Calgary

Nenshi now, officially, served with $6M defamation lawsuit

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has been sued by home builder Cal Wenzel.

Home builder Cal Wenzel's 'Godfather' lawsuit served to Calgary mayor Thursday afternoon

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has been sued by home builder Cal Wenzel. 2:22

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has been sued by home builder Cal Wenzel. 

The Shane Homes founder filed the $6 million defamation lawsuit last week, but Nenshi had not been served with notice.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi filed his statement of defence Tuesday in the defamation case against him. (Allison Dempster/CBC)

The mayor told media this afternoon he received the papers at 1:30 p.m. MT.  

"This is going to kick off a process that will take many, many, many weeks, months, perhaps years," said Nenshi. 

He said the next step for him is to file a statement of defence. 

Legal fee question 

It's still unknown who will pay for Nenshi's legal fees in the case. 

"The city solicitor at some point in the next months will make a decision on indemnification," said Nenshi. 

"We have to do this every single time an employee of the city gets sued for anything, and that happens hundreds of times a year. So they'll look carefully at the statement of claim, the pleadings."

Calgary home builder Cal Wenzel, right, filed a defamation lawsuit against Mayor Naheed Nenshi on Nov. 13. Nenshi says Wenzel has not proven he has suffered any damages, so the case should be dismissed. (CBC)

If the solicitor makes the decision that the city will not pay for the fees, then — at the end of the legal process  Nenshi says he could also apply to council for legal fee reimbursement, but has no plans to do so "at this time."

"The actual decision to do that is probably years away," said Nenshi. 

He called the lawsuit "disappointing," saying it is aimed at discouraging public discourse.

"I believe this to be, in my opinion, an example of what's sometimes called a 'SLAPP,' a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation."

Comments in question 

In the suit, Wenzel alleges that the mayor insinuated he broke election laws and runs a mafia-like organization.

In an Oct. 9 Calgary Eyeopener interview on CBC Radio, Nenshi said a video of a private home builders meeting was like a scene "out of the movie [The] Godfather." 

When host David Gray attempted to clarify, asking Nenshi if he just called Wenzel the Godfather, Nenshi replied "maybe."

Wenzel says those remarks are untrue and have damaged his reputation. None of the allegations in the lawsuit has been proven.

Entire statement of claim 

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