Integrity commissioner’s investigation into John Tory’s ties to Rogers runs out of time

Toronto voters won’t know the outcome of a conflict of interest complaint against Mayor John Tory before they go to the polls this fall.

According to a letter sent to the plaintiff in the case, the city’s Integrity Commissioner, Jonathan Batty, determined that there is not enough time to complete his investigation into the matter, which focuses on the mayor’s ties to the Rogers corporation, before the deadline mandated by the province on Friday.

In the letter to whistleblower Adam Chaleff, Batty said he began his investigation immediately after receiving Chaleff’s request on July 22, and has since “diligently collected documents and interviewed witnesses.”

“However, in the interest of fairness and diligence, it is simply not feasible to collect all the necessary evidence, complete the required analysis, formulate my findings, and brief the parties” before Friday, Aug. 19, Batty wrote.

Friday is the last day candidates can register for the Oct. 24 municipal election and the date by which City of Toronto Law dictates that all integrity investigations must end. However, provincial law says that an investigation can be restarted after the election at the request of any of the parties involved.

Noting that Chaleff’s request arose from Tory’s participation in a council vote on June 15, Batty said in his letter that it was “regrettable” that the commissioner’s office did not receive the complaint until more than five weeks after the fact. . He said the timing left him with only 18 business days to finish investigating him.

In a statement to the Star, Chaleff said he would ask the commissioner to restart his investigation after Election Day. According to Chaleff, Batty has not yet interviewed him for the investigation.

“While I am disappointed that voters do not know the outcome of this investigation before they cast their ballots, I appreciate the integrity commissioner’s effort to conduct a full, fair and expeditious investigation into Mayor Tory’s apparent conflict of interest,” he said.

Tory, who is favored to win a third term in the October race, has denied any wrongdoing.

“The Mayor has fully cooperated with the Integrity Commissioner’s review and is very confident that he complied with the law and acted appropriately and in good faith on this matter,” Tory spokesman Lawvin Hadisi said in an email. .

“Mayor Tory’s record of integrity speaks for itself,” he added, calling the timing of the complaint just weeks before the election deadline “revealing.”

Chaleff’s complaint alleged that Tory’s role on the advisory committee of the Rogers family trust meant she had an indirect pecuniary interest in a council debate over the ActiveTO program.

Prior to the June 15 council meeting, Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro issued a public letter urging the mayor to vote against extending street closures on Lake Shore Boulevard West for ActiveTO, arguing that the event made it difficult for fans and games to get into the Rogers Centre.

Tory publicly defended Shapiro’s letter and subsequently voted for a version of ActiveTO that does not include regular closures at Lake Shore West.

The trust the mayor advises controls Rogers Communications Inc., the telecommunications company that owns the Jays. Tory receives $100,000 a year for her role on the committee.

The Municipal Conflict of Interest Law prohibits council members who have a direct or indirect financial interest in an issue before the council from voting on it or attempting to influence the outcome of the vote.

Tory’s office says that ActiveTO is a traffic problem that affects hundreds of thousands of Torontonians and that the mayor has no vested interest in it.

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter who covers city hall and city politics for the Star. Contact him via email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr


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