Monday, September 15, 2014

Police probing Toronto Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti fundraiser

TORONTO - The City of Toronto has asked Toronto Police to investigate Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti’s controversial 2013 fundraiser.

Council ruled in July that Mammoliti breached the code of conduct by pocketing $80,000 from a fundraising dinner.

At the time, councillors voted to suspend his pay for three months — the equivalent of $26,000. Mammoliti — who is running for re-election — is currently fighting that decision in court and the integrity commissioner’s original decision to investigate the fundraiser.

In that July vote, councillors also approved a push by Councillor Joe Mihevc to hire a criminal lawyer to review Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper’s report on Mammoliti and “determine if there are grounds” to send the matter to Toronto Police for further investigation.

City spokesman Jackie DeSouza confirmed Monday that the outside counsel was retained.

“The matter was referred to police to exercise their discretion on whether to investigate or not,” DeSouza said.

Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash confirmed the issue was referred to the service by the city.

“It will be with the financial crimes unit,” Pugash said.

He said the city referred the issue to Toronto Police within the last day or so.

In an interview on Monday, Mammoliti said the decision to refer the issue to police didn’t come as a surprise to him.

“I’m not surprised that a month and a half before the election I’m having to answer these questions,” he said.

Mammoliti stressed he challenged the integrity commissioner’s report before it came to council.

“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered,” he said.

In a statement issued late Monday, Mammoliti called the news "hypothetical and theatrical."

"City Staff won’t cut grass, trim trees, or clean the streets but somehow they have the time to keep the circus going at City Hall," he stated. "The event referred to was organized by my family and close friends while I was in recovery.

"To imply that myself or any one of my family members or friends was involved in criminal activity is offensive and crosses the line."
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