Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Could Katz face Ford's fate?

  • Print

A Toronto judge's decision to remove that city's mayor from office over conflict of interest has added drama to a Winnipeg court case slated for April 2.

An Ontario judge found Toronto Mayor Rob Ford violated Ontario's municipal conflict-of-interest legislation by voting to let himself off the hook for repaying an improper donation, Toronto media reported this morning. The violation comes with an automatic penalty: the mayor loses his seat.

The lawsuit that led to the decision was brought about by prominent lawyer Clayton Ruby. Prior to this morning's decision, observers in Ontario were skeptical a judge would remove a democratically elected official.

In Winnipeg, Mayor Sam Katz is slated to appear in court April 2 over a conflict-of-interest lawsuit shepherded by lawyer David Matas.

The suit against Winnipeg's mayor was launched by restaurateur Joe Chan, who alleges Katz breached the trust of citizens by unfairly awarding a contract to a restaurant he used to own.

In 2010, Katz spent $2,915 of public funds on a party for city councillors, department heads and their families at his Hu's Asian Bistro restaurant on Ellice Avenue, according to previously released expense records.

The penalty for violating Manitoba's conflict-of-interest law is also the loss of one's seat.

Katz's office confirmed he will speak to the media this afternoon.

'Apples to horseshoes'

Katz's lawyer Robert Tapper said the two conflict-of-interest cases is like comparing "apples to horseshoes." He said the municipal conflict-of-interest act is meant to govern business on the floor of council and city committee meetings - not a Christmas party.

Earlier this year, Tapper said Chan's case was thrown out of court and he was ordered to pay $750 in costs.

"I would be more than hopeful the judge will see this as the nonsense that it is," he said.

Chan's lawyer David Matas said the allegations in the two cases are different, but the legislation and the concept is the same - a judge could rule Katz is in a conflict-of-interest and declare his seat vacant.

"Litigation is never certain, but structurally it's the same situation," he said.

Decision will change municipal landscape: councillor

Ford's removal came as a shock to city councillors, several of whom heard the news during council's public works committee meeting this morning.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge) said Toronto is the biggest city in Canada and the change in leadership will affect the rest of the country. She said it will be up to a judge to decide the outcome of Katz's conflict-of-interest case next spring.

"It's going to change the landscape for Canadian municipalities possibly," Gerbasi said.

Coun. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface) said the decision shows nobody is above the law.

"I think it just demonstrates there are limits to what we can and what we can't do no matter who you are," Vandal said.

History

Updated on Monday, November 26, 2012 at 1:07 PM CST: Adds councillor comments.

2:55 PM: Adds comments from lawyers.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Reimagining Winnipeg as the big city of the future

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Aerial view of Portage and Main, The Esplanade Riel, Provencher Bridge over the Red River, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights and The Forks near the Assiniboine River, October 21st, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) CMHR
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think Judy Wasylycia-Leis will greatly benefit from the endorsement by Winnipeg's firefighters?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google