Former Toronto city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti is seeking more than $25,000 from the city to cover legal fees linked to an investigation into a scuttled deal for a patch of land where he wanted to build a massive flag pole.
In a letter sent to the city clerk's office at the end of June, the onetime Ward 7 councillor's lawyers said they are requesting "full reimbursement for all legal fees" — on top of the $20,000 that has already been paid out by the city as dictated by its policies for situations like this.
The letter says the usual $20,000 payout is "reasonable" for "efficient" investigations.
But in this case, lawyer Gavin Tighe wrote, that amount is "wholly inadequate" for an investigation that lasted almost two years and "was conducted, in our client's view, unfairly and with bias and animus against him."
Tighe also wrote that Mammoliti believes the investigation "interfered with and contributed to his electoral defeat in the 2018 municipal election."
A massive flag pole
The investigation in question probed a proposed land deal that, had it gone through, may have seen the city's parking authority pay some $2.6 million more than it should have for a piece of land near Finch Avenue West and Highway 400.
Mammoliti, who represented York West at the time, wanted to build a massive flag pole on the land as a "gateway" to his ward, according to a secret report obtained by CBC Toronto.
The 38-page report by law firm Torys LLP, which CBC Toronto received from a source at city hall, claimed Mammoliti "made direct express threats" to city staff, insisting the city agency should pick up the $12-million tab to buy the land at 1111 Arrow Rd.
In a previous interview, Mammoliti dismissed the report's allegations, calling it "nothing more than the usual smear talk before an election."
Integrity commissioner Valerie Jepson issued a report last month with her findings on the conduct of both Mammoliti and the parking authority's board.
Jepson wrote there was "insufficient evidence" to conclude that any member of the parking authority or the Emery Village Business Improvement Area contravened the city's code of conduct.
"There are no more reasonable or logical steps that I could take to pursue the lines of inquiry discussed in this report that would be a prudent use of resources, warranted by the circumstances, or fair to those involved," she wrote.
"However, there are some things about this case that should give city council good reason to consider whether reform is necessary."
Council to debate issue next week
Among them, Jepson wrote, was for the city manager to provide recommendations to council about best practices to improve and clarify the role of councillors on city boards.
Mammoliti was on the board of the parking authority when the agency struck the deal to buy the roughly 1.6-hectare parcel of land from KATPA Holdings and developer Frank De Luca.
The TPA had signed an agreement to pay $12.18 million, even though two appraisers advised the agency the land was worth about $7.5 to $8 million.
Mammoliti's legal fees in connection with the investigation ended up being $45,269.24, his lawyers said in their letter. City council policy states councillors will be reimbursed $20,000 for legal fees, which leaves just over $25,000 outstanding.
A report from the city clerk outlines three options for council in this situation: that the city pay the $25,000, that it pay that amount and agree to cover future legal fees, or that it not pay any more legal costs at all.
The matter will go before city council next week.