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Today's Big Story

Tory Rum Runner Pleads Guilty

Ousted candidate still faces dangerous driving charge

By Richard Warnica 17 Apr 2007 | TheTyee.ca

Richard Warnica is a senior editor at The Tyee.

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From what I know of Nelson, B.C., it is no stranger to big parties. But even by those outsized standards, the one Derek Zeisman had planned for the summer of 2004 would have been a doozy.

That at least is what I gathered from reading this story.

Zeisman was the Conservative candidate in B.C.'s Southern Interior in the last federal election. He also briefly held the title "every journalist's favourite politician" in January of last year.

Over barely a week, Zeisman managed to both make light of a violent collision that saw both drivers badly injured and would eventually lead the RCMP to charge Zeisman with dangerous driving and to admit he was facing a bootlegging charge over about a gallon of liquor found in the back of his '89 Mercedes while he was crossing the border in July 2004.

Andy Prest wrote about the Zeisman affair in Election Central at the time and it eventually made the cut as The Tyee's zaniest story of 2006.

On Monday, Zeisman pleaded guilty in a Surrey court to trying to smuggle 112 bottles of booze into our home and native land. Under the terms of the plea, Zeisman received a year of probation, 35 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine. Five other charges were dropped.

Unfortunately, according to the Canadian Press, Zeisman's lawyer would not explain to reporters what his client wanted with the 78 bottles of hard liquor and 34 bottles of wine found in his trunk.

If my bartending math is correct, Zeisman had about 2000 shooters worth of booze, and about 220 glasses of wine illegally stashed in his Benz. So I'm just going to assume the aspiring politician was planning some kind of giant Nelson hootenanny.  [Tyee]

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