Vancouver Hootsuite deal sparks conflict rule concerns
Civic watchdog calls for rewrite of Vancouver's conflict rules
Democracy Watch founder Duff Conacher says the the Vancouver Charter has two contradictory sections on conflict of interest which need to be clarified.
The focus on the city's conflict of interest rules comes after rival mayoral candidate Glen Chernen filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday, alleging Robertson was in a conflict of interest for participating in discussions surrounding the lease of a city owned building to the social media company Hootsuite.
Conacher says the lawsuit likely won't succeed because the city's conflict of interest rules are far from clear.
"B.C. is not only the wild west, but the widely undemocratic and unethical west when it comes to donations, lobbying, elections and dealing with ethical issues properly," he said.
In the petition, Chernen says Hootsuite provided substantial campaign and political assistance to Robertson when he ran for his second mayoral term in 2012.
He says the city owned property at 5 East 8th Avenue subsequently leased to Hootsuite , was not re-tendered for lease under a transparent process.
City manager says no conflict
However, Vancouver city manager Penny Ballem says nothing could be further from the truth.
"I can absolutely assure you that there is no involvement of council or any member of council in any negotiations around our real estate transactions including this case."
Hootsuite and Robertson have both denied any wrong doing. Robertson calls the allegations bizarre and Hootsuite says it paid fair market value for its lease.
The city has 21 days to officially respond to the allegations and the public has its first issue to ponder in the run up to the civic elections in November.