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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Additional Requests for Campaign Compliance Audits

Update: See The Spec's coverage by clicking here or purchasing today's print version. 


Update: The person who has filed these complaints, is Viv Saunders who is a resident in Ward 10. Ms. Saunders has chosen to reveal her identity.

The same person who had recently submitted for a compliance review pertaining to Maria Pearson's campaign funds, has made additional requests for reviews of the campaign finances of Chad Collins, Doug Conley, Lloyd Ferguson, Tom Jackson, Sam Merulla, Robert Pasuta and Terry Whitehead.

The following is a media release received by The Hamiltonian:


Yesterday afternoon at @ 1:30 p.m., applications were filed with the City Clerk for compliance audits for the campaign finances of:  Chad Collins, Doug Conley, Lloyd Ferguson, Tom Jackson, Sam Merulla, Robert Pasuta and Terry Whitehead.  These are in addition to last week's application for Maria Pearson.

(the not so brief) STATEMENT FROM THE APPLICANT:

At this time, the applicant's preference is to be unidentified in the media.  Council, Committee and various city staff have this information on file and it will be made part of the public record but I

personally feel who filed is insignificant.  This was an extremely difficult decision and hasn't been made lightly.  A lot of research has been conducted and a lot of discussions occurred with supportive confidants.

I would like to be perfectly clear that my personal opinions as to whom I may respect or not; and/or whom I may feel are not/are  diligent in their duties has in no way influenced my decision to submit or not submit these applications.  In my opinion, that approach just wouldn't be right.

I'm sure there will be chatter and presumptions made about why some and why not others.  On the surface, it might appear that some are "not as bad as others" so why bother?  Imo, "Not as bad" is setting the bar too low.

I approached this methodically when looking at all the candidates financial filings:

First, Did I think a contravention occurred?
If yes, Do I believe contravention(s) illustrated a blatant disregard for the spirit of the Municipal Elections Act and the letter of the law?
If yes, I chose to submit an application.

If no or possibly to above, 
a.  Do I believe the contraventions may have resulted in a greater surplus (paid to the City) or a lesser deficit (that candidate can carry forward)? or,
b.  Do I believe the contravention is one of the two more serious offences that are subject to penalties (excluding my personal opinion on intent)
If yes, some councillors were emailed asking them for further details; others were not based on the volume of contraventions I perceived.  For the latter, I chose to submit an application.

If still questionable to me, Did I believe, on the face of the filings , it is likely the perceived contravention was probably an error in judgment.  In other words, did I feel that an audit request might be a fishing expedition; which is not the intent of the Act and that I personally would not be comfortable with.
If yes, I chose to not submit an application.

Right, wrong, or debatable, at the end of the day, I'm the one who had to be of the strong opinion further resources should be spent on an unbiased Auditor's Report for the candidates that I've decided to submit applications for.  There is nothing preventing any other eligible elector from filing a Request (by the end of the day tomorrow) or bypassing the Committee and going direct to the Courts with respect to an alleged contravention.

It is now out of my hands and up to the Elections Compliance Committee how to proceed.

I've been advised by the Clerk's office that the Committee will likely convene sometime during the week of July 6th for Maria Pearson's application.  I have not been advised if any of these additional ones will be on the agenda as well.

Sincerely,

- The applicant

(As an aside, I was disappointed and disheartened that only 1 media source chose to write about Maria Pearson's application that I'm aware of - no tweeting, nothing online and nothing in print. 
I'm disappointed because there was quite a bit written following the election about an informed elector being a better elector.  In addition, there was quite a bit written about the candidate's Financials Statements themselves when they were made public, as well as for the audit request for Doug Conley; yet, ...hmmm,... makes one wonder.  
I attended a Neighbours Working Together discussion panel recently that was hosted by quite a few neighbourhood associations.  Afterwards, I was hopeful going forward there would be momentum to engage all Hamiltonians; not just on issues in our own backyards but also on issues in our communities, wards, and city.  
I'm disheartened because I think this is reflective of a deeper problem.  We need to view ourselves as an inclusive citizenry if we, together, can make positive changes and/or build on the accomplishments in our city.  Every area is unique.  Every area has differing resources and strengths.  Every area has different needs and wants.  We need to understand these differences; respect them, and hopefully work together for the betterment of everyone. 
I know I sound a little preachy, but I'm starting to believe the parochialism and obvious infighting at Council won't end until we (the citizens) show we've come together and we want it stopped.  We need to start caring more about each other, compromising, and above all listening to each other in order to strike a balance between all our stakeholders/investors.
Idealistic, yes.  But does that mean we shouldn't try?)


