Thursday, August 21, 2014
Toronto councilor Augimeri broke code of conduct, integrity commish rules
But Janet Leiper wants council to vote next week to pay up to $5,000 to reimburse costs to Gus Cusimano — who is running against Augimeri in Ward 9 again this year — from council’s general expense budget.
According to Leiper’s report, Cusimano filed a complaint back in March after Augimeri called him a “criminale” in an article in an Italian-language daily newspaper.
Leiper concludes that the comment — which is untrue — breaches council’s code of conduct but recommends no further sanction against Augimeri because she provided a retraction and apology for the comment to be published in the newspaper and provided an apology to Cusimano.
Augimeri pointed out the integrity commissioner found that she resolved the issue.
“It seems the only reason this is on the council agenda is for Mr. Cusimano to collect a taxpayer payout,” Augimeri said in an e-mail. “Last time I checked, an integrity commissioner complaint costs nothing to file, nor requires a lawyer.”
In an interview, Cusimano — who lost to Augimeri in 2010 — denied he wants a “taxpayer payout” and argued Augimeri should have to pay, not taxpayers.
“I think she should pay it,” he said. “I don’t think taxpayers should pay it at all, I think she should pay for it out of her own pocket, after all, the words came out of her mouth.
“She’s the one that made this false statement … so she should step up to the plate and pay for it out of her own pocket.”
Asked why she made the comment, Augimeri said it was “made in reference to the fact that Mr. Cusimano was charged with election related offences.”
She pointed out Cusimano pleaded guilty to breaching the Municipal Elections Act by voting for himself in a ward that he didn’t live in.
“Law breakers should not be law makers,” Augimeri stated. “My constituents were upset at his hypocrisy and I was expressing their concerns in an Italian newspaper. A better word could have been used, but I have since resolved it.”
In response to Augimeri’s statement, Cusimano said, “She can twist it anyway she wants to twist it.
“I’m the one who has been putting my hand in my pocket to try to make sure that elections are run fairly,” he said.
“You know what? People in the ward are telling me we need change in the ward ... that’s what I’m hearing at the doors.
“What is she talking about? If she felt that her statement was true she would not have apologized. Obviously, she did. For her to twist it, it’s laughable.”
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