Premier rejects call for inquiry by Winnipeg councillors
Manitoba Premier Gary Doer turned down a request by six Winnipeg city councillors who asked him to investigate the controversy surrounding Riverside Park Management, a company with ties to Mayor Sam Katz.
Doer said Friday if the councillors have concerns about potential conflict-of-interest, there is a provincial law to deal with it.
"It is a law that provides for disclosure for any elected official and the provision for withdrawing from any decision-making," he said. "If anybody feels that that law has been offended in any way, there is the remedies in the law."
The six city councillors — Jenny Gerbasi, Russ Wyatt, Dan Vandal, Lillian Thomas, Harvey Smith and Mike Pagtakhan — made the call in a letter released Friday.
They wanted the province to investigate Riverside Park Management and its relationship to the Katz-owned Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team and the City of Winnipeg.
The six councillors, who all voted against a deal council passed Wednesday that forgives the property tax bill owed by Riverside Park Management, say the decision was made in haste and without full disclosure of relevant information.
Council voted 8-6 to change the terms of a lease on a city-owned piece of property used as a parking lot by Riverside Park Management, eliminating $233,000 in outstanding taxes.
The 24-hectare piece of land had been used as a parking lot during baseball games at Canwest Park, home of the Goldeyes.
In the letter, the councillors said they realized calling on the province to look into the controversy was an "uncommon request" but said the city could not investigate itself.
When Katz was asked to comment on the letter, he said only that he cannot control the actions of city councillors.