Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz has launched a lawsuit against a student newspaper over an article it published by a volunteer writer.

Katz’s lawyers say The Uniter published the column, titled Local political blunder, to deliberately cause harm to the mayor.

The column focused on the recent fire hall land swap deal, a controversial land deal that was later the subject of an external audit.

The audit implicated former city CAO Phil Sheegl, a personal friend of Katz’s, in the mishandling of the multi-million land deal. Sheegl left his post at the city shortly before the audit was released.

The column comments on Katz, Sheegl and Shindico, which was also named in the audit.

Katz’s new lawsuit accuses the writer of the article, Josh Benoit, of saying Katz is a criminal, has committed criminal acts pertaining to insider trading, belongs in jail and is evil.

Officials with The Uniter declined to comment on the allegations, and the article at the centre of the lawsuit remains on their website.

The Uniter is the University of Winnipeg’s weekly student newspaper, and the university is also named in the lawsuit.

But officials with the university were quick to point out on Monday the paper acts independently of the institution.

In a written statement, university officials said, “The inclusion of the University of Winnipeg is erroneous as the University exercises no control whatsoever over The Uniter’s actions, editorial content, reporters or editorial board.”