CFN – What the heck is happening in Oshawa Ontario?
Council went awry resulting in armed plain clothed police and what appears to be city staff wrassled a citizen to the ground that was seated?
Activist Barry Dutton was also evicted under the guise of Trespass.
More video of Oshawa Police Getting Freaky in Council
The tempest in Oshawa has been allegations of wrongdoing of the Mayor, council, and key members of city management; something that has been occurring across the province. It’s odd that our Premier took time to comment over Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s issues, but has remained all but silent regarding cities like Oshawa, Cornwall, and several others.
Thanks to Social media protesters and their cameras have been documenting and sharing their concerns on the net.
Mr. Tim Bird submitted this letter (bolding by CFN)
I respectfully request that Council reject Mr. Rust D’Eye’s draft report. As several memos and documents have revealed, this process and investigation appears fundamentally flawed on several levels. The importance of rooting out these extreme wrongdoings at the highest level of our City’s Management, supersedes any political or public relations agenda which may be intertwined with this important issue.
A/ Some back ground information:
The City of Oshawa has recently purchased a property at 199 Wentworth Street East. The local media has reported the Auditor General obtained valuations that warned the City could be overpaying by $800,000 to $1.7 million for the property. He reported this information twice prior to the closing of the deal. But the deal proceeded anyway, by a close vote of City council.
Further, the Auditor General stated in his May 16, 2013 report to council “During the preparation of CM-13-29, Potential Acquisition of Land, the City Manager instructed the Auditor General to exclude information related to the valuation of the properties subject to acquisition from his audit attachment”.
There are many other troubling findings within this entire scandal. But instructing an independent Auditor General to remove vital information in reports to council, on its own should ring serious alarm bells – loud and clear. In addition, below you will read the AG’s statement about the City Manager threatening to fire him.
B/ Information specific to the recent Auditor General’s report:
There are a wide range of disturbing developments at Oshawa City Hall, as stated in this AG report:
“During the preparation of Confidential Report CM-12-32, Potential Acquisition of Land, the City Manger instructed the Auditor General to exclude the lower end value of the appraisal of $4.3 million for the property at 199 Wentworth Street East from his audit attachment. “
“The Auditor General has not been allowed to fulfill his statutory duties without fear of reprisal and other limitations imposed by the City Manager”.
“During the last term of Council, the City Manager threatened to have the Auditor General fired if he brought the draft report in Attachment 1 to Council to identify his concerns about the site selection criteria”
“During the preparation of CM-13-29, Potential Acquisition of Land, the City Manager instructed the Auditor General to exclude information related to the valuation of the properties subject to acquisition from his audit attachment “
In the Auditor General’s report AG-13-09, Mr. Foster outlines the legal requirements of Council and senior management under the Municipal Act:
“Among other things, clause 224 of the Act indicates that it is the role of Council:
To ensure that administrative policies, practices & procedures and controllership policies, practices & procedures are in place to implement the decisions of Council; and
To ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality, including the activities of the senior management of the municipality.”
C/ This investigation and the corresponding report are no longer credible:
One of the first troubling moments occurred at the Council meeting where this shocking AG report was originally submitted. There was no opportunity for a question and answer session with the Auditor General regarding these serious concerns and recommendations. It was as if he was strategically silenced at that council meeting.
Instead, there was a rushed reaction to appoint an investigator to look into these allegations. Half of the council members at the meeting were taken completely by surprise at this move. They voted against the motion. They wanted more information and an opportunity for a transparent public information session. But they were denied this transparency, when the Mayor voted to break the tie and rush ahead to appoint Mr Rust D’Eye.
Yet there is a distinct appearance of conflict of interest: The Mayor was mentioned in the report, and may be involved in some of the problems outlined in this report – or worse. For the Mayor to break the tie in the vote on a motion which was suspect in the first place, is just wrong.
So please acknowledge this investigation has been tainted. It is no longer independent or impartial for the following twelve reasons:
1/ Mr. Rust D’Eye has shown an appearance of bias, in favour of the City Manager by asking the Clerk to issue the memo of August 8. This memo incorrectly assumed the Auditor General had made “a significant abandonment” of his allegations against the City Manager. So the AG was forced to issue a response correcting that distortion of facts. The AG made a 4-word amendment within a 41 page document. In his responding memo the AG stated it “should not be construed as a significant abandonment” of his allegations.
