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Adam Giambrone is a former Toronto city councillor now running for the Ontario NDP in a Scarborough by-election. (FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Adam Giambrone is a former Toronto city councillor now running for the Ontario NDP in a Scarborough by-election. (FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Giambrone stays as Scarborough NDP candidate after challenger backs off Add to ...

Adam Giambrone will remain the New Democrat candidate in a Scarborough by-election after the woman he defeated for the nomination decided not to pursue a challenge.

Amarjeet Kaur Chhabra had threatened legal action this week after alleging voting irregularities at the meeting that handed Mr. Giambrone the nomination. But on Thursday, Ms. Chhabra said that, given the tight time frame before the election, she would drop her attempts to have a new nomination meeting held.

The bizarre saga began earlier this month. Mr. Giambrone, a former west-end city councillor, was a member of the committees vetting candidates for the Aug. 1 by-election in Scarborough-Guildwood. In that capacity, he encouraged Ms. Chhabra, a union organizer with Unite Here, to seek the nomination.

Then, Mr. Giambrone decided he wanted to run himself. Just two days before the nomination meeting, Ms. Chhabra said, he resigned from the search committees and telephoned her to tell her he would be running against her.

According to Ms. Chhabra, Mr. Giambrone was nominated by a narrow margin, taking 18 votes to her 14.

Ms. Chhabra alleged that 12 of the 32 people who showed up at the nomination meeting did not appear on party membership lists she had received the previous day. A letter from her lawyer says that some of these people did not produce identification or NDP membership cards, but were allowed to vote anyway.

On Wednesday, Ms. Chhabra threatened a legal challenge to have the results of the nomination meeting thrown out and a new one held before the by-election unless the NDP could produce documentation showing the 12 people were qualified to vote. In order to be allowed to take part in a nomination meeting, party members must live in the riding and have been members for at least 30 days.

But after a meeting between her lawyer and NDP legal staff Thursday, Ms. Chhabra decided not to proceed.

“I continue to have concerns about the process followed at that nomination meeting. However, in light of the circumstances, including the limited time before the by-election, I will not be pursuing legal action at this time,” she said. “I remain disappointed in the party.”

In a scrum at a Scarborough train station Thursday, Mr. Giambrone repeatedly refused to address any of Ms. Chhabra’s accusations.

Asked why he decided to run against Ms. Chhabra after recruiting her, Mr. Giambrone replied: “I’m running here in Scarborough-Guildwood. I can’t speak all to the process, but I’m focused here in the by-election. I’m the candidate here for the NDP.”

In telephone interviews, party spokesman Michael Rosenstock confirmed that NDP lawyers had met with Ms. Chhabra’s solicitor Thursday. He said they offered Ms. Chabbra the “information she had asked for,” but that she did not look at it.

Asked whether all the people who voted at the nomination meeting were residents of Scarborough-Guildwood and had been NDP members at least 30 days, Mr. Rosenstock replied: “We’re focused on working to elect Adam Giambrone.”

In a later e-mail, he added: “Everyone who voted at the nomination meeting met the requirements of the vote.”

The Scarborough-Guildwood vote is one of five by-elections triggered by resignations from Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal caucus. The other candidates are Progressive Conservative Ken Kirupa, Liberal Mitzie Hunter and Nick Leeson of the Green Party.

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