A Belleville councillor says a lawyer in a law firm, which represents the city, is connected to a company involved in the conflict of interest lawsuit against Belleville’s mayor.
Councillor Kelly McCaw told council Monday she has concerns because documents show that Harold Van Winssen, a partner in the law firm of Templeman and Menninga is an administrator for the company which owns property the city may buy for a traffic circle on Maitland Drive.
Councillor McCaw says she expects she will have to wait for an answer from the law firm.
The property in question is related to a conflict of interest legal action against Mayor Taso Christopher.
Gary Davidson of Belleville alleges Christopher stands to gain financially since he is part of a company that owns land the city needs to acquire for the roundabout.
Davidson says the mayor voted on the issue at the capital budget debate last fall.
Also at council, Councillor Mitch Panciuk raised four questions concerning conflict of interest for members of council, including “what is the role of council?”
Mayor Christopher said the city has “a big manual councillors can use and they can also ask questions of the city clerk.”
In an interview with Quinte News after the meeting, Councillor Jack Miller said, “council plays no role in conflict of interest. Each councillor is responsible for conflict of interest. ”
Davidson says a numbered company (1576275 Ontario Inc), which Christopher is a director, officer or shareholder of, owns 427 Farnham Road.
As part of the required land needed for the Maitland Drive project, the application says the city would need to buy the land. It says because the city needs the property, it could increase the value of the land.
In the Notice of Application, Davidson is calling for the removal of Christopher from his position as mayor, prohibit him from running for seven years, and make him repay personal monetary gain (plus interest) from the purchase. Davidson’s requests are the maximums called for under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Davidson, a Belleville resident is also requesting the mayor cover court costs.
A hearing is scheduled for June 30.