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Denley: Ottawa's integrity watchdog should probe $300,000 developer grant saga

Quoted article from Randall Denley, Ottawa Citizen

Coun. Shawn Menard thought he had a deal for $300K in community contributions from Katasa Group. But there are varying stories about what happened.

Capital ward Coun. Shawn Menard. Randall Denley says one can make a distinction between campaign contributions and a pot of money for the councillor to spend on ward projects, but both are politically beneficial. PHOTO BY JULIE OLIVER /Postmedia

It’s too soon to say what the high point of Coun. Shawn Menard’s political career will be, but one can safely rule out his failed attempt to stickhandle a $300,000 developer donation intended to pay for projects in his ward.

Menard couldn’t have done it without the help of the majority on city council, who found the opportunity to embarrass themselves irresistible. Alarm bells should have gone off when Menard asked council to bless a “voluntary contribution” from the Gatineau developer Katasa Group.

Even without knowing that the founder of the company has had serious legal issues in the past (his three daughters now run Katasa), councillors should simply have said no to accepting such a large sum without a formal policy regarding such contributions and how they should be spent.

To their credit, 11 city councillors said the offer should be deferred until such a policy is created. Barrhaven Coun. David Hill grasped the key point when he said there was no urgency to accepting the cash without a policy in place.

Read full article here.


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