Free To Be Mammoliti

So maybe we all should stop the tsk, tsk, tsking of disapproval toward Ward 7 York West residents and grant them a well-earned cynicism in regard to a certain long serving city councillor of theirs, one Giorgio Mammoliti.tsktsktsk

Pleading guilty to 4 charges of campaign overspending and ‘filing false paperwork’ during the 2010 election, the councillor was subject to a fine of $17, 500 which includes paying back the $10-12,000 he ‘inadvertently’ overspent. But don’t feel too badly for Mr. Mammoliti. He’s still got the $80,000 he pocketed from an illegal fundraiser last year minus 3 months salary the Integrity Commissioner dinged him for as a result of that illegal fundraiser minus the legal fees he’s racked up taking the city to court to fight that ruling plus $20,000 the city council just yesterday agreed to contribute to those legal fees.

“We all have different strengths,” Denis Lee, Justice of the Peace said during his ruling. “Unfortunately for Mr. Mammoliti, things went off the rail. He’s here today to take his lumps.”

“The court is of the opinion that you did act in good faith at all times — and there may have been an error in judgment in appointing who you did as your financial assistant. shrugAnd while the responsibility still is yours, the court is of the opinion that, taking everything into consideration, what has been presented to the court today is a very fair position on all these matters.”

Keep in mind here that Councillor Mammoliti has been an elected official for the better part of 25 years now, starting as a one-term M.P.P. from 1990-95 and then a city councillor since 1995. 2010 was his 6th municipal campaign (once in North York, the rest in amalgamated Toronto). The only difference 4 years ago was Mammoliti started out running for mayor before hightailing it back to his ward race when the run for the top job became an obvious lost cause.

The Justice of the Peace could have tossed the councillor from office but chose instead a financial shrug. So it’s difficult to view the ruling as Mammoliti taking any sort of lumps. offtherailsMore to the point, the idea that the councillor possesses the ability to act in good faith, never mind ‘at all times’, simply strains any attempts to attach a meaningful definition to that term.

I’m no legal scholar but I imagine the councillor’s most recent legal woes including being under police investigation had no bearing on today’s judgment. Priors may figure into a court ruling. Can currents?

It’s just hard for me to get my head around the fact that a veteran politician like Giorgio Mammoliti could be treated with such kid gloves. “Things went off the rail.” Mistakes were made. Mix ups happen. What are you going to do?

So why shouldn’t residents in Ward 7 be cynical? If the institutions meant to keep our politicians honest fail to do so, if they simply shrug and grant offenders political mulligans, how can we possibly chastise voters for figuring what’s it matter, it’s not going to make a difference who’s in office, they’re all the same? shirtlessmammolitiSince there are obviously no repercussions to bad behaviour, why should the public believe any politician will play by the rules?

Exposed to regular lapses of ethical conduct over the past 4 years from the likes of Councillor Mammoliti, the previous mayor, his ex-councillor brother, the new chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee, and with apparently no recourse to hand out appropriate punishment, we leave it up to voters to chase the offenders from office. But if they have no faith in the system to keep the players playing fairly, why wouldn’t they conclude the next one’s going to be as bad? They’re all crooks and liars, right? All politicians are only in it for themselves and their deep-pocketed friends.

With the whole thing so broad strokingly tarnished, when it comes around to casting a ballot, many voters simply won’t bother. It only encourages the bastards. If they can summon up a sense of civic duty, why not just go with the devil you know? We know how bad he is. The other guy could be worse.trainwreck

Until we decide to act forcefully and justly with politicians who abuse the system and the public’s trust in it, we should hardly blame one tiny segment of voters for not making an example of one particularly egregious offender. The whole thing’s broken. There’s no reason for Ward 7 residents to think otherwise. There’s no reason for the likes of Giorgio Mammoliti not to realize it too and continue to push the limits because there doesn’t seem to be any serious downside not to.

fellow in cynicismly submitted by Cityslikr

2 Responses to Free To Be Mammoliti

  1. Simon Says says:

    I gotta be free…I gotta be me…I gotta me Mammoliti…

  2. RogerB says:

    Essentially the judge decided to believe Mammoliti’s many stories about how he accidentally cheated during the races. This despite a pattern of cheating and his many years of experience. Candidates are usually well aware of the lack of of penalties for getting cheating, and those with less principles, follow the campaign team’s suggestions (or their own) to cheat.
    I was aware that the campaign audit team process never resulted in meaningful penalties, but after witnessing a successful local candidate cheat in numerous ways during a prior race, I decided to do my duty by submitting evidence to the 3 member audit committee. hint: the 3 were not chosen by Councillors for their due diligence.
    At the hearing there was only one question for the Councillor’s lawyer. Why they paid the campaign manager out of their (unlimited) fundraising account. The lawyer provided the same implausible answer that the manager (by profession) had been hired as a fundraiser, but had decided to later volunteer to be the campaign’s manager. This excuse had already been written in the Councillor’s submission, but apparently it had been forgotten or not read. The member said “oh, ok”.
    The female audit member, who had recently worked at a development law firm that donated to said candidate before setting up her own company, was annoyed that I didn’t have a lawyer. She asked for my submission which was 12 pages including photos and documents. It was apparently too much to read, as she, looked annoyed when flipping through all of the pages, and put it aside on the floor to be thrown out.
    One member asked the others what they thought, the 2 shook their heads in turn, and that was it. 2 out of 3 vote wins. The female member beamed, announcing that everyone was now free to go to lunch early.
    This is the Ontario system. Councillors select their judges, who routinely accept their bosses unlikely excuses as gospel. Why waste your time compiling evidence that will not be read, unless you hire a lawyer, or a major newspaper embarrasses them into going through the motions?
    As for the ‘volunteer campaign manager’, who was paid for fundraising only. After the election he was hired as a 2nd exec assistant, (exec allowed higher pay), before leaving without notice a few months later. He was never around the office, City Hall or even quoted. A 2nd executive assistant is a pretty rare position, particularly for the ward which is 44rth in terms of population. When the campaign manager officially left, the extra position also disappeared.

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