May 2, 2018 (Courtesy of cbc.ca) – Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti and several executives from the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) pushed hard for a deal that would have seen the public overpay by about $2.6 million for a piece of land in the councillor’s ward, says a secret report obtained by CBC Toronto.
The 38-page report by law firm Torys LLP, which CBC Toronto received from a source at city hall, claims Mammoliti “made direct express threats” to city staff, insisting a city agency should pick up the $12-million tab to buy the land at 1111 Arrow Rd. near Finch Avenue and Highway 400.
Mammoliti, who represents Ward 7, York West, wanted to build a massive flag pole on the land as a “gateway” to his ward, the report notes.
TPA board forced to step down
The report to council, which makes no recommendations, is being kept from the public, the authors note, because it concerns private personnel issues at city hall.
It helps untangle the complicated web of details surrounding Mammoliti, lobbyists and executives of the TPA — a city agency — who, the report says, appear to have had little or no justification for overpaying for the land.
The TPA board was forced to step down last summer after the city’s auditor general raised questions about the proposed land deal. The Ontario Provincial Police are investigating at the request of the city.
An interim board then hired Torys LLP to look at the role TPA president Lorne Persiko and the agency’s vice president of real estate, Maria Casista, played in the negotiations.
The law firm’s report was completed in late March. Its findings led to the firing five weeks ago of the two executives, the report’s introduction notes.
Mammoliti was on the board of the TPA when the agency struck the deal to buy the roughly 1.6-hectare parcel of land from KATPA Holdings and developer Frank De Luca.
The TPA had signed an agreement to pay $12.18 million, even though two appraisers advised the agency the land was worth about $7.5 to $8 million.
‘No clear understanding or documentation’
A billboard on the site, which makes about $150 000 a year in revenue, raised the value to about $9.5 million, according to the report. But that was still $2.6 million less than the TPA had agreed to pay.
“There is no clear understanding or documentation that explains how the $12-million purchase price reflected in the TPA’s” offer was reached, the report states.
But it does allege a series of attempts by key players to inflate the value of the land to seemingly help justify the purchase price and efforts by the councillor to make sure the deal went through.
The law firm noted Mammoliti “appeared to be actively pushing” for the TPA to acquire the land. The lawfirm also claims Mammoliti threatened a senior staffer in the city’s Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination Office who was writing a report on the deal.
The report alleges that Mammoliti “made direct and express threats … that if the report did not provide the direction regarding 1111 Arrow Rd., he would actively work against all of the public realm improvements” along the Finch West LRT corridor.
In essence, the report claims Mammoliti would actively try to deny his own constituents improvements to the area if the Arrow Road deal did not go through.
Read the full article at CBC.ca