This response was necessary because Mr. Rust D’Eye either misinterpreted – or perhaps optimistically leveraged this small change, in order to assist the City Manager’s side of this issue. Why would Mr Rust D’Eye, and the City issue a memo to the media and the public, with such a significant error – and not first check it with Mr Foster?
2/ Mr. Rust D’Eye’s original appointment as an INDEPENDENT investigator was clouded with controversy from the beginning. The City Solicitor was even asked about Mr. Rust D’Eye’s previous ties to City Hall (and by extension people within City Hall who may be implicated in the AG report).
3/ As it turns out, after that “ambush” motion to appoint Mr. Rust D’Eye, ties to the City of Oshawa have been identified. Clearly, this is not the same “arm’s length” relationship that was “sold” to council and the public at the meeting of May 21.
4/ At that same May 21 meeting, while the Mayor and a slim majority of Council refused to discuss the content of the report, or allow the Auditor General a question and answer session – several attempts to introduce alternative motions were ruled out of order by the Mayor. That meeting had all the indicators of a pre-planned strategy to sweep these allegations under the carpet.
5/ Conflict of interest: As mentioned the original decision to appoint Mr. Rust D’Eye was a 4-4 tie vote. The Mayor voted to break the tie. Yet he has been deeply embroiled in this scandal from the beginning.
6/ Council was not offered a selection process, nor a shortlist of candidates to fill this investigator’s position. In fact this appointment came out of nowhere, as a surprise to at least 4 councillors.
7/ Was the motion pre-planned? This appointment was not a surprise to the other councillors, who boasted about Mr. Rust D’Eye’s credentials at that meeting. In fact they seemed quite familiar and well-versed about his history. So this motion to appoint Mr. Rust D’Eye, which appeared out of nowhere, certainly had all the appearances of a “done deal” decided by 5 out of 9 before the meeting actually began.
8/ Mr. Rust D’Eye’ has become political. Regarding Mr. Rust D’Eye’s release of inaccurate information through the Clerk, it was nothing short of a “press release” and a political PR exercise. And this false, or misinterpreted claim within this memo can only be seen to assist the City Manager’s position in this scandal. Further there was no real need for him to release any information prior to his final report, because it was due shortly. If he was going to release any information, one would expect it to be accurate – and because of the highly sensitive nature, double-checked for accuracy with a phone call to Mr. Foster.
9/ This has all the indications of a political and public relations exercise on behalf of the City Manager, and certainly not the type of action expected of an independent and impartial investigator.
10/ The timing is critical:
On August 8, Mr. Rust D’Eye issues the “press release” through the Clerk, which appears to publicly exonerate the City Manager of wrongdoing.
August 9, the AG issues a memo correcting Mr. Rust D’Eye’s inaccurate assumptions.
Then 4 days later, on August 13, Mr. Rust D’Eye states in a memo to Mr. Foster:
“Yes, you are correct that I have not reviewed all of the 26 boxes of documents and 8 or 9 loose leaf binders that have been provided to me by various City departments for the purposes of my investigation. In the time available to me, I don’t expect that I will.”
Also at this time, it is exposed that Mr. Rust D’Eye has not interviewed some of the most valuable and knowledgeable witnesses in this case. So now there is an appearance of Mr. Rust D’Eye’s bias and prejudgement of the City Manager’s innocence. His competence is not being questioned. But his impartiality has become suspect.
This is troubling from a few vantage points:
i/ First, from Mr. Rust D’Eye’s memo’s and various “press releases” it appears he has already decided the City Manager is innocent. Yet he has not bothered to examine key evidence.
ii/ Second, Mr. Rust D’Eye has refused to interview several key witnesses, including ex-employees of the City – who the AG has stated will provide essential evidence to collaborate his allegations.
iii/ Third, Mr. Rust D’Eye states in his “press release” of August 8, he is concerned about the City Manager’s reputation. So it appears he is effectively compromising his investigation, by not examining key evidence and considering the City Manager’s reputation a higher priority. By placing a higher priority on protecting the City Manager’s reputation, than doing a thorough investigation – he is compromising his own credibility – and by extension the credibility of OUR City Hall. And this certainly creates an appearance of a built-in bias within his priorities.
11/ Then on August 22 and 23, the Auditor General was compelled to correspond at least twice with Mr. Rust D’Eye, again identifying several gaps or shortcomings within his investigation.
