June 25, 2019
June 25, 2019 7:28 PM EDT
Don Valley North MP Geng Tan.Handout/Postmedia Network
Don Valley North MP Geng Tan denies the allegations, saying Ying (Stella) Yu's job in his constituency office was supposed to be temporary
A Liberal MP hired his girlfriend as a constituency assistant, then fired her at his wife’s behest and refused to provide child support to their daughter, according to allegations contained in two lawyers’ letters obtained by the National Post.
Ying (Stella) Yu — who says she gave up a lucrative career in business to work for Don Valley North MP Geng Tan — fell into deep depression after her “ignominious” dismissal, with suicide attempts, anxiety attacks and crying fits, the two letters claim.
But the MP dismissed Yu’s mental-health problems, one of the letters alleges, urging her not to get professional help.
Tan, 55, has strongly denied the allegations, saying Yu’s job in his constituency office was supposed to be temporary, and that he had only provided her a donation of sperm without agreeing to support the resulting child. There was no “misuse” of their acquaintance.
“I will strongly fight for my dignity and honour which is improperly being maligned, alleging wrong facts and concealing the real ones,” the MP said in a statement to the Post. “I have strong support and love of my family.”
He promised to bring a “strong legal response.”
The accusations have surfaced days after Tan — who made history in 2015 as the first Mandarin-speaking, mainland-China native to be elected to Parliament — unexpectedly announced that he would not run for re-election in October. In recent days Tan and his wife have issued statements describing him as a devoted family man.
Yu, 54, acknowledged that Tan provided her with a sperm donation for use in in-vitro fertilization, but said it was merely because she had difficulty getting pregnant naturally at her age. She said her relationship with the MP ended last September, but that she held off on court action in the hope he would voluntarily provide child support and play a part in their daughter’s life. When that did not happen, she said, she decided reluctantly to make her allegations openly.
Even now, I don’t want to hurt him, but I have no other choice (but to go public). I don’t have any hope
“Even now, I don’t want to hurt him, but I have no other choice (but to go public),” Yu said in an interview with the Post. “I don’t have any hope.”
Tan surprised the political world when he won the Liberal nomination for Toronto’s Don Valley North riding before the past election, defeating a candidate favoured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He then won the constituency with 51 per cent of the popular vote.
In a Facebook post last December, Tan announced that he had been re-nominated for this year’s election, thanking Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains for his words of support. “We have accomplished a lot together so far,” Tan wrote. “But there is still a lot more to do as we head into 2019 and beyond.”
Then on June 23, he revealed in another post that he would not be running, saying “time has now come to spend more time with family and pursue other careers.”
“Geng, you are a great MP, a loving and caring father and a good husband,” wife Laura Huang commented on his Facebook page. “As your wife, I firmly support you everything you did and will do.”
Chinese-language media had already reported “rumours” of an affair, suggesting that Tan should address the subject publicly.
But long before recent developments, lawyer Lai-King Hum sent Tan a letter alleging a surprising series of events, saying that Yu had sought legal help on the advice of mental-health professionals.
The six-page, May 2017 missive said Yu gave up a career in finance and real estate that earned her over $200,000 a year to take a $48,000-a-year job as a constituency assistant in December 2015. She had earlier worked as a volunteer on his campaign, drumming up support in the Chinese-Canadian community and raising money.
Tan and his constituency office manager praised her work, but five months later in April 2016 she was “ignominiously terminated,” wrote Hum. The MP said his wife “did not want her in the office, and that there was no room for any negotiation,” alleged the lawyer. Huang herself confirmed the next day that it was her decision, the letter said.
Yu descended into depression and repeatedly attempted suicide in May and June of 2016, the lawyer charged. But Tan “discouraged her from seeking any assistance from a psychologist or social worker,” suggesting she was suffering from menopause, the lawyer alleged.
As your wife, I firmly support you everything you did and will do
Their personal relationship began in 2013 and the MP had repeatedly promised that he would leave his wife and make a life with her, the letter alleged.
But rather than threaten legal action, Hum suggested seeking an “amicable resolution,” and urged Tan to “consider your legal obligations, as well as see that compassion is required in this situation.”
Tan, however, told the Post that Yu’s job “was for a short duration, and during her employment she has been treated properly and fairly. Further, there has been no misuse of acquaintance with her.”
In February 2018, lawyer Vahideh Khalili wrote another letter on Yu’s behalf, saying that Yu had Tan’s daughter in July 2017 but that eight months later he had expressed no desire to see the baby, and made no support payments.
The law requires that someone pay support if the other parent is looking after a child on their own and “no family court would disregard this obligation,” Khalili wrote.
But she suggested he agree to payments of $1,443 a month — based on his MP’s salary of $170,000 and the federal child support guidelines. That would avoid a lengthy court case, and give him “the peace of mind that your personal information as well as your financial disclosure would not become public documents.”
Yu said she didn’t receive a response to either lawyer’s letter.
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