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This article was published 7/3/2012 (3435 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A legal challenge that calls on Mayor Sam Katz to step down over conflict-of-interest allegations is "absurd" and should be thrown out of court, according to a motion filed by Katz's lawyer.
Joe Chan, manager of the Cathay House restaurant, filed a declaration in the Court of Queen's Bench in January alleging Katz is in a conflict of interest over contracts and food services related to Hu's Asian Bistro.
In December, Katz held a taxpayer-funded Christmas party at Hu's, a restaurant he owns, for the second year in a row. The previous year, the mayor's office spent $2,915 on a gathering for city councillors, department heads and their families at Hu's, according to expense records.
Chan's court declaration alleges Katz has breached the trust of citizens by unfairly awarding a contract to a restaurant where he is the sole shareholder. Court documents reveal Chan has asked the office of the mayor "be declared vacant" or that Katz repay any and all costs the city has paid the bistro.
Lawyer Robert Tapper, who is representing Katz, filed a motion in Court of Queen's Bench that said the mayor should not be subjected to "absurd, and frivolous and vexatious" legal proceedings. Tapper's motion argues there is no evidence the City of Winnipeg paid for either of the events listed in Chan's court motion or his affidavit.
The motion states the mayor hosted a party for his staff and council members and there is no obligation to tender that, and noted "he is entitled to do that."
"If the mayor takes a fellow councillor across the street from city hall for dim sum, must he first attend at the city clerk's office to pick up a tender form?" the motion states.
The court motion said Chan's legal bid is a transparent attempt to garner attention for himself and his restaurant and should be dismissed.
Tapper said a hearing is scheduled for early April.
Katz declined to comment on the matter following Wednesday's executive policy committee meeting.
"There is a process. I'm not dealing with it," Katz said. "There is a lawyer dealing with it."
Previously, the mayor has defended his decision to host the holiday party at his eatery, saying many places are booked up over Christmas and he can get a good discount.