12/ Yet on August 22, Mr. Rust D’Eye’s states in a memo: “Mr. Foster: Thank-you for your email of to-day, but I have already completed my draft report and provided it to the Clerk’s office. I will be out of Toronto, and Oshawa, until the meeting of Council.”
So any hopes of this investigation and report being fair, honest, accurate, complete or impartial – have all but evaporated.
E/ The Police Investigation Will Also Be Compromised, if you accept this report:
Probably the most important reason to reject this report is that the Durham Regional Police have stated their ongoing investigation, will be based on the findings of Mr. Rust D’Eye’s report. But this investigation has already been shown to be incomplete, inaccurate and quite likely biased in favour of the perpetrator.
Additionally, the Mayor is a member of the Durham Regional Police Services Board. This poses another potential conflict of interest. So, please consider the suggestion of requesting the Durham Regional Police turn over the investigation to the OPP.
F/ It is not in the best interests of Oshawa to allow these unethical practices to continue:
Unfortunately, Oshawa has hit a new low in terms of ethical standards. These highly questionable and unethical practices, have contributed to a poorly managed city to say the least. In fact, the recent report card from the Canadian Federation of Taxpayers rated Oshawa the worst managed City in Ontario. They awarded us an “F” grade – a fail.
Unethical practices contribute to inefficiencies at every level. As a result every tax dollar spent at Oshawa City Hall has a portion of unnecessary waste associated with it. A prime example is overpaying by more than a million dollars for the property at 199 Wentworth.
But if you drilled down and examined all the waste and unethical behaviors at every level, you would find incredible opportunities to save OUR tax dollars.
These wrongdoings and extremely unethical practices have been going on for too many years. As a result, Oshawa has the highest taxes in the GTA, and a debt which is quickly spiralling out of control.
G/ On a positive note, Oshawa has been presented with an incredible opportunity for improvement:
This failing grade from the CFT and this report from the AG are not just wake-up calls. They are major opportunities to correct the wrongs, which have plagued our city for years. On the other hand, this investigation should be seen for what it is: a “whitewash” – a band aid, on an infected wound. Please do the right thing.
It is obvious that siding with the City Manager, and discrediting the Auditor General may play well, in the advancement of your political careers within the power structure of the City Hall. But I appeal to you all, to see the bigger picture.
In the interest of the larger community, the citizens of Oshawa, I respectfully request that all Councillors and the Mayor, refuse to accept this report, for the reasons outlined above.
And I thank you very much for your time and attention.
The story was picked up by the Toronto Star as well LINK Other LINK
Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri asked the mayor immediately after the dramatic confrontations who had requested a police presence at the meeting.
Henry said he didn’t know but, “I’m just glad they’re here.”
The problem as we’ve seen in many situations across Ontario is that there is no device in the Municipal Acts for the public to hold politicians accountable except the courts which puts them in dire financial risk while corrupt politicians have an open cheque book on the taxpayer. Even when found guilty monies are rarely if ever recouped and when wrong doing is internally discovered there usually is a silent settlement to save embarrassment for a municipality.
I know. I’m headshaking too.
What the heck is going on in Ontario and how does the public hold scoundrel politicians and cronies accountable? Here in Cornwall the Mayor and his cabal are holding onto power while cutting waterfront land & condo deals before election time with no real recourse or protection for taxpayers.
What do you think Ontario? You can post your comments below.
We will be updating this story as more information and quotes become available.
Update 2:23 PM
Barry Dutton made the following statement for publication:
Security manhandled me a month ago in committee and nothing was done. Prior complaints have been sent to council and the mayor and department heads and how security treats residents.
Nothing has changed. Everytime I walk in there the last two years I’m harassed for bringing a water bottle in. The mayor of Oshawa is a coward and a bully. He doesn’t like his dark agenda being challenged by the residents and council watchers that are actually paying attention in one of the highest taxed cities in Canada with some of the most overpaid senior and middle management in Ontario (MUSH SECTOR) .
John Henry the heavy handed mayor of Oshawa continues to abuse his coveted plum patronage appointment on Durham Regional Police Services Board.
Update Thursday September 5
We heard from Mayor Henry of Oshawa. The Mayor was supposed to email us the preamble from the council session and a statement, but has not as of press time.