The judge finds the city guilty of wrongful dismissal

Posted July 23, 2014

This is the third and final article of a three part series relating the circumstances that led to the Urbacon trial and the damages that taxpayers will face in the coming years. GB

Part Three

Superior Court Justice, Donald MacKenzie, precided over a five-week trial in February and March of 2013. The trial was held in Brampton.

March 31, 2014, Justice MacKenzie declared the city had wrongfully dismissed Urbacon and also dismissed the city’s $5 million counter claim.

In June, the judge released his 64-page judgment detailing his reasons for finding in favour of Urbacon.

Then, on June 20, the city brought an action to have the damages portion of the lawsuit delayed until after the civic election.

When city lawyer, Derek Schmuck, was asked by the presiding judge in this action why the city agreed to separate the lawsuit into a liabilities portion and damages portion, he replied: “Because we thought we would win.”

This action was dismissed and the damages portion of the original Urbacon finding will follow Judge MacKenzie’s directive. He ruled that the damages trial must be held four months following the liabilities trial judgment. That means a three-week trial in October is mandatory.

This was nothing but a taxpayer-financed manouver to defer the damages portion of the Urbacon lawsuit until after the election. The vulnerability now facing the Farbridge administration, and more particularly among its elected supporters, who supported the firing of Urbacon, is now palable.

Why would any thinking elector support these people who deliberately caused this multi-million dollar disaster?

So how much is this going to cost the taxpayers of Guelph? Assuming Urbacon is awarded costs of $19.2 million, the outstanding issues are the tangible expenses of conducting three trials and associated costs.

An educated estimate could see a total of $70 million spent to build a $42 million city hall and renovate the old city hall for a provincial court. If true, this is the most money ever wasted by a city admiistration, ever.

It is the result of power driven egos, misleading the public, absence of understanding basic contract law, serious miscalculation of the ongoing developments, and sheer arrogance that the Mayor and her cohorts believed they were right and the contractor was wrong.

Does anyone need a clearer picture of where the majority of this council stands? At taxpayer expense, they have just attempted to divert attention away from the key component of this lawsuit by asking the courts to delay the damages portion of the trial. They were only trying to save their own skins come October 27.

They lost again. More importantly, the people lost.

This creates an opportunity for the people of Guelph to register their disapproval of the Farbridge administration that has caused this to occur.

We only get the opportunity to correct incompetence every four years.

On October 27, the people must elect competent people to city council. Whoever wins the Mayor’s chair, it only comes with one vote. Real change must come from the city councillors who replace those responsible for this horrendous mismanagement of our municipal affairs.

It is time for citizens to stand up and together, work to clean up this mess.

If you don’t participate and vote you don’t count.



Filed under Between the Lines

4 responses to “The judge finds the city guilty of wrongful dismissal

  1. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Since the mayor with her so called apology is trying to spread the blame for the Urbacon debacle over 4 councils, which would include her 1st term as mayor, she should have the backbone to “own up” and resign now. Her and her 7 like minded tax and spend councilors who tried to hide this under the rug by pushing it out until after the election should be thoroughly trounced in the October civic election. Let them reap what they sowed.

  2. Keith McEwen


    Your $70 million doesn’t include lawyer’s fees. I’d like to see THAT bill.


  3. Boomer

    expensive fiasco brought on by terrible ‘handling’ by our mayor and a number of members of council. Time to elect new people–we can only make change by voting them to the curb.

  4. Paul

    Just make sure the voter gets the right seven and throws them out of office! The list includes – Todd Dennis, Karl Wettstein, Lise Burcher, Leanne Piper and Cathy Downer, Mike Salisbury, June Hoffland and Maggie Laidlaw as well as the mayor – Karen Farbridge.
    The following incumbents are good to support should they seek another term on Council – Bob Bell Jim Furfaro, Andy Van Hellamond, and Cam Guthrie.
    There are a bunch of new candidates on the list so make sure you check them out as to what issues are they dealing with.

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