Councillor Jim Karygiannis tossed out of office over election expense violation


spaminator
#1
Councillor Jim Karygiannis tossed out of office over election expense violation
Sue-Ann Levy
Published:
November 6, 2019
Updated:
November 6, 2019 10:48 PM EST
Councillor Jim Karygiannis is pictured at City Hall on Sept. 13, 2018. (Ernest Doroszuk, Toronto Sun)
After months of fighting with city officials over questionable election expenses, colourful Councillor Jim Karygiannis was booted out of office Wednesday.
The announcement came by way of a press release from city clerk Ulli Watkiss, who indicated that the Scarborough-Agincourt councillor exceeded the expense limit for “parties and other expressions of appreciation” by $25,962.70 in the last municpal election.
Under the Municipal Elections Act, Karygiannis was only permitted to spend $6,128 or 10% of his allotted total — $61,207.95 — on parties and other thank yous.
According to his own audited financial statements, the long-time Liberal politician spent $32,083.50 on such expenses during the 2018 campaign.
“The Act does not give the City Clerk any latitude or discretion on this matter,” Watkiss said in her statement.
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Watkis added that he is disqualified from being elected or appointed to any office until after the 2022 election.
In early July, the city’s compliance audit committee ordered that Karygiannis be subject to a compliance audit following an application from long-time City Hall watcher Adam Chaleff.
But the audit was put on hold when Karygiannis appealed the ruling to Ontario Superior Court on constitutional grounds. A court date was set for next February.
The Compliance Audit Committee ordered a second audit in mid-July.
Karygiannis told the Toronto Sun Wednesday evening that upon close examination of his Supplementary Financial statement, it has been ascertained that there was a “clerical error” in completing the paperwork.
” I am in contact with my solicitor and auditor in order to correct the error,” he said. “I look forward to being re-instated as the City of Toronto Councillor for Ward 22.”
The Toronto Sun being among the first to put the spotlight on the controversial campaign spending in May.
In his financial statements Karygiannis — who was in a tight race against Norm Kelly, a veteran councillor — only declared $43,812 of his $61,207.95 spending limit.
He declared another $146,645.67 as expenses not subject to the limit, including $81,000 worth of honoraria to 18 people. Those honoraria were paid to an immigration lawyer, his senior legislative assistant, a would-be Liberal candidate and an intern with the Liberal Party of Canada, among others.
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The Sun story also indicated he’d expensed $47,259 for fundraising activities, including a BBQ with a lion dance before the election and a pre-Christmas, post-election event at Santorini Grill.
At the time, deputy city clerk Fiona Clark said that if the councillor had not exceeded his expense limit, all donors would be entitled to a tax-funded rebate on a sliding scale — depending on their donation — of up to $1,000.
Watkiss said in her statement that she will report to council at their Nov. 26 meeting on the steps that need to be taken to declare the seat vacant. Meanwhile, she said staff in the Ward 22 office will support constituents and report to her until the seat is filled by appointment or a by-election.
SLevy@postmedia.com
http://torontosun.com/news/local-new...supporters-81k
http://torontosun.com/news/local-new...ense-violation
 
spaminator
#2
Removed councillor Jim Karygiannis not entitled to severance
Sue-Ann Levy
Published:
November 7, 2019
Updated:
November 7, 2019 9:26 PM EST
Then Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis announces he will step down as the Member of Parliament for Scarborough Agincourt in the House of Commons on April 1, 2014 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Former city councillor Jim Karygiannis — removed from office over election expense violations — will not be entitled to severance, city officials confirmed Thursday.
According to Chapter 223 of the Toronto Municipal Code, the politician is not eligible for a cash kissoff because his seat became vacant “by reason of the operation of any Act of … the legislature of the province of Ontario.”
Late Wednesday, city clerk Ulli Watkiss issued a statement indicating the Scarborough-Agincourt councillor had exceeded the prescribed expense limit for “parties and other expressions of appreciation” by $25,962.70 in the 2018 municipal election and the Act does not give the city clerk any choice but to declare the seat vacant.
Karygiannis is also disqualified from being elected or appointed to any office until after the next election.
Karygiannis tossed out of office over election expense violation
LEVY: Expenses show Toronto councillors not practising what they preach
LEVY: Councillor uses campaign funds to pay supporters $81Gs
According to the formula set out in the Municipal Elections Act, Karygiannis was permitted to raise $61,207.95, of which only 10% of that, or $6,128, could be used for parties and thank-you events.
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But his own audited statement indicated the long-time Liberal — who was in a tight race against Norm Kelly — spent $32,083.00 on thank-you parties.
The questionable expenses, first revealed by the Toronto Sun in May, showed that he raised $320,000 from donors and fundraising events and spent $219,000 — declaring $147,645 of that as not subject to the spending limit.
The largest expenditure was $81,000 in honoraria for assorted Liberal friends and staff.
Karygiannis — who has been fighting two orders since July to have his expenses subjected to a compliance audit — remained steadfast Thursday that this is simply about a “clerical error” done while completing the Supplementary Financial statement.
“I look forward to continuing my work as City of Toronto councillor for Ward 22 and serving the people of Scarborough-Agincourt,” he reiterated.
The compliance audits had been put on hold when he appealed the ruling to the Ontario Superior Court on constitutional grounds. A court date was set for next February.
Watkiss said Karygiannis is disqualified from being elected or appointed to any office until after the next election.
Had his seat not been found vacant and Karygiannis had just resigned, for example, he would have been eligible for nearly $50,000 in severance based on a yearly salary of $117,163.
slevy@postmedia.com
http://torontosun.com/news/local-new...supporters-81k
http://torontosun.com/news/local-new...d-to-severance
 
