Canada

Former councillor violated council codes of conduct: Integrity commish

Complaints against ousted Jim Karygiannis stemmed from secret recordings by former staffer

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The city’s integrity commissioner found ousted Toronto City Councillor Jim Karygiannis violated two of three articles of council’s code of conduct he was accused of breaching stemming from two Toronto Star articles published last year.

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Council was presented a report Tuesday from Integrity Commissioner Jonathan Batty based on complaints stemming from the articles, alleging the former Ward 22 councillor kept a ‘personal database’ of both supporters and detractors in his riding — shielding those he knew to be allies from reported bylaw infractions while allegedly subjecting political opponents to what was described as malicious and vindictive reporting of perceived violations.

The Star’s articles were based on audio recordings surreptitiously made by a former campaign worker during training and orientation sessions.

Karayiannis denied interfering with any investigations, and city staff interviewed by Batty weren’t aware of any cases where he had.

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Karygiannis was also accused of unlawfully entering and photographing interiors and occupants of homes in his ward he suspected of being illegal rooming houses.

“When interviewed, officials described having been told by Mr. Karygiannis, or having heard from other staff, that he was obtaining entry to properties by saying he was ‘there to look at their electrical panel to look at if it was safe’ or that, if they did not let him enter, he would come back with MLS and the Police,” Batty wrote in his report, adding reports of this behaviour stretched back four years.

“City staff advised they cautioned him to stop this activity.”

The report says Karygiannis sent photographs of the suspected rooming houses  — some including people living inside the suspect homes — to city staff, and that two of the homes he entered were without permission of the homeowner.

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Batty said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove he entered homes under false pretenses, he did conclude two homes were entered without permission, and described photographing the homes’ residents as “wholly unnecessary” and “bullying.”

In the third complaint, Batty determined Karygiannis’ excessive profane and unprofessional language captured in the recordings also breached council’s code of conduct — including 115 uses of the f-word during the 105-minute recording.

Karygiannis was booted from office last year over allegations  first broke by the Toronto Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy concerning illegal campaign spending during the 2018 municipal election.

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On Twitter:  @bryanpassifiume



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