Friday, September 28, 2012

"One word for you Mr. Mayor ..... R-e-s-i-g-n!"

Good Day Readers:

Listened to a fascinating interview with Brian Kelcy (cited below) who's now an Instructor of Civic Ethics at the University of Winnipeg. He called for Sam Katz's resignation one of the reasons being this latest revelation will consume his time and energy taking away from what he should be doing as Mayor.

Terry MacLeod, co-host of CBC Winnipeg's morning show, interviewed Mr. Kelcy. Checked earlier this morning but it was not yet posted on the network's Audio Archives (http://www.cbc.ca/inforadio/).

Time to focus exclusively on your business interests Mr. Katz.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Critics weigh in on mayor's Arizona house purchase
Sam Katz should consider stepping down, says ex-adviser
Friday, September 28, 2012
Windgate Ranch, the house at bottom with the wavy-shaped pool, was purchased by by Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz in August. No documents disclosing the price paid are in the public record, but Katz said he paid more than $1 million US.(Google Maps).

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz's purchase of a home from the sister of a Shindico executive has people talking, including a former adviser who suggests Katz should leave office.

CBC News reported on Thursday that Katz paid more than $1 million US to buy a house in Scottsdale, Arizona, last month from Teri Nordstrom, the sister of Shindico chief financial officer Diane Shindleman and sister-in-law of president Sandy Shindleman.
Katz refused to give further details about the Arizona house purchase, other than to say he paid fair market value for it. (CBC)

The transaction is raising eyebrows because Shindico has been involved in some controversial real estate deals with the City of Winnipeg in recent months, including a land swap involving several fire hall properties.

"My advice would be pick a date and start figuring out how to go with as much dignity as you possibly can," said Brian Kelcey, who once worked as a policy adviser to Katz.
Katz has repeatedly stated that his relationship with the Shindlemans does not constitute a conflict of interest.
On at least eight occasions, Katz was present when Shindico business was on the city hall agenda, and he has never recused himself in public meetings due to a conflict of interest involving the Shindlemans.

Real estate audit applauded

Council voted unanimously on Thursday in favour of a broad audit of the city's past real estate deals, in light of the fire hall land swap controversy.

The audit will review the city's real-estate transactions and policies going back at least five years, although Katz wanted the audit to cover the past 12 years.

Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said council's unanimous vote on Thursday for an audit of the city's real estate transactions is a good step.

However, Craig said Katz should provide more information about his own real estate deals in Arizona.

"This is different from most other transactions," he said.

"You don't expect to know every single thing about a politician's life. But just given some of the other elements to this story, I think the public does deserve more information."

Katz refused to give more details about the Arizona house purchase, other than to say he paid fair market value for it.

Tighten conflict rules, says councillor

Meanwhile, at least one city councillor is calling on the Manitoba government to tighten its conflict-of-interest legislation for city council members.

The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act does not require members of council to disclose properties they own outside Winnipeg.

River Heights Coun. John Orlikow said he asked the province earlier this year to amend the act to require disclosure of properties within Manitoba.

But now, Orlikow said he will ask the province to make council members disclose properties they own anywhere in the world.

"It could be in Arizona, it could be in [the] Bahamas, it could be the Cayman Islands, it doesn't matter. It's not just for the mayor, but for all councillors," he said.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Katz had purchased an Arizona-based company, Duddy Enterprises, from Phil Sheegl, who is the City of Winnipeg's chief administrative officer.

That transaction does not appear on the mayor's statement of assets and interests, which has to be filed under the conflict-of-interest act.

While Katz owns 100 per cent of Duddy Enterprises, he said he did not need to declare it because "if there's potential land to be owned outside the province, you do not list it."

Katz said the company is currently not an active business, but he might use it in the future.

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