spaminator
#3
Judge reinstates ousted Councillor Jim Karygiannis
Bryan Passifiume
Published:
November 26, 2019
Updated:
November 26, 2019 9:34 AM EST
Councillor Jim Karygiannis on Thursday April 14, 2016. Craig Robertson / Toronto Sun
Booted from office earlier this month, an Ontario Superior Court Justice has reinstated a Toronto city councillor accused of questionable campaign offences.
In a ruling delivered Monday evening — one day before council was expected to rule his Ward 22 seat vacant — the court reversed the Nov. 4 decision to remove Coun. Jim Karygiannis from office following accusations he exceeded campaign spending limits during last year’s municipal election.
“I look forward to returning to work as the City of Toronto Councillor for Ward 22 and to, once again, serving my constituents,” wrote Karygiannis in a statement issued shortly after the ruling was made public.
Councillor Jim Karygiannis tossed out of office over election expense violation
LEVY: Councillor uses campaign funds to pay supporters $81Gs
Earlier this month, City clerk Ulli Watkiss said Karygiannis’s removal was due to the Scarborough-Agincourt councillor exceeding expense limits for “parties and other expressions of appreciation” by $25,962.70.
The Municipal Elections Act states candidates can only spend $6,128 or 10% of his allotted total — $61,207.95 — on such expenditures, while audited financial statements provided by Karygiannis show he spent $32,083.50.
Monday’s ruling agreed with Karygiannis’ defence that a clerical error was responsible for the overage.
Over the summer, Karygiannis was ordered to undergo a compliance audit following a complaint by a member of the public — placed on hold following an appeal by Karygiannis until a court date scheduled for early next year.
bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume
http://torontosun.com/news/local-new...ted-councillor
 
spaminator
#4
Reinstated Jim Karygiannis welcomed back to City Hall
Bryan Passifiume
Published:
November 26, 2019
Updated:
November 26, 2019 1:44 PM EST
Ward 22 Councillor Jim Karygiannis during the Tuesday, Nov. 26 2019 Toronto city council meeting.Bryan Passifiume / Toronto Sun
His name’s back on his door and his bio once again appears on the City of Toronto website, but newly reinstated Ward 22 Councillor Jim Karygiannis had little to say to the press before Tuesday’s council meeting.
“He’s still in his office,” remarked Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam with a smile as reporters staked out the council chamber elevator hoping for comment from Karygiannis as he made his way to the meeting — his first since he was removed and then subsequently reinstated over allegations he exceeded campaign spending limits during last year’s municipal election.
About 15 minutes after the meeting began, Karygiannis was spotted heading from his office towards a bank of public elevators, declining to comment as he ducked inside and the doors slid shut.
Council was set to declare his seat vacant Tuesday, but thanks to a Monday afternoon ruling by the Ontario Superior Court, Karygiannis is back at work — at least for now.
Justice William Chalmers heard arguments last Thursday regarding Karygiannis’ Nov. 6 ouster — initiated after allegations the Scarborough-Agincourt councillor exceeded “parties and other expressions of appreciation” expense limits by $25,962.70.
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Judge reinstates ousted Councillor Jim Karygiannis
Councillor Jim Karygiannis tossed out of office over election expense violation
LEVY: Councillor uses campaign funds to pay supporters $81Gs
Under the Municipal Elections Act, candidates can only spend 10% of their allotted total on such expenditures, while Karygiannis’ own audited financial statements show he spent $32,083.50 — a discrepancy he attributed to a clerical error.
Chalmers concurred, stating he saw no attempt to conceal the expense, and that the error was made in good faith.
Monday’s decision doesn’t impact an existing compliance audit ordered over the summer to look into election expense irregularities.
A motion by the mayor to re-appoint Karygiannis to his previous board positions was carried unanimously.
Councillor Josh Matlow said he was happy to see Karygiannis back at City Hall, and pleased his constituents once again have representation.
“We’ve been downsized enough over the past couple of years,” he remarked to reporters.
Matlow questioned the process under the act that led to Karygiannis’ automatic expulsion, saying all councillors are entitled to due process.
“There should be an opportunity … for candidates to appeal while they’re on council rather than be removed and face the most dramatic and draconian consequence,” he said.
bpassifiume@postmedia.com
http://toronto.ca/city-government/co...cillor-ward-22
http://torontosun.com/news/local-new...k-to-city-hall