Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mayoral wannabe doesn't live in 'Peg

Candidate hits second snag when registering

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Mike Vogiatzakis at the March event that violated the city's election regulations.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Mike Vogiatzakis at the March event that violated the city's election regulations. Photo Store

Things didn't go well at city hall Thursday for funeral home owner Mike Vogiatzakis.

At a news conference to declare his candidacy for mayor, Vogiatzakis conveniently didn't tell anyone he doesn't live in Winnipeg.

Later at the clerk's office, he was unable to register his candidacy when he was unable to provide proof of property ownership.

"My application is underway... I'm just missing some paperwork," Vogiatzakis said. "I do own the property and that entitles me to run for office.

"I'll bring the paperwork (Friday)."

Vogiatzakis, who owns and operates the Voyage Funeral Home but lives in the RM of St. Andrews, said he can run for office even though he doesn't live in the city because he owns property here.

"If I get elected, I'll probably move back to the city," Vogiatzakis said. "We're looking for a house already. I'm assuming in the next few months, when the election is over, I'll be mayor and I'll be living in Winnipeg."

Vogiatzakis began his news conference in front of city hall to come clean about his criminal record. It was already known he had two convictions for filing false statements to MPI and for collecting benefits while employed, but he said rumours about earlier issues were hurting his reputation.

Vogiatzakis distributed copies of a Winnipeg Police Service criminal record check, which show he had convictions for assault (1988) and contempt of court (1987).

He said the assault conviction involved coming to the aid of an elderly man who was being assaulted at a hockey game where he was an assistant coach.

The contempt-of-court conviction was so long ago, he said, he couldn't remember what it was about.

The documents show he was fined a total of $300 for both convictions.

Vogiatzakis announced his campaign in March -- in violation of the city's election regulations -- when he brought an unique pothole-patching machine to a parking lot on McPhillips Street. The city clerk's office formally notified Vogiatzakis he was violating the election rules and he stayed quiet until Thursday, the official start of the mayoralty campaign period. Before May 1, candidates for mayor were prohibited from campaigning, raising funds or incurring expenses.

Vogiatzakis, 49, said Winnipeg needs a generational change of leadership at city hall, adding he's the person to usher in that change.

"I'm going to breathe fresh air into the city and I'm going to change the city once and for all."

Vogiatzakis was the second mayoralty candidate to register. Earlier in the day, controversial blogger Gordon Warren filed his papers.

Warren, also 49, was involved in two separate libel suits last year. The courts prohibited Warren from writing about the plaintiffs.

Former city councillor Gord Steeves -- the other candidate who prematurely launched his campaign, back in October -- announced he will register his campaign today.

Vogiatzakis said he didn't think his residency would be an issue in the campaign, adding he pays property taxes in the city and is an employer.

"I'm not just a guy who comes in, collects a paycheque and leaves the city and goes away out of town," he said. "I buy fuel in the city. I have lunch in the city. I have staff I pay in the city."

Vogiatzakis said he has no ties to any political party and will be indebted to no one but the residents of Winnipeg.

Vogiatzakis said he will release a detailed policy statement as the campaign progresses.

He said he demonstrated his capability when he brought a pothole-patching machine to the city, adding the patch is still in place.

"We could have had all of the city's potholes fixed by now," he said, adding infrastructure and the poor condition of Winnipeg's streets are his priority for the city.

Candidates for councillor can register their campaigns June 30.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 2, 2014 B2

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