Donors' deep pockets help Nenshi pay off $285K legal bill from defamation suit
Mayor cuts $16,910 cheque and 11 donors give $10K to pay back city for lawyer fees from 2013 lawsuit
The volunteer committee that raised almost $285,000 to pay for Mayor Naheed Nenshi's legal fees from his defence of a defamation lawsuit filed against him by a prominent builder has released the names of those who donated money.
City council voted last year to have the city cover Nenshi's legal costs but require him to pay back the money after a fundraising effort — a stipulation that was requested by Nenshi.
Cal Wenzel sued Nenshi for remarks made by the mayor on CBC Calgary's morning radio show, the Calgary Eyeopener, during the 2013 election campaign. The Shane Homes founder was seeking $6 million in damages.
Nenshi and Wenzel settled the suit out of court in December 2015.
"I should point out that the city solicitor had decided very early on in this process that I was indemnified as I was acting in my duty as a member of city council for the actions for which I was being sued," he said.
"However, I've felt that, if we can find better uses of taxpayers' money, then we should find better uses of taxpayers' money."
Mayor humbled by donation help
Nenshi said he's humbled that so many people came forward with big and small donations to the city to cover the reimbursement of the legal fees.
The list released Tuesday shows that Nenshi made a donation in his own name of $16,910, for which he will not get a tax receipt. Other donors will be able to declare their donations as a tax deduction.
Donations were limited to a maximum of $10,000. Among the donors who contributed that amount were:
- Richard Haskayne
- Strategic Equity Corp.
- Muneer Mahebub Gilani
- Tristar Communities Inc.
- Zeenat Gilani
- Irfhan Rawji
- Country Hills Toyota
- Colin Jackson
- Christine Armstrong
- Bradley Zumwalt
- Ana Management Ltd.
The names of donors giving more than $100 were required to be made public. See the full list.
The committee noted in its release on Tuesday that a previously released total for Nenshi's legal fees of $299,728 included GST.
Since the city, as a level of government, is refunded on the sales tax, the actual total was $284,835, it said.
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