Toronto Councillor tagged in “improper” transactions with developers

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A Toronto city councillor was found to have violated regulations in his “improper” transactions with two separate developers, after a 17-month investigation by integrity commissioner Valerie Jepson.
 
Councillor Mark Grimes was reprimanded for not following the rules when dealing with developers, although Jepson’s inquiry found no evidence that the councillor profited financially from the transactions, the Toronto Star reported.
 
One of the cases involved Davies Smith Developments. Grimes allegedly made revisions to the agreement, leading to cash benefits (for a ward community) $100,000 lower than originally agreed upon. The amount was initially meant for the development of a local park, but procedural lapses resulted in the proposed improvements not pushing through.
 
The other case involved Grimes appearing in a promotional video for developer Empire Communities two years ago. Grimes, who was cited for improper use of the powers of his position, justified this as a bid “to promote Ward 6 and bring awareness to a part of the city that is often overlooked.”
 
“[Jepson’s findings] did not properly take into account that carrying out a member’s official duties could sometimes align with the commercial interests of a third party,” according to Grimes’s defense.
 
Jepson countered that the video was a “clear endorsement” of Empire Communities.
 
“Although he stood to gain no financial advantage from any of these interactions … the councillor’s actions were improper uses of his authority,” Jepson stated.
 
In her report, Jepson said that no further sanctions upon Grimes are recommended, although the council could go ahead and do so. The report also noted that Grimes has offered his apologies and committed to improve his methods in future negotiations.

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