City hall pays for a large number of very skilled professionals to keep it from doing stupid things: planners to keep it from bulldozing the wrong street, technicians to make sure poisons don’t get into the water, and lawyers to keep councillors from breaking the law. Of course, every once in a while, city council really, really wants to do something that its lawyers tell it not to do—like pay for the legal fees that councillors rack up during their political campaigns.
The National Post reports:
The city pays [Toronto solicitor Anna] Kinastowski big bucks to write stuff like this. But council ignored her advice. Instead, council voted four times to pay legal bills of councillors, including $82,478 to pick up legal fees and ancilliary costs for a compliance audit of election expenses by Councillor Adrian Heaps (Scarborough Southwest), $65,680 to pay Mr. Heaps’ costs in a defamation suit (he has not accepted that money), $92,276 to Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (York West) to defend himself against claims, and $18,335 to Councillor Sandra Bussin (Beaches–East York) to sue a citizen for defamation.
So now the city finds itself in court, paying outside lawyers to defend conduct that city lawyers advised against. And to top it all off, Mammoliti’s lawyer says he may very well bill the city for this latest case. Good thing he’s not running for mayor.
Oh, wait—Mammo is running for mayor. We can hardly wait: after amusing videos explaining how to pronounce his name and radio ads explaining why an 11 p.m. curfew isn’t crazy talk, we are dying to see how the candidate explains to taxpayers why they’re paying for nearly $100,000 in legal fees. Our money is on interpretive dance.