Calgary city councillors met in private Tuesday to discuss a lawsuit against Mayor Naheed Nenhsi.

Cal Wenzel has filed a $6 million defamation suit against the mayor for comments he made about the home builder.

Councillors wanted to hear what Nenshi had to say and to hear from city lawyers.

Nenshi and Wenzel

Calgary home builder Cal Wenzel, right, settled a defamation lawsuit against Mayor Naheed Nenshi in December. (CBC)

Before the meeting, Diane Colley-Urquhart said some council members are concerned they could be called as witnesses by either side.

After four hours, councillors emerged from their meeting late Tuesday afternoon, but declined to comment.

“Any discussions that are held in camera have to remain confidential,” said Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot.

For his part, Nenshi had little to say.

“We had a very good, very productive discussion and council learned a lot more about the policy,” said Nenshi.

Lawsuit cost 

The city's insurer is investigating who will pay for Nenshi's defence against the claim.


Derek Fildebrandt, of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, says that because the potentially slanderous comments were made while an election was happening, there is less of a case that taxpayers should pay the bill. (CBC)

Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s Derek Fildebrandt says Calgarians shouldn’t be the ones to bear the cost.

“You might be able to make a case that, as a public official, taxpayers could pick up some of the bill,” he said.

“But if you say something slanderous in your capacity as a candidate seeking office or seeking re-election to office, that's on you. You have no right to come to taxpayers and tell us to pick up the bill for your slander.”

As of 6 p.m. MT, Nenshi had not yet been served with legal papers, nor had he filed a statement of defence. 

Wenzel's claims have not been proven in court.