Coun. Orlikow Gets Reprieve; Ethics Probe On Hold

Only brought taxpayers the comments of Andrew Marquess, after ⁠⁠a Manitoba court awarded him $5 million⁠⁠ following⁠⁠ his battle to get Parker Lands housing approved.
After our review of the Court findings- ⁠There’s 101 Reasons Why Winnipeg Council Must Review Orlikow’s Role In $5M Court Ruling⁠ – a formal complaint was filed by former Mayoral candidate Don Woodstock alleging that Coun. John Orlikow breached the City Code of Conduct.

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The ruling cited that City of Winnipeg planners engaged in “misfeasance in public office” against Gem Equities, and according to King’s Bench Justice Shauna McCarthy:

“The evidence is also clear, in my view, that the impetus and motivation for this deliberate interference with the plaintiffs’ applications were primarily the wishes and demands of the area councillor, and the desire of some public servants to accommodate those wishes.”

The complaint was referred to an Edmonton lawyer, Jamie Pytel, because Integrity Commissioner Sherri Walsh declared she had a conflict of interest involving Orlikow.

According to her bio, Pytel “conducts investigations for municipalities that do not have an Integrity Commissioner and gives advice on issues involving Codes of Conduct for elected officials.”

Woodstock says that on Nov. 20, Pytel told him she “would be in touch if you needed further information or have further information for me.”

Last week, Woodstock asked her where the investigation was at. And the answer was, nowhere.

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7:05 Part 2- Woodstock emailed Pytel on January 10 and asked, “Have you read the ruling in the Gem Equities/Andrew Marquess case?”

He also asked, “Now that Councillor John Orlikow is back on the job, is he now free to continue his ways that has led the City of Winnipeg to lose a lawsuit that stated the City owes Gem Equities $5M of taxpayers’ dollars…?”

While the second question could be seen as provocative, the first was entirely legitimate.

Instead of answering Woodstock, Pytel replied:

“Perhaps we can schedule a virtual meeting or phone call to discuss the status of this matter.”

Something else Pytel said caught Marty Gold’s attention. She claimed “this is a confidential process.” He describes his own experiences with government complaint processes – and how what she told Woodstock simply isn’t accurate.

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20:04 – You’ll hear how the next morning, Woodstock refused to consider arranging a phone call with Pytel.

With taxpayers footing her bill – and presumably Orlikow’s – he insisted “this requires everything to have open communication, honesty, integrity and with full disclosure as to the status, outcome and remedies.”

That afternoon, Pytel informed Woodstock that,

“I am suspending this matter until all proceedings regarding the legal action are exhausted to ensure that all parties may participate fully in a Code of Conduct investigation.”

As Marty explains, that might seem like a decision made in response to being pressed for an update on her activities.

And, it’s a pretty handy excuse to stall the complaint, considering that the Court of Appeal can’t do anything to erase the emails, documents, depositions, testimony and other evidence about Orlikow’s conduct. He is not a party to the proceedings as he was not a defendant, and the Judge did not mention the Code of Conduct.

So, we wonder, did Pytel even read the ruling? She made a point of not answering Woodstock’s question. And if the appeal was an issue, ⁠why didn’t she think of it on August 31st when the City filed it?⁠

More background:

Marquess explained the attempt by City Hall to manipulate the Parker Lands valuations, and a pending expropriation ⁠⁠⁠may put the City on the hook for another $90 million⁠⁠⁠.
⁠⁠More with Andrew Marquess, Newsmaker of the Year⁠⁠


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