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More woes for troubled mayor

Jackson ordered to clarify remarks

Mayor Linda Jackson has been ordered by the court to explain remarks she made recently scolding unnamed opponents.

The Ontario Superior Court has compelled Jackson to answer questions intended to clarify who she meant when she referred to “my opponents” in recent statements published in Vaughan Today and other newspapers.

The decision is a small victory for Gino and Mary Ruffolo in the conflict of interest case they’ve brought against Jackson.

“If the mayor was referring to the Ruffolos, then, at least in our view, it makes it much less likely that being involved in the decision to launch a $395,000 lawsuit against the Ruffolos was inadvertent or just an error in judgment,” Ruffolo counsel Eric Gillespie said Tuesday. “It might look much more like quote-unquote payback.”

The Ruffolos allege Jackson breached the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act when she participated in the closed-door meeting of council in November where it was decided the city would take legal action against the Ruffolos for breaching a 2006 settlement.

Jackson should not have participated in that meeting because she was before the court for legal action brought forward in June by Gino Ruffolo and Quintino Mastroguiseppe, the Ruffolos allege in their suit filed in December.

“If a court finds that that’s a conflict, then the next question that becomes extremely important is whether or not the conflict was created through inadvertence or an error in judgment, because you otherwise are automatically removed from office,” Gillespie said.

Jackson declined to comment on the conflict case because it is before the courts.

Vaughan Today
Online: May 29, 2008 [link]