Posted July 17, 2014
Unknown to citizens, the City of Guelph asked the courts to delay the trial of damages resulting from the Urbacon Buildings Group $19.2 million lawsuit until after the October election.
The liability portion of the lawsuit determined that the city wrongfully dismissed the new city hall contractor.
When the trial was held last year before Justice Donald Mackenzie, both parties agreed to split the proceedings into two parts: The liability portion and the damages portion.
In his judgment, Justice MacKenzie found the city responsible for the termination of the contract with Urbacon and set a date in October for a three-week trial to determine damages.
This is where the story involves pure and simple politics.
The city instructed its lawyer to request a delay of the damages trial until after the October 27 civic election.
In a proceeding that concluded June 20, the presiding judge dismissed the action on the grounds that it would unduly delay the key part of the lawsuit and increase costs. Without going into the extensive points of law and arguments presented at this action, the city lost its attempt to muzzle the cost of this project until after the civic election.
Of course, the costs of this action will increase the final determination the damages of this multi-million dollar misadventure that was caused by the city administration
The people who caused this have yet to be held responsible.
This attempt to divert the key part of Justice MacKenzie’s judgment is at the expense of the taxpayers of Guelph, who had no knowledge of this attempt to save those responsible who are seeking re-election.
These include Mayor Karen Farbridge, Councillors Ian Findlay, Maggie Laidlaw, June Hoffland, Leanne Piper, Lise Burcher, Todd Dennis, and Karl Wettstein.
All of them have been nominated to run in the October 2014 civic election.
In view of their total failure to exercise their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers, why do they deserve to be re-elected? Their culpability is now proven in a court of law. They presided over a wrongful dismissal of a major contractor who has won a $19.2 million lawsuit.
Why would any clear-thinking citizen ever forgive those who inflicted the damages yet to come for this monumental error in judgment and responsibility?
They can’t blame former CAO Hans Loewig for acting alone and without their authority.
They can’t blame the Kate Quarrie council for the wording of the original contract.
Justice Donald MacKenzie has already made it clear none of those excuses are acceptable.
They can only blame themselves for not properly discussing and reviewing this decision before it was made. That’s what they get paid for and that’s what the people who voted for them expected.
The feckless apology of Mayor Farbridge is an affront to every citizen of this city.
When she says she is apologizing on “ behalf of the City of Guelph”, who does she think is the City of Guelph? It’s the people and she refuses to accept the responsibility that was entrusted upon her by the people.
That is an incredible indictment of dodging her responsibility as Mayor.
But she did not act alone. The councillors mentioned above are just as guilty and none deserve re-election.
This current attempt to move the damages trial beyond the October 27 election is beyond contempt.
The judge agreed it was not going to happen and referred to Judge Donald MacKenzie’s ruling that the damages trial must occur in October.
Does anyone not understand that this latest legal move by the city is nothing but a subterfuge to help those responsible to be re-elected?
Remember those names. They blew millions of dollars because they thought they were acting on behalf of the taxpayers.
The sad thing is they are still saying this, hoping we will forget their carelessness and disregard for their actions.
Which brings us to Coun.Todd Dennis in ward six. He was not on council when this dumb decision was made. That didn’t deter him, he voted for the resolution accepting the Mayor’s mealy-mouthed apology.
His fidelity as an elected councillor has to be questioned by those electors in Ward Six.