Toronto's integrity commissioner has found Giorgio Mammoliti violated city hall's code of conduct, and is recommending the councillor's pay be suspended for 90 days.
Integrity commissioner Janet Leiper's investigation began after CBC reported on a $5,000-a-table banquet in Woodbridge. A citizen cited that story in a complaint to Leiper about Mammoliti. Leiper said the councillor was "improperly accepting gifts, favours or benefits from the sale of tickets to an event held on May 22, 2013."
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Mammoliti’s office organized the dinner along with Red Velvet Events, which produces corporate functions. More 200 people attended, including lobbyists, companies doing business with the city or in Mammoliti's ward, family members and staff from the councillor’s office.
Leiper found that city staff worked on the event during business hours — sending out invitations, managing RSVPs and invoices, and co-ordinating musicians, security, florists, and a baker and with the banquet hall. City cellphones were supplied to manage the event. Some businesses declined the invite but offered to send money in the form of a donation in lieu.
Leiper claimed that in some cases, Mammoliti’s staff removed references to the event on invoices.
But the transgression that violated the code, according to Leiper, was that Red Velvet Events paid Mammoliti $80,000 as a "gift" from the profit generated by ticket sales for the event.
Leiper sent out a warning to councillors including Mammoliti weeks before the event, saying that accepting the "cash gift" could contravene the city's code of conduct.
During the investigation, the Ward 7 councillor applied to have the probe halted, arguing he wasn't being treated fairly because news of the investigation had leaked out.
In a filing at Ontario's Divisional Court, Mammoliti complains that Leiper's decision to undertake the investigation was "put into the public domain and posted on the Internet," whereas the City of Toronto Act requires her to keep her work secret until she reports her findings to city council.
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"The commissioner was asked to conduct a proper investigation into this blatant breach of Councillor Mammoliti's privacy rights and her own rules requiring her to keep secret all matters that come within her knowledge in the course of her duties," Mammoliti's court filing said.
Council must vote to approve any penalty enforced on Mammoliti.
This story originally referred to Red Velvet Events as The Event Company. "The Event Company" is a generic name used in the integrity commissioner's report in reference to Red Velvet Events.Jul 09, 2014 7:33 PM ET