A man who ran for Okotoks town council in 2021 has been fined $643,228 by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

A media release from the CRA details the events leading up the fine as well as a 15-month conditional sentence for Foothills resident Rodney Potrie.

An investigation revealed that Potrie's company RAP Designs Inc. bought 110.94 acres of land in Carstairs in 2008.

The land was purchased for $3,120,000, and after a series of taxable land transfers, it was sold for $7,500,000.

According to the CRA, Potrie filed a nil T2 corporate tax return that year, knowingly omitting $3,472,962 of income, and evading $643,228 in income tax in the process.

He pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion under the Income Tax Act in November of 2021 and now has been ordered to pay that amount, in addition to the aforementioned 15-month conditional sentence.

When asked to comment on the situation, Potrie submitted a written statement claiming his company was unable to complete the purchase at a time, and that a third party offered to close the transaction.

Potrie's account of the event states that the third party purchaser closed the deal, but eventually mortgaged the land three times, and encouraged Potrie to place a mortgage on his own home, which he did.

He states that the purchaser eventually filed for bankruptcy, leaving Potrie as the sole co-signer and that he didn't net any profit from the deal.

"My crucial and critical error in all this was ..... that I innocently thought that if I didn't make any profit, then I wouldn't have to pay any taxes. WRONG !!   I have learned, first hand, by experience, that if a deal states you are to make a profit then you pay the taxes whether you actually receive that money or not.  Mistake number two was that I was not advised by my accountant to claim any losses. A very costly mistake to have made 15 years ago. Had I claimed the actual losses this would have been not just a tax wash, but  a tax rite off for many years of income."

The statement also included an apology to his friends, family, and colleagues who may have been affected, as well as a wish to move forward from the incident which has been unfolding for 15 years.

Potrie previously served a term on Nanton town council and ran for a spot on Okotoks town council in 2021.