Coun. Druh Farrell files defence against lawsuit, says it's politically motivated

Coun. Druh Farrell, who's being sued by the owners of a Kensington property who blame her for blocking a development proposal, has filed her statement of defence, saying the lawsuit is intended to injure her reputation ahead of the municipal election.

Terrigno family is suing the local politician, alleging interference in a development proposal

Calgary city Coun. Druh Farrell filed her statement of defence against a lawsuit that seeks Farrell's removal from office and more than $200,000 in damages. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

Coun. Druh Farrell, who's being sued by the owners of a Kensington property who blame her for blocking a development proposal, has filed her statement of defence, saying the lawsuit is intended to injure her reputation ahead of the municipal election. 

The lawsuit was filed by a numbered company linked to the Terrigno family, which owns the building on the corner of 10th Street and Kensington Road that houses Osteria Chef's Table. The family previously ran Osteria de Medici in the same location. 

In court documents, the Terrignos allege there's a "long history" of bad blood with the area councillor, and that she used her position to kill a 10-storey tower development proposal the family wanted to build. 

"Were it not for the financial interest, dishonesty, targeted malice, bad faith conduct and inherent bias of the defendant, the land-use application would have been approved," reads the statement. 

'I will not be intimidated'

Farrell's statement of defence denies those allegations and says she has "acted in accordance with her duties" and "performed those duties in good faith."

"The within action was improperly brought at a time designed to have a negative impact on the defendant's reputation shortly prior to a municipal election," reads the statement.

In a new release sent on Friday afternoon, Farrell was defiant. 

"This lawsuit is meant to intimidate me in an election year. I would like to make it crystal clear that I will not be intimidated, and I will continue to listen to, and fight tirelessly for, the constituents of Ward 7," it reads.

A lawyer for the Terrignos earlier denied there was any political motivation for the timing of the lawsuit. 

Donna Gee says her clients did not deliberately time the lawsuit to an election year and that it was filed in accordance with rules that prevent someone from suing within two years of an incident — in this case the development vote. 

The statement of defence said Farrell supported the initial proposal for the land, but the project went from eight storeys to ten storeys and required additional relaxation of zoning rules.

Suing community association, architect

The documents highlight the fact the Terrignos are also suing the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association, alleging it, and not Farrell, is the reason for the development being blocked. 

It's something Farrell took to task in her media release.

"The fact that there has also been a statement of claim filed against the community association is deeply troubling. These are committed community volunteers who put in countless hours to address the concerns of their neighbourhood," she wrote. 

The family is also suing Jeremy Sturgess, the architect attached to the development proposal, for failing to get the project through the city.

In the lawsuit filed against Farrell, the Terrigno family alleges they were forced to use Sturgess for the project, saying he is a "close political activist, close friend and agent," in reference to Farrell.

Farrell's statement calls for the lawsuit to be dropped and says Farrell will seek an "elevated level of costs given the nature of the allegations made, the timing of the claim, the duplication of allegations from other actions already commenced and the lack of any merit to the within claim."