Calgary

Joe Magliocca, Calgary councillor embroiled in expense scandal, seeks re-election

As Calgary readies to elect more first-time councillors that it ever has, a question mark has lingered over a controversial incumbent — Ward 2 Coun. Joe Magliocca. Now that question has been answered.

Ward 2 councillor has avoided questions and is under investigation by the RCMP for improper claims

Ward 2 Coun. Joe Magliocca says he's seeking re-election in the upcoming election. (Mike Symington/CBC)

As Calgary readies to elect more first-time councillors that it ever has, a question mark has lingered over the plans of a controversial incumbent — Ward 2 Coun. Joe Magliocca. 

That question has now been answered. 

Magliocca declared on Friday that he has submitted his papers for re-election.

"This election there is a clear choice between those who want to raise property taxes to pay for their spending promises, and those who believe in lower taxes to keep more money in your pocket," he wrote in a Facebook post.

There was speculation the councillor would not run due to controversy over thousands of dollars in improper expense claims dating as far back as 2017 that has initiated a police investigation, led by the RCMP.

The revelations first came to light in an auditor's report last year, showing the councillor improperly expensed $5,000 over two years and raised flags about a further $10,000.

Magliocca has repaid almost $10,000 for those expenses by April of this year and the city has said the matter is now closed.

The improper expenses included unauthorized seat upgrades on flights, as well as meals and alcohol for meetings that some of the alleged attendees said never took place.

Since that time, the councillor has avoided answering questions about the expenses, including avoiding media calls for 18 months. He has also declined to write a letter of apology to Calgarians, despite a vote of his colleagues asking him to do so. 

He did publicly apologize when the irregular expenses were first brought to light and prior to the forensic audit.

Magliocca was also barred from claiming travel expenses for a year, stripped of his deputy mayor duties and ordered to take training on city procedures. 

Magliocca has refused to comment on the problems with his travel claims, how this happened or offer any explanation for why he submitted claims for meals and drinks he bought for people who weren't actually at the same table.

The investigation into his expenses cost the city $64,000. 

Magliocca did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent to his cellphone on Friday night.

He says in his Facebook post that he will be focused on lowering property taxes, creating private sector jobs and building the economy.

The October 18 Calgary election will feature the largest turnover in councillors since the council was first expanded to 15 seats in 1977, thanks to the departure of Mayor Naheed Nenshi and several incumbents — some of whom are retiring, some of whom are seeking other offices, including mayor. 

Magliocca will face competition from six other candidates in Ward 2:

  • Francis Aranha
  • Sareen Singh
  • Ronald Allan Taylor
  • Theo van Besouw 
  • Kim (Dong) Tyers
  • Jennifer Wyness

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