A Freedom of Information (FOI) request I filed recently shows a disturbing abuse of your tax dollars. Money was wasted that could have been spent on doing something good, something positive, something useful for Collingwood. Download the report here.
In the two-year period between mid-2014 and mid-2016, the town’s administration spent $340,000 of your tax dollars on its efforts to destroy the relationship with our utility partner, Collus-PowerStream. And given the billing trends shown in the document, that amount now tops $350,000 and probably much higher.
What’s equally troubling is that this effort appears to have started under the radar in July, 2014. To the best of my knowledge, this was not an initiative of the last council, but appears to be the work of staff. Why? Who authorized it?
In 2014, $13,355.48 was spent, all of it on Aird & Berlis (then the town’s legal firm). In 2015, that total escalated wildly to $250,006.65 for a variety of lawyers and consultants (see below). In just five months of 2016 up to May 31, $75,929.13 had already been spent (or more: not all invoices may have been submitted by the time I filed my FOI). Expenses for June and later were not provided to me, but you can bet they will come in: the town has kept its lawyers busy pursuing its destructive goal (see below).
In totals, here’s who was paid in that period:
- Aird & Berlis: $58,123.50 ($13,355.48 in 2014).
- True North Consulting: $34,350.00 (all in 2015)
- Miller Thomson LLP (the town’s current legal firm): $87,538.45 ($77,228.95 in 2015)
- BMA Management Consultants: $24,521.00 (all in 2015)
- Henley International: $33,730.50 ($26,781 in 2015)
- Stevenson Whelton MacDonald & Swan: $3,000.00 (in 2015)
- And the biggie, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP: $98,027.81. As far as I know, this paid entirely for the services of one lawyer: Mark Rodger. That’s almost $100,000 for one man in less than 10 months.
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