CALGARY – Months after being served with a multi-million dollar lawsuit by a prominent Calgary developer, Mayor Naheed Nenshi has filed a statement of defence – and Global News has obtained a copy of the document.
In November, Shane Homes founder Cal Wenzel launched a lawsuit against Nenshi for $5 million in general damages along with $1 million in punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages. Wenzel is claiming damage to his reputation stemming from comments made by the mayor following the release of a secretly taped video.
In April, Global News obtained an edited recording of a meeting hosted by Wenzel in November of 2012. In the video, Wenzel presents a plan to defeat select members of city council who are perceived to be anti-development.
After the story broke, Nenshi called for an investigation into developer campaign contributions. No investigation has since been launched by any agency.
The suit, which is unproven in court, claims Nenshi distorted comments made by Wenzel in the video for political gain.
Wenzel also takes issue with Nenshi calling him the Godfather in a radio interview during the fall election campaign.
Nenshi filed his is statement of defence in a Calgary court on Tuesday.
In it, he says the lawsuit should be thrown out and his legal costs covered.
Nenshi also defends himself, saying he did not defame Wenzel or cause him any personal damages as a result of statements made by him in public or to the media.
In the statement, Nenshi denies that Wenzel has suffered any damages as alleged or at all, and denies that the circumstances merit any award of aggravated, punitive, or exemplary damages.
“Mayor Nenshi further states that his comments…. were not made spontaneously, but were in direct response to questions and comments by the media on matters affecting both the 2013 Election and Mayor Nenshi’s policies as mayor of the City of Calgary.”
“In particular reference to the comparison drawn by Mayor Nenshi between Wenzel and the ‘godfather’ in a radio Interview, Mayor Nenshi relies on the defence of fair comment based on the true and fair nature of the comparison through popular innuendo.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
A representative for Shane Homes, the company which Wenzel founded, said they have no comment on Mayor Nenshi’s defence because the issue is before the courts.