Thursday, July 3, 2014

Giorgio Mammoliti broke code of conduct: Integrity commissioner

TORONTO - Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti is facing the stiffest punishment possible for an alleged breach of council’s code of conduct by “improperly” accepting $80,000 raised at a dinner held in his honour.

And while Mammoliti maintains he did nothing wrong, Brian Iler — the lawyer who filed the integrity complaint against the veteran councillor — isn’t ruling out asking Toronto Police to investigate.

In a report released Thursday, Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper ruled Mammoliti breached council’s code of conduct by accepting the cash — she calls it “an impermissible gift” — from the 2013 event. She recommends council find Mammoliti has breached the code and suspend his pay for 90 days — the maximum penalty possible. The pay suspension would cost Mammoliti around $26,000.

“This type of fundraising is not permissible,” Leiper wrote.

Leiper’s report details the May 22, 2013, fundraiser where tickets cost $500 and more than 200 guests attended the event where they dined on beef tenderloin, chicken supreme and red velvet cake and could drink from a “deluxe” open bar.

The guest list included “lobbyists, companies doing business with the city or in the councillor’s ward, family members and staff from the councillor’s office,” according to the report.

“Some businesses declined to attend, but advised the councillor’s staff they would send money in the form of donations,” Leiper wrote.

Leiper notes Mammoliti’s staff worked on the event during city work hours including sending out invites, designing tickets, following up RSVPs and arranging security who were hired because “Giorgio said he didn’t want any media at the event.”

Mammoliti says he has done nothing wrong and isn’t ruling out dragging the city to court along with the integrity commissioner if council pushes ahead with the matter at next week’s meeting — he’s currently before the courts trying to get a judge to reverse Leiper’s initial decision to launch the investigation.

“The right thing to do is to allow for this to go to court and for the challenge to be looked at by a judge and hope they can deal with it afterwards,” Mammoliti told the Toronto Sun. “The integrity commissioner has chosen to ignore the court case and try to embarrass us publicly — me and my family — and I guess a judge will have to look at that as well.”

The York West (Ward 7) councillor claimed if Leiper’s ruling is allowed to stand councillors wouldn’t be able to have a surprise birthday party or a wedding “without the integrity commissioner breathing down their throat.”

“How can anyone have done anything wrong that was in a hospital bed with his head carved open?” Mammoliti asked. “I can barely remember any of it.”

“My son and friends decided to do something nice and she’s punishing me,” he added.

The report notes, Mammoliti — who underwent brain surgery last year — told Leiper he had “some short term memory loss during this period of time.”

Brian Iler said he was pleased Leiper took his complaint seriously “and wrote what I think is a scathing report.”

“This is as offside as you get when you come to a code of conduct violation,” Iler said.

He said he believes Toronto Police should have a look at the case and is willing to file a complaint if that is what is needed to launch an investigation.

“He shouldn’t be entitled to walk away with $60,000 in his pocket — that’s completely offensive,” Iler said.

Asked why he filed the complaint, Iler said he felt he had to do something.

“It is pure desire to see justice done,” Iler said.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong said the voters will decide on Oct. 27 whether Mammoliti should be returned to office.

“If Councillor Mammoliti has taken that money improperly then he has to be punished appropriately,” Minnan-Wong said.
Please share this

No comments:

Post a Comment