Regarding Challenges to Windsor Election have Cost taxpayers almost 300,000 by Craig Pearson in the Windsor Star on April 28, which contains the allegation that I am somehow responsible for the city spending 300,000 on legal fees to defend against what mayor Dilkens declares to be “… frivolous lawsuits.”
Since my name was printed without any warning or request for comment by the reporter, I feel that it’s only fair for me to give my side of the story.
I was part of a small group of defeated election candidates that exercised our legal and democratic right to launch an application for judicial review of certain aspects, including a manual recount, of this past 2014 municipal election. Instead of responding openly and transparently, the city hired a Toronto law firm to defend against the application.
This resulted in the City filing of a motion to dismiss the application for judicial review with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. A major part of this motion was a detailed outline of the legal costs the City would seek if successful.
To our shock and horror, the legal bill rung up by the city with its Toronto law firm amounted to over $35,000. Even more horrifying was the fact that these funds would be the, “… costs the party [City] would seek [from us], if successful.”
Faced with a potential bill for thousands of dollars, our group decided to abandon our challenge. In his ruling, the judge stated, “I am satisfied that the applicants brought the proceeding motivated by the common good and in the public interest as they see it.”
The judge decided not to make us pay the legal fees. Ultimately, the City was left to pay the legal fees that it had chosen to incur.
It is quite disheartening to me that, when faced with not a lawsuit but just an application for review from its citizens, the City chose to lawyer-up with an expensive Toronto law firm and then silence those very citizens, by threatening them with its costs.