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Former Winnipeg CAO ordered to pay $327K to city in police HQ case

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A judge has ruled the $327,000 former city chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl accepted as a bribe connected to construction of the downtown police headquarters be repaid to the City of Winnipeg.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/04/2022 (293 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A judge has ruled the $327,000 former city chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl accepted as a bribe connected to construction of the downtown police headquarters be repaid to the City of Winnipeg.

Last month, Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal ruled in favour of the city’s claim Sheegl accepted a bribe from Armik Babakhanians, owner of Caspian Construction.

Joyal said Sheegl could not be allowed to keep the money, but the question remained who should get it.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal said Phil Sheegl could not be allowed to keep the money, but the question remained who should get it.

After further submissions from lawyers for Sheegl and the city, Joyal, in a decision released Wednesday, ruled the money rightfully belonged to the city.

“I have determined that the $327,000 payment to the Sheegl defendants should be treated as damages for breach of trust, which was a constituent part of the civil bribery committed against the city,” Joyal said.

Sheegl defendants include Sheegl and two companies he controlled.

Sheegl was paid CDN $200,000 and US $127,000 and will be required to repay it in same, Joyal said.

“The city is correct in maintaining that there is no reason why the Sheegl defendants should receive any advantage in respect to current currency calculations of the value of the funds or exchange rates,” he said.

Winnipeg CAO Michael Jack advised Mayor Brian Bowman and councillors of the decision in a memo Wednesday obtained by the Free Press.

“This is essentially the disposition that the city had requested and argued for, so we are very pleased with this additional successful result,” Jack said.

A civil lawsuit against Babakhanians, Caspian Construction, and other defendants tied to the police headquarters project remains before the court.

Sheegl’s lawyer, Robert Tapper, argued the court should make no decision on damages until the civil case against the remainingdefendants is resolved.

Joyal said it was Sheegl who filed the motion to sever his case from the other defendants, and he should have been aware of the possible consequences.

“It should be obvious that the court can only address those parties that are currently before it by appropriately applying the governing law to the facts as the court found them in a given case,” Joyal said.

“In that connection, this court will not suspend or otherwise upend its own findings and determinations based upon the conjectural and speculative submissions made by the Sheegl defendants concerning what might happen in a subsequent trial. “

Joyal’s March ruling including an order Sheegl repay $250,000 in severance he received from the city and $100,000 in punitive costs, as well as “reasonable” City of Winnipeg court costs.

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

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