Scanned, recopied or Internet copy, if there are errors, please e-mail me with corrections:
Opening comments: More at the end.
To the main Judicial Inquiry page - to the Hazel McCallion page.
Comments by others to this web-page - 3 - at time of posting.
Mississauga News - Dec. 15, 2009 - By Torstar Network
City asked to foot legal bills
Mississauga council is facing requests to pick up the legal bills for at least two parties due to appear at a judicial inquiry, a move that could increase the inquiry's $2.5 million budget before it even gets rolling.
One request at the inquiry's opening session yesterday came from Peter McCallion, the Mississauga mayor's son. The inquiry was sparked by his role in negotiating a $14.4 million purchase of land by World Class Developments Ltd. from Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS).
The other request for taxpayer help came from OMERS, the $40 billion pension fund that has a minority stake in the city-owned utility Enersource. The pension fund also owns the Square One mall.
Still unknown is the status of legal fees incurred by Mayor Hazel McCallion at the inquiry. Her lawyers and the City solicitor have yet to agree if she is covered under the City's legal insurance plan.
OMERS lawyer Michael Barrack told Justice Doug Cunningham the pension fund's bid for assistance was "admittedly a unique request." He argued, however, that the burden of legal fees for an innocent party should be paid by the City, not by OMERS municipal workers.
Peter McCallion's lawyer Luisa Ritacca argued her client deserved financial help because he is a man of modest means.
Justice Cunningham said, while the final decision on legal bills rests with Mississauga council, he may make recommendations to the City on which parties deserve help.
Besides the two McCallions and OMERS, Cunningham has granted status to Enersource, supporting the prospect of a relatively narrow inquiry at the Provincial Offence Court on Burnhamthorpe Rd. W.
But inquiry lawyer Will McDowell warned "a great deal remains unknown" about the issues and the commission's focus will evolve as new information emerges.
The inquiry is now adjourned for preparatory investigative work. It is to resume no later than March 1.
Its $2.5 million budget compares with the original Toronto Computer Leasing Inquiry into municipal corruption, which ran for 214 days, cost $20 million and had about 60 lawyers acting for the 22 parties.
Cunningham said his inquiry will differ from such prominent ones as the Walkerton water scandal and Air India bombing.
Those inquiries, he said, set out to determine what caused those tragedies and how they could have been prevented.
"On the other hand, we set out to examine certain transactions and relationships," he said. "These may well be important matters, and they are certainly matters of contention."
Cunningham framed the two broad areas to be investigated:
• The context, history and conduct of City business as it related to a purchase and sale of a 3.5-hectare parcel of land owned by OMERS that involved Peter McCallion and World Class Developments.
(The deal involved private meetings between Mayor McCallion, the developer and OMERS, while zoning of the land was still before council. OMERS subsequently sold the land to the City, which in turn leased it to Sheridan College.)
• The circumstances surrounding an agreement that gave OMERS, a 10 per cent shareholder in Enersource, a controversial veto. The veto gave OMERS the right to veto actions by the City, which owned 90 per cent of the hydro utility.
Comments by others - 3 - to this web-page;
The Mississauga Muse Dec 17, 2009 8:06 AM
Also for the record, I just switched my vote at the front of MissyNews
Voted NO before. And switched it to YES. And it's nothing to do with "modest means" but rather my uneasy feeling about the infinite capacity of our own politicians to pervert. Sure in this case, a municipal council called for a judicial inquiry and I support that. But it also means a municipal council can plant your name down as someone being investigated. OMERS is rich (and rapacious --ie: kicked out the Youth drop-in Centre at Square One for room for profit). And Peter McCallion is "modest means". Just thinking at this point I don't want any government feeling free to pull people into legal action and have them foot the bill. Things are already bad enough. Justice comes to the one who can afford the best lawyer/s. Don't want to hobble someone just because he can't represent himself properly. Then we got fascism goin' the Other Way. Having said that, I'm not sure and would welcome both pros and cons.
The Mississauga Muse Dec 15, 2009 12:37 PM
For the record, re: Peter McCallion and "modest means"
Cut-and-pasted from the Judicial Inquiry transcript, "Mr. McCallion is self-employed in the real estate business. He is of modest means. I submit Mr. McCallion would find it difficult to participate fully in this Inquiry if he was required to pay for his legal representation himself." "Modest means"... I guess that'd make ME a pauper!
* Agree 3
The Mississauga Muse Dec 15, 2009 11:51 AM
DESPITE THE COURTROOM BRISTLING WITH ROGERS CABLE 10 TV CAMERAS THE PROCEEDINGS WEREN'T TELEVISED
Just phoned Rogers. Said they were there "just for a story". So maybe out of the entire thing they'd have used a minute or two of it. Like I keep saying. Zero difference between Rogers Cable 10 TV and City of Mississauga TV. Not in the interests of Rogers Cable 10 MYTHissauga to have an informed public either...
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