Patrick Brown, disqualified from the federal Conservative leadership race due to allegations of wrongdoing, is facing another set of troubles in Brampton, Ont., where he serves as mayor.
On Tuesday night, the Conservatives’ leadership election organizing committee announced it had voted to disqualify Mr. Brown based on allegations related to an apparent breach of the financing rules in the Canada Elections Act. It has so far declined to provide more details.
Mr. Brown has denied that his team did anything wrong.
A group of five Brampton city councillors released a statement Wednesday reacting to the federal news, claiming Mr. Brown has what they describe as a “clear and alarming pattern of behaviour.”
While the Conservatives were investigating the allegations, the councillors were also initiating forensic investigations into allegations of financial and contract irregularities, they said.
“He didn’t get away with these tactics in his Conservative leadership bid and he shouldn’t get away with them in Brampton either,” the councillors wrote.
“Democracy in Brampton is under siege because of Patrick Brown.”
A majority of councillors voted recently for a series of forensic investigations, including into how contracts were given to firms involved in a push to bring a full university to Brampton.
A report by the city’s interim chief administrative officer in May found that $629,000 went to four vendors involved with the project, but staff were unable to find the final product for five of the “deliverables” identified in the expenses.
The five councillors note that most of the money went to one firm, which employed a close associate of Mr. Brown.
Mr. Brown responded to the statement by noting they are a block of councillors critical of him. He also noted an ongoing controversy at city hall that has seen the two groups pitted against each other.
“When I was away on the leadership campaign, they fired the Integrity Commissioner and so now we’re trying to get an investigation into the firing and the Integrity Commissioner, and why it was improper,” Mr. Brown said in an interview.
“So this is a dispute that [has] very much been simmering at City Hall.”
Deputy Mayor and Councillor Martin Medeiros, one of the five councillors pushing for the Brampton investigations, said Mr. Brown has hampered progress on city issues by cancelling a council meeting Wednesday – the fourth in a row.
“Right now it just seems clear that the city of Brampton was instrumentalized to just move forward his political aspirations,” Mr. Medeiros said in an interview.
“We generally believed that he was going to rehabilitate his image from whatever happened at the province. I can only speak for myself, but I gave him an honest shot.”
Mr. Brown resigned as Progressive Conservative leader in early 2018 amid sexual misconduct allegations that he denies. He then attempted to run for regional chair in Peel, but on the same day that Premier Doug Ford announced he was eliminating the position, Mr. Brown announced he would instead run for mayor of Brampton.
On Wednesday, the councillors also pointed to a report from Rebel Media alleging that city staff have been working out of Mr. Brown’s campaign office. Mr. Brown denies those allegations, but Mr. Medeiros said that Mr. Brown was even conducting interviews about the status of his federal bid from his city hall office on Wednesday.
Mr. Brown has previously said he would consider running for mayor of Brampton again in this October’s municipal elections if it seemed like he couldn’t win the federal Conservative leadership race. The deadline for registering as a candidate is Aug. 19.
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