OPP investigating whether Toronto councillor broke election rules
Coun. Justin Di Ciano is shown in this photo. (City of Toronto)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, March 9, 2018 10:36AM EST
Ontario Provincial Police say that they have launched a formal investigation into a Toronto city councillor regarding “potential violations of the Municipal Elections Act.”
Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne tells CP24 that the OPP began an investigation into Ward 5 Etobicoke Lakeshore Coun. Justin Di Ciano after a review by the Anti-Rackets Branch determined that there was “sufficient evidence” to warrant a formal probe.
Dionne says that the investigation stems from information that was forwarded to Toronto police by the city’s integrity commissioner.
“On September 22, 2017, TPS Chief of Police Mark Saunders referred a matter to Commissioner Vince Hawkes of the Ontario Provincial Police for investigation. The complaint stemmed from an investigation being conducted by the Integrity Commissioner for Toronto,” Dionne said in a written statement provided to CP24. “The Integrity Commissioner subsequently referred a request to police regarding a concern one or more offences may have been committed by Councillor Justin Di Ciano.”
News of the investigation comes after CBC broadcast a recording last month that appeared to capture Di Ciano’s twin brother and campaign manager offering to repay a prospective campaign donor $300 in cash if they agreed to give the maximum allowable donation of $750.
Because the city provided a $450 rebate to donors who gave the maximum to a council candidate during the 2014 election, the donor would have effectively been donating to Di Ciano’s campaign without incurring any costs, which would be a violation of election rules.
At the time the CBC did report that the recording was in the hands of Ontario Provincial Police, though it is not known whether the investigation now underway is connected in any way to that tape.
Speaking with reporters at an unrelated press conference on Thursday afternoon, Mayor John Tory said that Di Ciano is entitled to due process.
“I have zero tolerance for any wrongdoing but the fact is that an allegation doesn’t mean somebody has done something wrong,” he said. “The bottom line is that I think we are well advised to follow due process and that somebody does investigate and somebody does report. That will be done here and the consequences that flow from that will be whatever they are.”