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Second audit sought on current mayor

Quintino Mastroguiseppe and Gino Ruffolo have made good on their threat and formally asked council for a second audit of Mayor Linda Jackson’s 2006 campaign books.

The pair, having already convinced Ontario Justice Lucia Favret to order an audit into an earlier filing of Jackson’s campaign finances, made the request Tuesday to look into her completed statement.

Jackson had until Feb. 29 to file her final campaign finances with the city under the Municipal Elections Act.

“It appears clear that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there have been numerous contraventions … of the act totalling well over $34,599,” Mastroguiseppe said in his sworn affidavit submitted to committee.

Mastroguiseppe and Ruffolo claim the mayor’s financial statements appear to show advertising expenses underreported by nearly $28,000.

The two flagged discrepancies in advertising and fundraising amounts between Jackson’s previous financial filing and her final one.

“It is unclear how fundraising expenses could have decreased by $4,089 between the swearing of the first and third Jackson financial statements,” Mastroguiseppe said in his affidavit.

The apparent omission of $6,750 in campaign donations from Jackson’s Feb. 29 filing, and the absence of some donors’ addresses and party costs also drew the attention of Mastroguiseppe and Ruffolo.

Council has 30 days under the elections act to decide whether to grant or reject the latest audit request.

The two had originally asked council for an audit into campaign financial statements filed by Jackson in April.

At its May 22 meeting, council decided it would defer its decision on the audit request until after Feb. 29, the deadline for Jackson to file her final statements. It was after the vote to delay that Mastroguiseppe and Ruffolo filed their ultimately successful appeal in court.

The city has yet to hire an auditor to look into the mayor’s April filing.

Vaughan Today
Online: March 28, 2008 [link]