Manitoba

Winnipeg councillor lost right to use city credit card after $57K in personal charges over 2 years

Coun. Jason Schreyer used his City of Winnipeg credit card to pay for groceries, a meal at a Japanese steakhouse and an Xbox for a relative as part of about $57,000 worth of personal expenses he was required to pay back to the city.

Jason Schreyer used city credit card for groceries, Japanese steakhouse meal and to buy an Xbox

The City of Winnipeg suspended Elmwood-East Kildonan Coun. Jason Schreyer's credit card after he incurred $57,000 in personal charges over two years. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

Coun. Jason Schreyer used his City of Winnipeg credit card to pay for groceries, a meal at a Japanese steakhouse and an Xbox for a relative as part of about $57,000 worth of personal expenses he was required to pay back to the city.

City clerks revealed Wednesday that the rookie Elmwood-East Kildonan councillor used his city credit card to pay for personal expenses approximately 600 times between January 2015 and September 2016, when he was stripped of the city charge card.

The city initially revealed Schreyer lost his credit-card privileges through the notes of an auditor's report on June 30. That report stated the expenses in question exceeded $24,000 and were all paid back.

When pressed for additional details on Wednesday by members of Mayor Brian Bowman's inner circle, deputy city clerk Marc Lemoine said Schreyer actually charged $57,000 worth of expenses over 600 occasions and opined that likely was not a mistake.

Warned repeatedly: deputy city clerk

Lemoine said Schreyer was warned repeatedly not to charge personal expenses to his city credit card. He also said Schreyer has paid the city back for all of the charges over the two years.

Last week, Schreyer said he merely was late in providing explanations for his expenses to the city clerk's department. On Wednesday, he denied clerks ever told him to stop using the card for personal expenses, noting councillors used to be able to make personal charges on city credit cards and then compensate the city.

Coun. Jason Schreyer used his City of Winnipeg credit card to pay for groceries, a meal at a Japanese steakhouse and an Xbox for a relative as part of about $57,000 worth of personal expenses he was required to pay back to the city. 1:42

"I was in keeping with the use of the charge card as I was understood to use it," he said Wednesday. "I did what I was told as to how I could use the card, totally within the rules."

Schreyer said he was not told to stop using the card for personal expenses until the city was about to change that policy.

Council toughened up its spending rules last October, the same month Schreyer lost his credit-card privileges. He has not sought the use of the card again.

Schreyer said the personal expenses he initially charged to the city included groceries, a meal at Ichiban Restaurant and "an Xbox for a relative for a birthday."

He noted he was the second-lowest-spending member of council overall and supported the council decision to toughen its spending rules.

Schreyer, a city councillor since 2014, said he obeyed all directives from city clerks and expressed concern members of the public would be led to believe he did not pay back all the personal charges he incurred.

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About the Author

Bartley Kives

Reporter, CBC Manitoba

Reporter Bartley Kives joined CBC Manitoba in 2016. Prior to that, he spent three years at the Winnipeg Sun and 18 at the Winnipeg Free Press, writing about politics, music, food and outdoor recreation. He's the author of the Canadian bestseller A Daytripper's Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada's Undiscovered Province and co-author of both Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg and Stuck In The Middle 2: Defining Views of Manitoba. His work has also appeared in publications such as the Guardian and Explore magazine.