A Winnipeg mayoral candidate who pledged to turn away 2014 campaign donations from companies named in a trio of city audits accepted $1,901 from executives at one of those firms in 2010.
On Tuesday, Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Paula Havixbeck promised not to accept mayoral-campaign donations from companies that appear in the fire-paramedic station review released in October and the July real estate and police-headquarters audits.
"I will not accept donations from any of the companies listed in the recent audits," Havixbeck promised at her first policy announcement since May. "I think we all know who they are."
Havixbeck declined to name the firms in question, claiming as a sitting councillor, she may have to take part in hearings that could decide the fate of development proposals from those companies.
She also said she could not recall any campaign donations from these firms the first time she ran for council.
According to 2010 campaign-finance records, Havixbeck accepted three gifts totalling $1,901 from executives at Shindico Realty, the company that built four new Winnipeg fire-paramedic stations and was mentioned in the fire-paramedic station review.
During her 2010 Charleswood-Tuxedo campaign, Havixbeck accepted a $750 donation from Shindico executive vice-president Robert Shindleman, a $650 donation from Shindico-affiliated broker John Pearson and a $501 donation from Shindico president and CEO Sandy Shindleman.
Havixbeck said she did not remember those contributions.
"Other people were handling the fundraising. I didn't have my hands in it at all," she said. "That was one point in time. This is four years later. A whole lot has happened, as we can see."
The maximum donation for council candidates is $750. Mayoral candidates can receive up to $1,500 from an individual donor. Corporations and unions are not allowed to contribute to municipal campaigns.
The name of all donors who contribute more than $250 to any candidate are published by the city clerk's office the year following an election. Havixbeck pledged Tuesday to publish a list of her 2014 donors by Oct. 15, one week before Winnipeggers go to the polls.
She said she believes there's a perception political donors have an unfair advantage at city hall.
"My goal in becoming your mayor for Winnipeg is to create a level, fair playing field, for anyone wants to do business in the city of Winnipeg," she said. "I think we've seen over the past two years, too many discussions have occurred behind closed doors."
Havixbeck said if she's elected, she would push to create a lobbyist registry, ideally by asking the Selinger government to amend legislation that would extend the provincial lobbyist registry to cover the City of Winnipeg.
Provincial spokeswoman Rachel Morgan said it isn't clear whether that's possible.
Nonetheless, the city is already mulling the idea. In May, at the behest of departing Couns. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) and Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), council's governance committee voted to ask the city auditor to consider a lobbyist registry.
Havixbeck also promised Tuesday to issue annual reports about the 311 call-processing system, create a case-management system at city hall to ensure citizens encounter less bureaucracy and require all city employees to attend one day of customer-service training every year.
She also reiterated May pledges to eliminate executive policy committee and hold more frequent council meetings.