In a previous post I noted that an Ontario court ruled that City Council did not have the jurisdiction to cover the legal fees of councillors incurred prior to their becoming councillors. Now, according to the following article in the Toronto Start, in a final act of disrespect of contempt for the taxpayers of Toronto, City Council has voted to:
1. Ignore the court order and pay the $140,000 in legal fees anyway; and
Obviously City Council does not think that the law applies to them. Actually, the whole point is that City Council does not have the authority to authorize this spending. Since, they are acting outside their legitimate jurisdiction as City Councillors, those who voted in favor of this should be held personally accountable.
August 25, 2010
Toronto City Council has decided to pay almost $140,000 to cover the legal expenses of councillors Adrian Heaps and Giorgio Mammoliti despite a recent court decision that they’re not entitled to reimbursement from the public purse.
Council also decided Wednesday night to appeal the Divisional Court ruling that found council exceeded its authority in voting to pay the money in 2008 to cover legal fees the councillors incurred defending themselves against lawsuits for alleged transgression of spending rules during the 2006 municipal elections.
Councillor Doug Holyday, who had pursued the case in Divisional Court at his own expense, said he would be speaking to his lawyer Thursday about the council decision to make “grants” to Heaps and Mammoliti “in the amount of the legal expenses they incurred.”
“The sense of entitlement here is mindboggling,” Holyday said after the closed-door vote. “To say it’s a grant now after the fact is wrong.”
However, Mayor David Miller defended the reimbursement, saying the court decision faulted council for not declaring the public purpose in making the original payments back in 2006.
“This is to protect people who aren’t rich being able to run for office,” Miller said. “Nobody in this city, unless you’re really rich, can afford to run for public office and be subjected to $70,000 in legal fees. No reasonable person can afford that. It’s a way to drive people out of public office.”
Council’s own lawyers warned there was no legal justification for the payments.