City’s Actions Do Not Reflect Honesty

Weeks-HeaderBy Howard Weeks

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.

10 Comments on "City’s Actions Do Not Reflect Honesty"

  1. John Middleton | 10 May 2016 at 14:56 |

    Great response Howard, the Windsor Star Article by Craig Pearson on the $300,000.00 Election expense was despicable and NOT accurate, but this is par for the course when The Windsor Star and Mayor Drew Dilkens want to attack Windsor Residents.

    I have filed many FOI’s recently and should be able to shine a spot light on a few issues very soon.

    In the mean time, it looks like I will be filing an Application in Superior Court in the next week or two, just waiting for a little bit of information.

  2. welcome to Windsor politics. Where’s our version of Donald Trump to enlighten those with their head firmly placed up their —.?

  3. The truth of the matter is there is no transparency or accountability at city hall, our ineffective mayor Dilkens preached that there would be in the last election but it has not come to pass. Our elected city councillors all made that same promise in their bid for city council but that too did not come about from anyone of them. We all know there are to many closed door meetings at city hall and that started when fast Eddie became mayor and it hasn’t changed yet. The Ontario Liberal government was approached to audit the city books but they do not care and nothing happened as usual. I guess Windsor should look hard at each candidate at the next election and at least try to elect people that will speak on behalf of the taxpayers, now won’t that be a change.

    • Caroline T | 9 May 2016 at 16:27 |

      Totally agreed. I’m going to sit down and interview each of mine in ward 2

  4. John Skinner | 8 May 2016 at 20:01 |

    If the mere whiff of challenge is enough to cause a $35,000.00 knee jerk reaction, one would have to wonder exactly what is..if any, going on.

    Politics and running for an seat/office was not suppose to ever be this difficult, or, secretive.

  5. Marny beale | 8 May 2016 at 19:26 |

    Too bad you did not reach out for citizen support. There is a growing wave of discontent with the bullying attitude of the mayor and council that will translate into $ support to expose it.

  6. I, for one, applaud the challenge you and a small group of rate payers chose to make including the demand of a recount. I am dismayed at the idea of the city “bullying” you off this challenge by the threat of gargantuan legal fees. This city lately has the reputation of hiding behind its lawyers instead of offering a transparent view. It’s the same mindset that refuses to acknowledge that we truly need an auditor more than we need a team of sports marketers. Only those who feel that they have something they don’t want to expose will hide behind expensive lawyers rather than support transparency.

    • i agree too… and applaud all.. and are very proud .

    • John S Holmes | 9 May 2016 at 13:03 |

      Definitely time for a seismic change on the governance in the City of Windsor, enough already.

  7. Walter | 8 May 2016 at 17:45 |

    From what I witnessed in the latest proceedings, the City’s Toronto’s lawyers can’t keep up with the current opposition.

Comments are closed.