Councilman disciplined for failing to disclose $300K interest in property

The city’s integrity commissioner found that Gian-Carlo Carra failed to disclose the down payment of which there was no written record.

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Two Calgary councilmembers were sanctioned by their peers Tuesday following three separate investigations by the city’s integrity commissioner, but one report stood out for the amount of money involved.

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District 9 County. Gian-Carlo Carra was the subject of two separate investigations by the commissioner. One found that he repeatedly failed to declare a pecuniary interest in property in his neighborhood for six years, while another referred to his social media activity.

District 13 County. Dan McLean was the subject of a single investigation into photos showing him without a mask at a public event in December 2021.

Councilmembers were behind closed doors for several hours Tuesday afternoon before returning to council chambers to vote on releasing the reports and publicly punish the two councilmembers.

Integrity Commissioner Ellen-Anne O’Donnell’s first investigation into Carra focused on a property on 66th New Street SE, a 14,100-square-foot lot with a house that overlooks the Bow River in Inglewood.

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O’Donnell discovered that in 2015, after Carra had been on the council for more than four years, he and his wife made a $300,000 down payment on the property to the unnamed owner.

“There was no written agreement or document of any kind setting forth the terms of the transaction at that time,” O’Donnell wrote in the fact finding of his report.

The commissioner found that Carra worked in 2016 to have certain building restrictions lifted in Inglewood by filing a notice of motion. He said at the time that he had no pecuniary interest, but did indicate that he was “planning to build a house.”

Carra did not disclose his interest in the property for another five years, according to the integrity commissioner. At one point, the Carras paid an additional $36,000 for the property.

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He disclosed “an interest in 66th New Street SE in Inglewood” on November 10, 2021, shortly after being re-elected in last year’s municipal election.

O’Donnell noted in his report that a complaint was filed with then-Integrity Commissioner Allen Sulatyky in May 2016 on this matter, but was dismissed, according to the report.

O’Donnell found that Carra breached the council’s disclosure policy and code of conduct, and that her breach was of “moderate severity”.

She accepted his explanation that since he did not write the agreement into a contract, and since he and his wife had paid the funds to a management company that held title to the property, he did not have a financial interest that required disclosure to the city council. . .

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He also said his cooperation in the investigation was a mitigating factor.

The financial matter received virtually no discussion in the council once it was made public. Councilors spent around 45 minutes in total on the three reports. Most of the time was spent discussing Carra’s other matter, which involved tweets related to his colleagues’ association with Coun. Sean Chu in a motion notice.

For her disclosure violation, Carra must attend ethics and records management training with the ethics counselor within 30 days. She must also issue a letter of apology to the people of Calgary.

He has been removed as president of the boards, commissions and committees until October 25 of this year, although technically, that sanction was linked to his misadventures on social networks.

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The commissioner’s report will be treated as a warning letter.

Council members, including Carra himself, unanimously agreed to the sanctions against him.

He left the council chambers following the matter without commenting to reporters and called the council meeting remotely for the remaining business.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the council relies on the integrity commissioner to independently investigate allegations against council members, and that is what happened in this case. She said the council was unanimously in agreement with the sanctions O’Donnell recommended for Carra,

“We trust that integrity commissioner to give her the best advice and she did a thorough investigation,” Gondek said. “In fact, she filed a report on time, which is more than I can say from what has happened in the past.”

Gondek said the fact that three integrity commissioner reports were filed on the same day should send a message.

“What this should say to Calgarians is that we are committed to being transparent. We have agreed that we will have a third party review our conduct. And when there is a complaint, we take it very seriously.”

[email protected]
Twitter: @brodie_thomas

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