City set for battle with mayor
The City of Vaughan is gearing up for a head-on legal fight with its mayor.
After receiving an external legal opinion at a closed-door meeting Monday, councillors voted unanimously to defend themselves against allegations made by Mayor Linda Jackson in a legal application she filed last month.
In her suit against the city, Jackson says council’s June decision to act on a court-ordered audit of her campaign finances and pursue charges hinged on a series of illegal actions. Therefore, she argues, the audit and any looming charges should be tossed out.
“It’s clearly, even without the legal advice, extraordinary,” Councillor Alan Shefman told reporters after Monday’s meeting. “Even in the corporate world where CEOs sue their own companies, they’re out the door when they do it.”
Jackson alleges the city acted improperly when it hired auditor Ken Froese of LECG Canada and prosecutor Timothy Wilkin, who she says was neither independent nor unbiased.
Council’s response Monday included retaining legal firm WeirFoulds LLP to deal with Jackson’s suit and enacting a bylaw affirming the city had done nothing wrong in how it handled the court-ordered audit and its aftermath.
Council reaffirmed Wilkin’s authority to lay whatever charges he sees fit against Jackson as a result of the audit.
“The city is confident that it followed all proper procedures and that it has retained competent, experienced professionals to address the court-ordered compliance audit of the mayor’s 2006 campaign finances,” City Manager Michael De Angelis said in a statement.
Vaughan Today In print: September 12, 2008, page 1 Online: September 11, 2008 [link]