In a recent article published by Mahesh P. Butani (found here http://metrohamilton.ning.com/profiles/blogs/hamilton-waterfront-trust-the-missing-years ), Mr. Butani states that during your mayoral term, and specifically in the years 04, 05 and 06, the Hamilton Waterfront Trust failed to provide at least three financial statements that ought to have been submitted and discussed at committee and council. In light of this Mr. Butani wonders if you had made any documented request for these financials during your term. Butani further submits that Mayor Eisenberger received the 2002-2007 financials from the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, nearly two years following your mayoral term.
Butani goes on to write “Hence in all probability mayor DiIanni would never have been even aware of HWT’s finances - in spite of the fact that the largest percentage of HWT total expenses in its eleven years appear to have been incurred during DiIanni's mayoral term. This implies that for the entire duration of DiIanni's mayoral term 2004/05/06, there would have been no mayoral or council oversight/scrutiny of HWT's finances or purchasing / procurement.”
We would suggest that you read Mr. Butani’s article in full, which is found here http://metrohamilton.ning.com/profiles/blogs/hamilton-waterfront-trust-the-missing-years
Our questions are:
1. How do you respond to Mr. Butani’s suggestion that during your mayoral term, there appears to have been insufficient attention to the financials of The Hamilton Waterfront Trust and their failure to report?
2. Did you make any requests for these financials and if so, what was the result of that? If not, why not?
3. Did you find it acceptable that these financials were not submitted during your term. If not, what actions did you take to address this?
Mr. DiIanni responded as follows:
As a general principle let me tell you that I was aware that the Waterfront Trust was flush with cash during my tenure, having received over $5M, I believe, from the Feds. I knew that we had several members of council on the Trust who along with citizen members were entrusted with direct oversight of the body and its programs; and because I visited the waterfront weekly (at least) and talked to the principals I knew the work that was being done at Williams, the trails and the boat. I supported this work and still do. I don't recall any protocol to have the Trust report to Council during Mayor Wade's term or mine. The Conservation Authority with an independent Board doesn't report to Council either and it receives money directly from the city. Perhaps the Trust should have reported, but it didn't and no one brought it up, to my recollection. I do recall that Councillor Ferguson took an interest in the Trust's work and asked some questions of its members and again to my knowledge that's where it stopped.
I would argue that any critic of the operations of the Trust take it up with Council and if they do ask questions, this time, they might stay to listen to the answers. Or, perhaps they might attend the meetings of the Board of the Trust. I am sure they would be welcome to do so.