B.C. chief paid huge bonus claims he has support

COQUITLAM, B.C. - A British Columbia First Nations chief whose $800,000 bonus sparked vocal criticism and calls for his resignation from members of his tiny band appears to have soothed many of his detractors.

The massive bonus was paid to Kwikwetlem (kwee-kwet-lum) Chief Ron Giesbrecht in his role as the band's economic development officer, and was revealed last week when financial statements were published online.

The chief released a statement Thursday saying that while four people asked him to resign, he has majority support of his First Nation after personal conversations with almost all 57 voting members.

Giesbrecht, whose band has said he was paid under an agreed 10-per-cent bonus structure for development contracts, says he didn't expect his nation to be so successful.

Several band members are now publicly stating their support for the man in videos posted online, including a member named Beverly who says that with Giesbrecht as chief they have "moved forward immensely."

Giesbrecht says he's paid a $4,800 annual salary as chief and another $80,000 per year as economic development officer, while the bonus structure prompting the controversy was removed on April 1.

He was not immediately available for an interview and did not make reference to what he would do with the bonus money.