Di Ianni welcomes full campaign audit

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton mayor Larry Di Ianni applauded council's decision to continue the compliance audit on his 2003 campaign finances.

"It was a good decision," said Di Ianni, who did not participate in council's decision last week. "From the beginning I've stated I wanted to get to the bottom of it."

Ken Froese, director of LECG Canada, who conducted what he described as the first phase of the audit, said it could take three to six weeks to complete the final portion of the document. It will cost an extra $13,000 to complete. The original cost of the audit was $25,000.

Froese presented his initial compliance audit to council in late October. In the document, he recommended council extend the audit allowing him to examine the contributions of 16 businesses, which, he said, are in apparent contravention of the Municipal Elections Act.

But during a special council meeting last week, Froese admitted under intense questioning from some councillors, that he did submit an "incomplete" audit.

"Looking back, I'd do it differently," he said. "We thought we had completed it." He pointed out there was always the intention of writing a second phase to the audit.

"I didn't think it would be an issue for the second part," said Froese. "Normally we do the final phase."

Froese said the reason he wants to investigate the 16 contributors is to make sure nothing happened between the candidate and the donors.

"It's appropriate to give some sense that the candidate acted appropriately," he said.

Froese said his audit has already cleared the mayor of any infractions. He doesn't believe further investigation of the mayor's finances will reveal anything.

"There's that chance," he said, "but it's unlikely."

Councillors had delayed voting on the initial audit to seek a legal opinion on whether or not extending the audit violated the Municipal Elections Act.

City Solicitor Peter Barkwell said as long as the auditor is seeking to answer questions, council's obligation is to support the audit, and it is within the confines of the Municipal Act.

"There has been a cloud hanging over our heads," said Stoney Creek councillor Phil Bruckler. "We should proceed and clear it."

Hamilton councillor Brian McHattie, who voted against supporting the initial audit request made by Dundas businesswoman Joanna Chapman in July 2004, strongly supported extending the audit process.

"We need to continue the audit," he said.

Chapman, who had said she would go to court again if council voted against extending the audit, was pleased with politicians' decision.

"(Mr. Froese) has been ordered to complete the audit and that's all I wanted," said Chapman. "I think he comes from a well-known auditing firm. I've checked his credentials, and he appears to be a very competent auditor."

The compliance audit, ordered by Justice Timothy Culver in August, revealed that Di Ianni had five "apparent contraventions" of the Municipal Elections Act, and one apparent reporting contravention.

The audit found that 24 corporations exceeded the $750 limit, for a total excess contribution of nearly $11,000, while two individuals exceeded the $750 limit for a total of $500.

"Nothing has been found," said Di Ianni, adding he has been "vindicated" by the audit's results.

Froese noted that Di Ianni refunded the money to the respective contributors. In total, Di Ianni has returned over $23,000 to donors.

Di Ianni said he hired an accountant to deal with the issues arising out of who contributed to his campaign in early 2004 after questions were raised about the contributions.

"I wanted to fix them," he said. "But I was then dragged through a forensic audit. Hopefully, (the last portion of the compliance audit) will be the end. I have erred on the side of giving back money. People don't even realize I contributed $60,000 of my own money into the campaign."

He hopes that once the audit is completed by the end of the year, the issue will finally be completed.

"Over time, nothing has been found," he said.

Still, Chapman has filed private charges against 18 companies that contributed to Di Ianni's campaign. A pre-trial hearing has been set for Dec. 21.

Di Ianni welcomes full campaign audit

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton mayor Larry Di Ianni applauded council's decision to continue the compliance audit on his 2003 campaign finances.

"It was a good decision," said Di Ianni, who did not participate in council's decision last week. "From the beginning I've stated I wanted to get to the bottom of it."

Ken Froese, director of LECG Canada, who conducted what he described as the first phase of the audit, said it could take three to six weeks to complete the final portion of the document. It will cost an extra $13,000 to complete. The original cost of the audit was $25,000.

Froese presented his initial compliance audit to council in late October. In the document, he recommended council extend the audit allowing him to examine the contributions of 16 businesses, which, he said, are in apparent contravention of the Municipal Elections Act.

But during a special council meeting last week, Froese admitted under intense questioning from some councillors, that he did submit an "incomplete" audit.

"Looking back, I'd do it differently," he said. "We thought we had completed it." He pointed out there was always the intention of writing a second phase to the audit.

"I didn't think it would be an issue for the second part," said Froese. "Normally we do the final phase."

Froese said the reason he wants to investigate the 16 contributors is to make sure nothing happened between the candidate and the donors.

"It's appropriate to give some sense that the candidate acted appropriately," he said.

Froese said his audit has already cleared the mayor of any infractions. He doesn't believe further investigation of the mayor's finances will reveal anything.

"There's that chance," he said, "but it's unlikely."

Councillors had delayed voting on the initial audit to seek a legal opinion on whether or not extending the audit violated the Municipal Elections Act.

City Solicitor Peter Barkwell said as long as the auditor is seeking to answer questions, council's obligation is to support the audit, and it is within the confines of the Municipal Act.

"There has been a cloud hanging over our heads," said Stoney Creek councillor Phil Bruckler. "We should proceed and clear it."

