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Audit decision postponed

Mayor Linda Jackson will have to wait a while longer to find out whether she’ll be forced to submit to a compliance audit of her 2006 campaign finances, thanks to a rescheduling at the Newmarket court.

Ontario Justice Lucia Favret was set to deliver her verdict Tuesday morning in the appeal filed by Quintino Mastroguiseppe and Gino Ruffolo, the Vaughanians who had originally asked council for the audit in May.

According to Ruffolo, that judgment has been postponed to Feb. 15.

“It could just be a backlog — that courthouse is one of the busiest, I understand, in Ontario,” Ruffolo said Tuesday. “We haven’t actually gotten confirmation on the exact reason.”

Mastroguiseppe and Ruffolo filed their appeal after council’s May 22 decision to defer the audit request until after Feb. 29, the latest the mayor can file any supplementary financial statements under the Municipal Elections Act.

At the last court appearance on Dec. 14, Favret heard city lawyer George Rust-D’Eye and Jackson’s attorney Andrew Jeanrie argue the audit application to council was premature, and therefore invalid.

Eric Gillespie, the lawyer representing Mastroguiseppe and Ruffolo, argued the Municipal Elections Act does not limit when someone can ask for a financial audit, meaning requests can be made from the beginning of a campaign until 90 days after the final filing date.

The audit request stems from Mastroguiseppe’s and Ruffolo’s allegation that Jackson broke the financial rules contained in the elections act more than 20 times.

Vaughan Today
Online: January 26, 2008 [link]