Toronto

Jim Karygiannis to lose Toronto city council seat after latest court ruling

Toronto city councillor Jim Karygiannis has been removed from office for a second time after the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned his previous reinstatement.

Karygiannis allegedly violated campaign spending rules during the 2018 election

Jim Karygiannis has now been removed from Toronto city council twice since his election victory in 2018. (Paul Borkwood/CBC News)

Toronto city councillor Jim Karygiannis has been removed from office for a second time after the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned his previous reinstatement.

Karygiannis initially lost his council seat due to alleged campaign spending violations dating to the 2018 municipal election.

He was reinstated by a Superior Court judge in November 2019 after being removed from office earlier that month.

Adam Chaleff, the Toronto voter who appealed the Superior Court ruling, confirmed his victory at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday morning.

Chaleff argued that the judge made errors in his decision to reinstate Karygiannis, and that his return to council "would signal to every local politician in the province that they can overspend with impunity on their election campaigns because they can run to court afterwards to keep their office."

The Scarborough-Agincourt councillor spent more than $32,000 on a voter appreciation dinner after the 2018 election, which is nearly $26,000 more than the limit set out in provincial regulations.

Karygiannis could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Karygiannis argued the expense amounted to a "clerical error," since he made no obvious attempt to conceal the spending in his filings.

The ruling also found that Ontario's Superior Court did not have the jurisdiction to reinstate Karygiannis following his removal from office.

The judge overseeing the latest appeal also said Karygiannis "has not clearly demonstrated" that the spending was merely a clerical error.

Toronto's city clerk is scheduled to report to council at its next meeting, on June 29, to outline options to fill the vacant seat, including an appointment or byelection.

The city says staff working in the Ward 22 office will stay on to support residents until a new councillor is named.

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