John Close is using the treasury as his personal war-chest (Craig Gammie Commentary 3-24)

Item 7.4 on the August 6 council agenda reads:

7.4 4:30 pm Eric Davis, Miller Thomson-Resolution R-793-2012 (this delegation will be heard in Closed Session)

Item 4.4 reads:

4.4 Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board AND Advice that is subject to solicitor client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose (Resolution R-793-2012)

On November 20, 2012 I was banned from town hall by resolution 793. I immediately applied to the courts to have the resolution quashed.

In court on May 23 I agreed to withdraw the application-to-quash conditional upon a court order: that council holds a special meeting to hear my submissions on the ban; that council decides whether to revoke the ban; that council provides reasons for their decisions; that the ban is suspended until the preceding conditions are met.

The special meeting was held July 24th.

In the special meeting I demonstrated that the ban made no sense and I recommended that council revoke the ban.

I also demonstrated to council that John Close had recognized that the grounds for the ban were so weak that quashing of the by-law by the courts was inevitable. I also submitted evidence that in desperation to save resolution 793 and keep me away from town hall John Close made up a pile of lies about me and submitted them to the court as council’s position, but without council approval and without council knowledge.

John Close’s false allegations, which but for one were submitted to the court as council’s (false) allegations, included:

 that I illegally offered professional engineering services

 that I twice willfully and secretly attempted to record closed session;

 that I flaunting a council warning,

 that I harassed female staff,

 that I threatened female staff,

 that I intimidated female staff,

 that I assaulted Mark Wunderlich,

 that I assaulted Mike McMillan,

 that I disrupted meetings with signs,

 that I defamed staff by uttering false and harmful allegations on the blog ,

 and that I generally all kinds of bad, bad things.

At the July 24th meeting I suggested that for John Close to have submitted his pack of lies to the court as if it were council’s position was both misconduct and a breach of trust.

I also submitted to council that John Close’s shenanigans and his pack of lies and his desperate attempt to shut out anyone whom he considers an opponent has cost the taxpayers dearly.

I also made clear to council that any further attempts to present John Close’s pack of lies as council’s position will cost the taxpayer’s much, much more, and that councillors have a duty to put an end to John Close’s misconduct and breaches of trust.

So what was John Close’s reaction?

John Close has brought in Eric Davis, Miller Thompson Lawyer from Waterloo, to the closed session of August 6, to talk about resolution 793, the resolution that banned me from council, the resolution that was suspended by court order, and the application that was withdrawn, and that is no longer before the courts, and that is no longer a legal matter.

Bringing in lawyer Davis is another unjustifiable $6000 hit to the pockets of the taxpayers. Just to fight John Close’s personal battles.

John Close is confiscating the hard-earned money that belongs to the residents of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula and is using it to fight his private war against his perceived opponents.

The resolution 793 issue is not the first time that John Close has raided the treasury to fight his perceived opponents.

What about the 2012 $700,000 defamation lawsuit against John Shnurr, Rick Lyttle, Orma Lyttle and me? All this time we (me included) incorrectly characterized that lawsuit as Rhonda Cook’s personal vendetta. But while it had Rhonda’s name on it, it turns out that it was not Rhonda Cook’s initiative at all. Contrary to appearances, it was really John Close’s vendetta against his perceived opponents. And it was all paid for by taxpayers. And taxpayers are still paying. Unnecessarily. First of all the lawsuit never should have been made. It was groundless and frivolous and vexatious from the start. And it never would have been made if council had not committed to paying Rhonda’s legal fees and also any settlement against her. And second the counterclaim against Rhonda Cook and the related claim against the town for champerty and maintenance could have, in my view, been settled long ago at very low cost to the taxpayers.

Regarding the champerty and maintenance lawsuit, there were settlement offers made, but the offers never even got to council. Council was not even made aware of the offers. It appears to me that John Close and his confederates, and not council, made the decision not to even consider the offers.

But when you think about it, the reason council never heard about the settlement offers is crystal clear.

John Close is using the treasury for his personal war against his opponents, in that case John Schnurr. So John’s war is costing John Close nothing. Why would he tell council about a settlement offer? If council knew of a settlement offer council might actually decide to settle, and that would end the matter. And that would be to John Close’s personal disadvantage. (And to the disadvantage of John’s lawyer buddies”.) So council were not told. And council did not know. And the battle continues, and the legal bills keep piling up. And the burden on the taxpayers has gone through the roof. All so John Close can try to silence one of his perceived opponents.

More recently John Close inappropriately used the people’s money to hire a lawyer to give me notice to stay off John Close’s Red Bay property. It is fair and legal for John Close to give me such notice. And I will heed the notice. But it is wrong and unacceptable for John Close to pay the lawyers with taxpayers’ money. If John Close wants me to stay off his property that’s a personal matter, and John Close should and must pay the lawyer himself.

And then when I protested to council about John Close using taxpayers’ money to pay a lawyer for dealing with a clearly private matter, John paid that same lawyer, once again using treasury funds, to threaten me with some sort of lawsuit if I ever tried again to protest to council about John Close using taxpayers’ money to pay that same lawyer for dealing with that clearly private matter.

I did not, of course, stop corresponding with council, or with John Close. And every time I protested to council, the lawyer just kept repeating the threat. The lawyer’s threats turned out to be nothing but stupid, arrogant, pompous, bombastic puffery. But the real issue is that the puffery and this little part of John Close’s personal war against his perceived opponents has without justification cost the taxpayers a big pile of money. At least $10,000. And counting. And because I cannot be threatened into not corresponding with council, there will likely be even more costs.

There is more. Legal costs were about $120,000 over budget in 2012. In my estimate, much of the extra was to fight John Close’s personal battles against his perceived opponents.

The legal budget in 2013 is four hundred thousand dollars higher than the 2012 legal budget. Again, in my estimate, much of the budget increase is to fight John Close’s personal battles against his perceived opponents.

It has to stop. It is not fair to the taxpayer’s. And it is not right. Where is the rest of council? Where are the elected representatives? Where are the people whose duty it is to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen?

What are they doing about this pillaging of the treasury?

Craig

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