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Failed civic election candidates could face prosecution for questionable expenses

Michel Fillion.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Michel Fillion.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/7/2015 (1447 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Thirteen mayoral and council candidates should be charged for how they raised and spent money during last year’s civic election, a city official recommends.

The most high profile candidates are former Daniel McIntyre councillor Harvey Smith, plus two mayoral candidates Michel Fillion and Michael Vogiatzakis.

Smith, along with council candidates Joe Chan, Anthony Ramos, and Godwin Smith received cash donations and didn’t deposit them in a bank account listed in the registration application, city campaign expenses and contributions officer Bill Treytiak revealed in a report. He states they used the cash donations to pay for expenses.

Smith, who at the time was the longest serving member of council, was defeated by Cindy Gilroy in the October 2014 election.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/7/2015 (1447 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Thirteen mayoral and council candidates should be charged for how they raised and spent money during last year’s civic election, a city official recommends.

The most high profile candidates are former Daniel McIntyre councillor Harvey Smith, plus two mayoral candidates Michel Fillion and Michael Vogiatzakis.

Smith, along with council candidates Joe Chan, Anthony Ramos, and Godwin Smith received cash donations and didn’t deposit them in a bank account listed in the registration application, city campaign expenses and contributions officer Bill Treytiak revealed in a report. He states they used the cash donations to pay for expenses.

Smith, who at the time was the longest serving member of council, was defeated by Cindy Gilroy in the October 2014 election.

Fillion, who finished last in the mayoral race, is accused of issuing a cheque out of his personal account to cover the difference between a potential rebate and the amount of an invoice. With that transaction, Treytiak said Fillion exceeded his limit on personal contributions of $1,500.

In the report, Treytiak recommends the failed candidates face charges for violating the campaign and expenses contribution bylaw. If charged and convicted, they face a maximum fine of $5,000.

Meanwhile, Vogiatzakis was one of two would-be mayoral candidates who did not file an audited financial statement. Six council candidates, including former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Dave Donaldson, also failed to file their statements on time.

If charged under the city’s bylaw and convicted, as recommended by Treytiak, Vogiatzakis and the others would be prohibited from being nominated or elected to council until after the next general election.

Vogiatzakis had a colourful but limited mayoral campaign, as he failed to collect the appropriate number of nomination signatures needed to get on the ballot. However, according to the bylaw, he still had to file an audited statement for the expenses he did incur.

The report also includes a series of recommendations.

In wake of a controversial move by mayoral candidate Gord Steeves to announce his intentions to run prior to the election period with a small campaign party, Treytiak recommended the city indicates clearly on its website that such a move is in violation of the bylaw.

He also recommends a refundable deposit fee be levied against those who register for the race, in order to ensure all candidates file their financial statements.

"Implementing a refundable deposit simply is another means of ensuring that openess and transparency in terms of electoral process is ensured," he wrote, recommending council candidates pay $500 and mayoral candidates pay $1,000.

The report will be tabled at Wednesday’s city council meeting. On Thursday, a full list of candidates campaign donations, including amounts and the name of the contributor, will be released.

For the first time this year, the list will be published online.

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History

Updated on Friday, July 10, 2015 at 5:55 PM CDT: write-thru, adds boxes

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