The Hamiltonian reminds our readers that these matters are at the request stage and have yet to be heard. 

26 comments:

  1. AnonymousJune 24, 2015

    Wow. Whoever put these together took a lot of time and it looks like they did some work. This will be very interesting to follow. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    ReplyDelete
  2. AnonymousJune 24, 2015

    This is one of those final rose ceremonies that you really don't want to be part of. I am interested in the Jackson and Pearson complaints the most.

    ReplyDelete
  3. AnonymousJune 24, 2015

    To the applicant. Do you have any audit experience?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 24, 2015

      Nope. But I did seriously consider being an actuary or a CA at one time!
      - Applicant

      Delete
  4. Ms. Saunders was asked to explain her motivation for the undertaking, to which she quickly replied her "desire to learn" was the primary inspiration. Sounded nice, almost altruistic.
    Sadly, failing to reveal historical issues such as previous failed integrity commission complaints, and very public criticism respecting Ms. Pearson's stand on various planning initiatives only serves to diminish credibility. Pity really, you had me believing your concerns were "our" concerns. Personal vendettas should be declared, because they will be revealed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 25, 2015

      With all due respect, I stated my motivation was concern.
      Whether this concern stemmed from historical issues with one particular individual and led to me to learn more, does not change the fact that I strongly believe contraventions have occurred by multiple candidates
      With respect to the failed Integrity Commissioner complaint, that particular complaint was in regards to a neighbourhood issue in which 40 people were interviewed by the private investigator the Commissioner retained. The report did not address the complaint. And sadly, the Integrity Commissioner did not even speak to the private investigator before filing the report to Council.
      Regardless sir, you are entitled to your opinion in regards to my credibility. I know I did not make these applications due to any personal vendettas. I know my personal opinions did not enter in to my final decision on whom to request audits on. If it had, the list would have been different (that was the dilemma I was referring to in the previous post)
      - Viv
      P.S. It might also interest you to know that this historical information was revealed to the media during our communications yesterday; for the obvious reasons you've stated.

      Delete
    2. AnonymousJune 25, 2015

      Perhaps you should actually read the submissions prior to making assumptions about "diminished credibility". Appears to me that you belong to a certain group in this city that believe their causes are the only worthwhile ones that are credible and as such, your input seems to be self-serving.

      Delete
    3. forgive me, meant Pearson, not DiFalco

      Delete
    4. Hamiltonian AdminJune 26, 2015

      Please note: Mr. Graham previously submitted the comment quoted below. It was initially not published and accidentally deleted. It was not published because it was obvious that it was an error and that it was not an accurate or intended statement. Mr. Graham has clarified his intent with his post above, clarifying that he was referring to Ms. Pearson rather than Ms. DFiFalco. We are quoting his comment which was accidently deleted, so that the post above from Mr. Graham is better understood. Our apologies to Mr. Graham.

      Original message.

      "I do not accept that your personal feelings respecting Ms.DiFalco had no bearing on your decision to file and I question why you would even make such an assertion given the history between the two of you. "

      Delete
  5. I was a littlke surprised that there were so many complaints, but the spirit of these complaints and the allegations seem worthwhile of proceeding. I think we need to be careful in assailing those who have the courage to step forward. They at least had the courage. If we attack anyone who is looking for answers based on reasons that appear to have merit, we should just pack it up and give up.
    Sorce

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 25, 2015

      If one actually takes the time to systemically review the submissions and apply the appropriate legislation there are indeed concerns.

