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Rep ticked about leaks

Anonymous packages are ‘smear campaign’, Frustaglio says

Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio is fuming at the “smear campaign” directed at her and delivered in nondescript brown envelopes.

Vaughan Today received a second anonymous package this week on the heels of one sent to media outlets last month. Both contained documents alleging wrongdoing in the awarding and payment of contracts to companies connected to Steve Frustaglio, the regional councillor’s son.

Investigations by city staff have so far uncovered nothing inappropriate.

“I have never, ever in my life been so enraged about such actions,” Frustaglio said Tuesday night. “As a parent, as a mother, I am doubly enraged that these people would try and defame my name and the reputation of my family and that of my son. How dare they? How dare they?

“If there had been some illegal action then let them prove it.”

The first brown envelope contained photocopied city cheques signed by Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio to SLF General Contracting and Vitriflex Surfaces Inc. Apparently leaked, those photocopies have sparked an internal city investigation into their source.

Though information about the payments to SLF and Vitriflex could be obtained through freedom of information requests, copies of the cheques could not have been, city spokesperson Madeline Zito said. The photocopies were of cheques sent to the two companies, not of any the city would still have, she said.

“We had a very lengthy, lengthy, almost five-and-a-half hour in-camera meeting (Monday) debating and discussing this whole matter and as to how the cheques saw the light of day,” Frustaglio said. “Everything will come out in the end because staff have been instructed to do a very, very thorough investigation following (Monday) night’s meeting.”

The entire affair has instigated a fresh war of words between Frustaglio and Mayor Linda Jackson.

Speaking to reporters at city hall last week, Jackson expressed concern that, at worst, laws were broken when the regional councillor signed the cheques and at best, the optics were bad.

“This is the biggest setup I have ever seen,” Frustaglio said. “This is nothing but a witch hunt on the part of the mayor to bring me down to her level.”

Frustaglio said she’s been receiving messages of support, even flowers, from the public.

“My reputation and my name stands on its own,” she said. “I have been an exemplary representative of the people of Vaughan for 20 years collectively and 10 years at the province.

“How dare she or anyone else try to impugn my name and my reputation in any way, shape or form?”

When reached for comment on the latest anonymous package, Jackson said she couldn’t comment on something she hadn’t yet seen.

In print: Dec. 5, 2008, page 1.

Vaughan Today
In print: December 5, 2008, page 1
Online: December 4, 2008 [link]