THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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Toronto Sun - Oct. 1, 2009 - By Rob Lamberti, Sun Media, ROB.LAMBERTI@SUNMEDIA.CA
Mississauga council calls for inquiry into
MISSISSAUGA -- City council wants a judicial probe to look into possible conflict of interest by Mayor Hazel McCallion involving a land deal tied to her son.
In a 6-to-4 vote, council asked its lawyer yesterday to look into the process of having a judicial review of the possible conflict, something McCallion says she's been cleared of twice.
"That's what the council voted for," she said. "I hired a lawyer a couple of weeks ago ... I complied with the (municipal act). The city council hired an independent lawyer and the report is public now and it says I complied with the act.
"So I don't know," said McCallion, who didn't attend yesterday's meeting.
She refused comment when asked if this was a personal attack.
But Ward 7 Councillor Nando Iannicca ruled that out: "Oh, gosh, no, not on my part.
"If anybody thinks you're going to (create) red herrings with her, you're jeopardizing your career, not hers," he said.
Iannicca said the independent report instead confirms a conflict but what's in question is the degree.
However, Ward 9 Councillor Pat Saito, who voted against the motion, said the report said there was one incident where the mayor neglected to mention a conflict in May.
"She had done so at previous meetings," she said.
"So council was very aware she declared a conflict and the reason why," Saito said.
"The perception was as far as the municipal act was concerned ... there was one conflict of interest that was not declared," she said.
"The issue that arose was that the mayor met several times earlier this year with the representative of this company ... to look at plans for a hotel."
The $15-million land deal involved Peter McCallion, the real estate agent for World Class Developments, Iannicca said.
It's Hazel's involvement in some meetings involving her son's company and not declaring a conflict on May 21, 2008, that has raised eyebrows.
That deal fell through and city council approved another yesterday with the landowners, OMERS, the giant pension fund, for a Sheridan College campus.
What's at issue is if the mayor should have met with the company if her son was involved in the land deal and "that's not something the municipal act covers. It is completely silent on that," Saito said.
"In terms of the integrity of our taxpayers, I think we did the only thing we can do," Iannicca said.
"Remember, we haven't drawn any conclusions, we haven't accused anyone of anything. We're just saying, 'Somebody else will have a look at this and come back and tell us everything is in order.'"
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