The city is picking up the tab for Mayor Naheed Nenshi's legal battle with developer Cal Wenzel, but he now has to fundraise in order to pay the city back.
Council voted on Monday to grant the city solicitor the power to determine whether legal fees should be paid by the city for councillors, and those sitting on city boards, commissions, committees and authorities.
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In addition, councillors now have the ability to fundraise in order to pay back the city for their legal costs.
Nenshi, however, has no choice: he has to pay back the amount he incurred from his legal fight stemming from the 2013 election.
"What they chose to do today is actually, I think, the right thing to do," said Nenshi, who abstained from the vote due to the obvious conflict of interest.
He's happy the power to determine whether the city will cover legal fees for councillors or city workers and volunteers now rests with the solicitor and not with council as "that ought not to be political."
Fundraising for fees
Nenshi said he's paid about $100,000 in legal fees at this point, but he doesn't know what the final tally will be, as the city and outside lawyers argue over the details. He's also not permitted to discuss the lawsuit and its outcome as part of his settlement.
He's now in a situation where he must fundraise to pay back the yet-to-be-determined amount with very few rules in place to govern his actions. He's not exactly sure at this point how he's going to go about it, but he plans to start right away.
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His preference would be to not know who's contributing, but isn't sure that's possible.
"I will tell you that I have had a couple of individuals, one of whom I don't even know, offer to pay the whole thing. And I said that was inappropriate, I don't think that's right."
Nenshi also says he sees no reason why the final bill amount won't be made public.