Susan Fennell says arbitrator report clears her expense violations

WATCH: Brampton mayor Susan Fennell came out swinging Friday against an audit that originally found her guilty of misspending taxpayers’ money.

TORONTO – Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell announced on Friday an arbitrator’s report has cleared many of her expense violations initially revealed in a municipal audit released earlier this summer.

“Some of my detractors said I owed over $170,000. I said over and over I did not. I respected the rules,” Fennell told reporters outside her home Friday morning.

“All that is owing is a fraction of that. Just over $3,000. As of this morning, I am preparing a cheque. I’m happy to pay it.”

A forensic audit released this August showed Fennell violated spending rules more than 260 times over a span of seven years.

In total, it showed she racked up $172,608 in expenses, which breached the city’s policies. However, $41,027 of that was repaid.

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Fennell initially said she hadn’t broken any rules but later pledged to make the necessary changes to correct her actions.

“The arbitrator finds that the Deloitte forensic audit and Toronto Star and partisan opponents were just plain wrong,” Fennell explained.

Fennell, who is a four term mayor and the highest paid in Canada, has been marred by spending scandals in recent years.

She is currently sitting third in the Brampton mayoral race.

A Mainstreet Technologies poll released earlier this week had Fennell trailing with 11 per cent support behind frontrunner Linda Jeffrey at 34 per cent and candidate John Sanderson at 27 per cent.

Friday’s announcement comes just three days before election day.

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“They made claims that were false and unfair and the arbitrator has agreed with that,” Fennell said.

“All of these things, smears, innuendo and false claims have not only hurt me but the people of Brampton. My name is now cleared once and for all. As I knew it would be.”

“My opponents have to finally admit they were wrong and apologize.”

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