Hamilton councillor Brian McHattie, who voted against supporting the initial audit request made by Dundas businesswoman Joanna Chapman in July 2004, strongly supported extending the audit process.

"We need to continue the audit," he said.

Chapman, who had said she would go to court again if council voted against extending the audit, was pleased with politicians' decision.

"(Mr. Froese) has been ordered to complete the audit and that's all I wanted," said Chapman. "I think he comes from a well-known auditing firm. I've checked his credentials, and he appears to be a very competent auditor."

The compliance audit, ordered by Justice Timothy Culver in August, revealed that Di Ianni had five "apparent contraventions" of the Municipal Elections Act, and one apparent reporting contravention.

The audit found that 24 corporations exceeded the $750 limit, for a total excess contribution of nearly $11,000, while two individuals exceeded the $750 limit for a total of $500.

"Nothing has been found," said Di Ianni, adding he has been "vindicated" by the audit's results.

Froese noted that Di Ianni refunded the money to the respective contributors. In total, Di Ianni has returned over $23,000 to donors.

Di Ianni said he hired an accountant to deal with the issues arising out of who contributed to his campaign in early 2004 after questions were raised about the contributions.

"I wanted to fix them," he said. "But I was then dragged through a forensic audit. Hopefully, (the last portion of the compliance audit) will be the end. I have erred on the side of giving back money. People don't even realize I contributed $60,000 of my own money into the campaign."

He hopes that once the audit is completed by the end of the year, the issue will finally be completed.

"Over time, nothing has been found," he said.

Still, Chapman has filed private charges against 18 companies that contributed to Di Ianni's campaign. A pre-trial hearing has been set for Dec. 21.

Di Ianni welcomes full campaign audit

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton mayor Larry Di Ianni applauded council's decision to continue the compliance audit on his 2003 campaign finances.

"It was a good decision," said Di Ianni, who did not participate in council's decision last week. "From the beginning I've stated I wanted to get to the bottom of it."

Ken Froese, director of LECG Canada, who conducted what he described as the first phase of the audit, said it could take three to six weeks to complete the final portion of the document. It will cost an extra $13,000 to complete. The original cost of the audit was $25,000.

Froese presented his initial compliance audit to council in late October. In the document, he recommended council extend the audit allowing him to examine the contributions of 16 businesses, which, he said, are in apparent contravention of the Municipal Elections Act.

But during a special council meeting last week, Froese admitted under intense questioning from some councillors, that he did submit an "incomplete" audit.

"Looking back, I'd do it differently," he said. "We thought we had completed it." He pointed out there was always the intention of writing a second phase to the audit.

"I didn't think it would be an issue for the second part," said Froese. "Normally we do the final phase."

Froese said the reason he wants to investigate the 16 contributors is to make sure nothing happened between the candidate and the donors.

"It's appropriate to give some sense that the candidate acted appropriately," he said.

Froese said his audit has already cleared the mayor of any infractions. He doesn't believe further investigation of the mayor's finances will reveal anything.

"There's that chance," he said, "but it's unlikely."

Councillors had delayed voting on the initial audit to seek a legal opinion on whether or not extending the audit violated the Municipal Elections Act.

City Solicitor Peter Barkwell said as long as the auditor is seeking to answer questions, council's obligation is to support the audit, and it is within the confines of the Municipal Act.

"There has been a cloud hanging over our heads," said Stoney Creek councillor Phil Bruckler. "We should proceed and clear it."

Hamilton councillor Brian McHattie, who voted against supporting the initial audit request made by Dundas businesswoman Joanna Chapman in July 2004, strongly supported extending the audit process.

"We need to continue the audit," he said.

Chapman, who had said she would go to court again if council voted against extending the audit, was pleased with politicians' decision.

"(Mr. Froese) has been ordered to complete the audit and that's all I wanted," said Chapman. "I think he comes from a well-known auditing firm. I've checked his credentials, and he appears to be a very competent auditor."

The compliance audit, ordered by Justice Timothy Culver in August, revealed that Di Ianni had five "apparent contraventions" of the Municipal Elections Act, and one apparent reporting contravention.

The audit found that 24 corporations exceeded the $750 limit, for a total excess contribution of nearly $11,000, while two individuals exceeded the $750 limit for a total of $500.

"Nothing has been found," said Di Ianni, adding he has been "vindicated" by the audit's results.

Froese noted that Di Ianni refunded the money to the respective contributors. In total, Di Ianni has returned over $23,000 to donors.

Di Ianni said he hired an accountant to deal with the issues arising out of who contributed to his campaign in early 2004 after questions were raised about the contributions.

"I wanted to fix them," he said. "But I was then dragged through a forensic audit. Hopefully, (the last portion of the compliance audit) will be the end. I have erred on the side of giving back money. People don't even realize I contributed $60,000 of my own money into the campaign."

He hopes that once the audit is completed by the end of the year, the issue will finally be completed.

"Over time, nothing has been found," he said.

Still, Chapman has filed private charges against 18 companies that contributed to Di Ianni's campaign. A pre-trial hearing has been set for Dec. 21.