According to the city’s lobbyist registrar, four lobbyists committed “serious breaches” – but where are the penalties? This comes after last summer, when council docked Giorgio Mammoliti 90 days’ pay, or $26,000, after the integrity commissioner found he accepted $80,000 from the same “improper” fundraiser.
- There was no evidence the lobbyists intended to run afoul of the rules nor is there any indication they expected a “quid pro quo,” Linda Gehrke says in her report to council.
- However, “this type of breach goes to the foundation of the integrity of city government decision-making,” Gehrke wrote in a 25-page report included on the agenda of next week’s council meeting.
- Ralph Lean, Sheldon Libfeld, Luigi Santaguida and Medallion Corp., all registered lobbyists, contributed a total of $23,500 to the event held on May 22, 2013, the report states.
- They’ve each been ordered not to lobby Mammoliti directly for the remainder of the council term. Gehrke has also “requested” they attend lobbyist training sessions.
The four lobbyists were solicited and “induced” by a letter sent by Mammoliti’s family that said financial support was sought for the councillor “so that he can continue to fight the good fight at Toronto,” according to the report. “Rest assured any contributions made will not be in any way a conflict,” the report said quoting the letter.
Gehrke summarized the four transgressions:
- Lean, a lawyer and veteran political fundraiser, wrote a $1,000 cheque while registered as a consultant lobbyist on behalf of a development project set to come before council. Lean told Gehrke while he knew the fundraiser was being held outside the election fundraising period, he thought special permission had been granted.
- Libfeld, a property developer, contributed $10,000 after receiving legal advice that “it should not be a problem.” The lawyer was unaware Libfeld, at the time, was the registered in-house lobbyist for a company with an active development application before council.
- Developer Santaguida contributed $5,000 to the fundraiser while he was a registered lobbyist. His lawyer argued there was no evidence he paid for the fundraiser; rather a third party paid for the event. Gehrke disagreed. She said while Santaguida didn’t write the cheque, it is “reasonable to infer” that the contribution was made at his direction.
- Nathan Bleeman and Howard Paskowitz, senior officials with developer Medallion, authorized a $7,500 cheque although they were “not comfortable” with it. Both were registered in-house lobbyists at the time when Medallion had two development applications before council. After the cheque was issued, Mammoliti was lobbied by a Medallion representative.
Gehrke’s conclusion is most troubling:
Gehrke concluded the lobbyists contributed “for humanitarian reasons, out of concern for the councillor and his family as a result of his illness.” Mammoliti had brain surgery in 2013.
I feel sorry for Mr Mammoliti, but that does not induce m to donate thousands of dollars. Doesn’t Mr Mammoliti receive free healthcare, like every other Ontarian?