      Delete
    2. I have not read each one systemically but I have read a few. From the ones I read, I believe that they have merit in proceeding with a compliance audit. I'll be very interested in seeing what type of rigor is employed to these audits and whether the consequences (if contraventions were made), are appropriate. With the I.C. experience we have learned how ineffective that whole thing was.
      Sorce

      Delete
    3. you and I have very different interpretations as to what constitutes an attack. I now have a much clearer view of the "who" and the "why" in this regard, and am satisfied that I am in a better position to draw certain conclusions.

      Delete
    4. Jim. You may or may not be right and I am not arguing about that. But logically, one can still have made serious violations, and, at the same time, be not well liked by the per son who complained. In other words, just because there may be some history, does not mean that the compliant does not have merit.If you have even a cursory look at the financials, some questions beg to be answered. Expenditures and income coming within 1% of each other is alone a point of interest. There see, to be others too. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.If all is well, noone has anything to worry about. If the financials are crooked, and the committee does a good job of scrutinizing this, that will come out too.
      Sorce

      Delete
    5. AnonymousJune 26, 2015

      You Mr. Graham, are fascinated by your own self importance and delusions of superiority. The WHY is because there is an "auditor report" on two of these from the same CA that reviewed substantial estimates. How DOES one do that and get paid for it?. The motivation of the WHO becomes irrelevant where there is a trend of highly irregular financial filings from career politicians at all levels of government (aka Duffy, DelCastro) all financials should be subject to scrutiny when the individuals involved are administering PUBLIC FUNDS.
      Since you do not have the tenacity & expertise to pursue these types of enquiries, your assessment of anyone else's motivation is irrelevant.
      - Not Viv Saunders

      Delete
    6. Sorce, I have never questioned the merits of the investigation, and I agree that there appears to be reason for concern. I am questioning the motivation of the applicant, and after a little wrangling, feel the issue is now much clearer.Never was it my intent to attack or assail, just shed a little light on the subject. Mission accomplished

      Delete
    7. AnonymousJune 27, 2015

      Jim, I've been giving your posts some further thought and was wondering if you'd like to meet for a coffee sometime? If we part ways with you still believing my concerns aren't "our" concerns, at least I'm sure, we would gain a little more insight from each other.
      Sincerely,
      Viv

      Delete
    8. Viv, sure that is a good idea, you can try me at my home email 'grahamjimh@gmail.com' and we can arrange a suitable time and place. thanks

      Delete
  6. AnonymousJune 25, 2015

    No mention of The Hamiltonian in The Spec's write up. Interesting.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 25, 2015

      @TH keep classy. At the very least they should have mentioned that they found out Ms. Saunders' identity through TH. Careful who you think your friends are.

      Delete
    2. Hamiltonian AdminJune 27, 2015

      It is our understanding that the identity was revealed to all media, by Ms. Saunders.

      Delete
  7. AnonymousJune 25, 2015

    These are very important audits because if it is shown that a candidate did not play by the rules, the whole result of the election must be questioned and by-elections should be held immediately after.

    ReplyDelete
  8. AnonymousJune 25, 2015

    Did anyone make the Ombudsman aware of this? I know he does not have jurisdiction, but he may find it interesting that so many campaigns are being challenged. Hamilton just keeps on digging a deeper hole.

    ReplyDelete
  9. AnonymousJune 26, 2015

    I hope the Compliance Committee does their job well. They are there to represent us and not the politicians. We have had enough of whitewashing in Hamilton

    ReplyDelete
  10. M Adrian BrassingtonJuly 08, 2015

    So. I was at Ms Pearson's thingee this afternoon/evening. My thoughts? Something along the lines of 'This is the sort of stuff that gives civic engagement a bad name.' And I'll wholly go against character and leave it at that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. M Adrian BrassingtonJuly 10, 2015

    Hang on... Isn't there yet another audit request for a candidate in Ward 10 that will be addressed this coming Monday afternoon...?

    ReplyDelete

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