 2020 at 6:40 pm

Who cares what her political affiliations are - she stole - knowingly and deliberately - at least that is what she is being accused of.

Up 4 Down 25

David packer on Aug 12, 2020 at 10:17 am

I’m sure she feels bad. And to all you people making comments, I’m sure you are all perfect. Hang in there Cheryl.

Up 8 Down 12

friends with a MLA doesn't paint her stripes on Aug 11, 2020 at 4:09 pm

Good try though. I take it you don't know her.

Up 25 Down 3

jim on Aug 11, 2020 at 1:43 pm

So that's what the commenters are worried about. That they are in the same political party? It's a small community. My guess is that people who are friends may support the same or different party. There are people who don't like each other who belong to the same party as well. So when they find Trudeau guilty of most likely his 3rd ethics violation, does that mean we paint our mayor of Whitehorse with the same brush? If fraud was committed, then let the person(s) be accountable.

Up 21 Down 7

Seriously hahaha on Aug 11, 2020 at 9:53 am

The former mayor is a liberal. Do none of you have friends who vote differently than you? Or who have done bad things? Does this make you a bad person for being friends with them, or make you automatically of the same political stripe?

I like my MLA. She's helped me with some pretty serious family stuff and is a dedicated community member.
Not many people here - lots are friends. Don't lose focus people.

And please for the love of god, someone decent step forward in the byelection so we are not stuck with the former, former mayor.

Up 26 Down 21

EJ on Aug 10, 2020 at 3:01 pm

@Uh she's
She is best buds with the Yukon Party MLA for the area and she was attacking the fed and territorial Libs within the past year. Anyone from Watson Lake will confirm her conservative allegiance. Nice try though. It's rather ironic to see law breakers from the "law and order" party though isn't it?

Up 53 Down 1

Oya on Aug 10, 2020 at 9:48 am

Fraud is fraud.... taking something that is not yours by deceitful/dishonest means. I don't care what her circumstances were. Nothing makes fraud ok.

Up 23 Down 11

uh, she's a liberal on Aug 9, 2020 at 5:20 pm

Funny that everyone is painting her as a Con - liberals can claim their mayor.

Up 36 Down 2

Terri Szabo on Aug 9, 2020 at 2:35 pm

Don't pass go. Don't collect $200. Go directly to jail. You do the crime, you do the time.

Up 49 Down 8

Watson lake accountant on Aug 9, 2020 at 10:48 am

Lol... a hot bed of conservative politics there in Watson lake and here is a ring leader. Sure she may have been helpful and productive to the community, however it should be interesting to find her "motivation" for this heinous crime against the community and the entitlement she felt that gave her the foundation, let alone thinking that she wouldn't be caught in such an armature act of theft.

Up 55 Down 3

Rob on Aug 9, 2020 at 6:25 am

Bette-Lou Bergeron.... that’s the silliest comment I’ve ever read in my life! She stole money! Do you think she stole it to help the less fortunate or to benefit the community? Give your head a shake!

Up 15 Down 37

Chicken Man Killed the Rooster on Aug 8, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Dear Christine - Everyone makes mistakes. It’s okay. A lot of people who voted Liberal at the Federal and Territorial level are ashamed... The roosters in Ottawa have stretched there vocal cords beyond repair... As for Whitehorse... Well, the government was smart enough to ban them... So the Yukon Liberals do not have to worry about all their denials... Crickets from those who should cry fowl. The Liberals have their Silver... Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

Up 28 Down 2

Drunks drink on Aug 8, 2020 at 5:27 pm

I donated to the association. I hope that money made it there.

Up 19 Down 60

Bette- Lou Bergeron on Aug 7, 2020 at 8:30 pm

There’s a lot more going on here than what is being presented to the public. Everyone makes mistakes in their lives and no one should be condemned for an action made in the dark. Focus on the reasons why this happened and not kick her when she’s down. She’s been a great asset and valued community member in Watson Lake. Before you pick at the splinter in someone’s eye, take the log out of your own.

Up 45 Down 3

christine semple on Aug 7, 2020 at 8:18 pm

I trusted her and voted for her, I'm ashamed.

Up 45 Down 10

Rolf on Aug 7, 2020 at 7:31 pm

Are the Mayor and MLA in the same party?

Up 42 Down 8

Jeff F. on Aug 7, 2020 at 4:35 pm

Was the MLA involved?

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