By Graeme McNaughton
Toronto city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti will have legal proceedings brought against him after an audit of his 2010 campaign finances found he overspent by as much as 44 per cent.
The Compliance and Audit Committee voted unanimously yesterday to go forward with instructing the city solicitor to attain outside counsel.
If Mammoliti is found guilty, penalties range from fines to removal of office.
The audit, conducted by Froese Forensic Partners Ltd, found the campaign spent $12,065 over the limit of $27,464 set out by the Municipal Elections Act.
The audit found many of the violations were the result of poor bookkeeping.
“The accounting for a campaign isn’t all that difficult if done correctly,” said Brad Armstrong, one of the Froese auditors, during the meeting. “I suspected [Bernard] Nayman, [Mammoliti’s campaign auditor], was presented with a shoe box and a tight time limit.”
The campaign also found $7,984 in expenses that were not accounted for.
Mammoliti’s legal team had initially moved at Monday’s meeting to adjourn the proceedings for eight months in order to have a third auditor review the campaign finances. The committee rejected the proposal.
Mammoliti’s legal team said the proceedings against their client, brought forward by citizen David DePoe, is nothing more than a partisan attack.
“[DePoe] wants the taxpayers to pay for this persecution of Councillor Mammoliti, rather than put his money where his mouth is and fund this crusade out of his own pocket,” said Jack Siegal, one of Mammoliti’s lawyers, during the proceedings.
Mammoliti declined to speak with Humber News following the end of the proceeding, directing any questions to his legal team.
DePoe, a retired librarian and city activist, submitted the request for the audit in December 2011 after receiving an anonymous phone call. DePoe said the caller described himself as a lawyer and a former opponent of Mammoliti.
“I’m glad that it’s going forward,” said DePoe to Humber News. “I’m pleased that [the committee] validated the report, because when I read it it seemed quite significant, the number of apparent contraventions of the law.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Rob Ford will face the same committee on Feb. 25 to answer allegations that his campaign also was in contravention of the elections act.
An audit of Ford’s 2010 mayoral campaign, also conducted by Froese, found donations totaling $6,000 from private corporations, which is illegal under the act. The campaign also accepted a loan from DECO Labels and Tags, a company owned by the Ford family. The act states campaigns can only accepted loans from accredited banks and other financial institutions.