THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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Mississauga News - July 26, 2010 - By Torstar Network
Mayor's son to testifyPeter McCallion, the oldest son of Mayor Hazel McCallion, is set to testify tomorrow at the judicial inquiry probing the extent of his mother’s involvement in a failed $14.4 million land deal he brokered.
The younger McCallion’s testimony will come amid revelations that his mother’s involvement in the deal with the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) is greater than previously known.
A December 2008 email to Michael Nobrega, the president of OMERS, has shown the mayor tried to convince a business partner involved in the land sale with the pension fund to proceed with the then-faltering deal.
“I have spoken to Hazel numerous times and will meet with her next week,” writes Michael Kitt of Oxford, a subsidiary of OMERS. “She will likely call Dal Bello to explain why she wants the deal to proceed.”
Kitt was referring to Michael Dal Bello, a senior official with the Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo), which co-owned the land and had concerns about the deal, in which Peter McCallion was hoping to build a hotel and convention centre on a site near the Square One mall.
Evidence filed with the inquiry so far shows:
• Dal Bello’s company was concerned about plans for the hotel and had discomfort that the mayor’s son was involved.
• The Alberta-based company, which wanted to back out of the deal, cited the waning influence of Mayor McCallion at council as a reason to pull out.
• Neither OMERS nor AIMCo had any burning desire to sell the land to World Class Developments, Peter McCallion’s company, other than to satisfy the mayor and the City’s interests in building a hotel on it.
The significance of Mayor McCallion’s involvement in trying to convince OMERS and its partners to proceed with the deal is that it occurred as the potential land sale and the plans for the hotel and conference centre complex began to falter as the global economy began sinking into recession in the spring of 2008.
Internal correspondence between OMERS and its business partner, as well as emails and letters between them and World Class, show the sticking point remained the type of hotel planned.
The sellers insisted the hotel be of high quality to bring value to the neighbourhood and Square One, and it appears they were not convinced World Class could pull that off.
The top issue being probed at the inquiry is Mayor Hazel McCallion’s behind the scenes involvement in a $14.4 million land deal involving her son and her role as the sale ultimately faltered and fell apart. At the heart of the issue is whether there was a conflict of interest.
Justice Douglas Cunningham said he would look not only at the council votes, where on various occasions, the mayor declared a conflict, but at a broader definition of conflict of interest. Under his interpretation, both elected and non-elected politicians are not to use their office to promote private interests, whether their own or those of relatives or friends.
The inquiry has already heard that:
• Mayor Hazel McCallion was involved in a yet unreported meeting involving Michael Nobrega, president of OMERS, in his office in early 2008, as the economic downturn began to result in a credit freeze, hurting the plan to build a hotel, convention centre and condominium complex.
• McCallion was a champion of the project and OMERS and its Alberta-based partner felt pressured to sell the land to her son’s company because of the her interest in the project.
• There were concerns among officials connected with OMERS that mayor McCallion was being used by her son’s company to facilitate the deal.
Comments by others - 2 - to this web-page at time of posting;
The Mississauga Muse Jul 26, 2010 9:27 AM
The Mississauga Muse Jul 26, 2010 8:24 AM
HAZEL MCCALLION CONFLICT OF INTEREST: FAILURE TO DECLARE AUDIO MAY 21, 2008 (includes cooked minutes)
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