Toronto Coun. Jim Karygiannis has been removed from office again after a Court of Appeal ruling regarding 2018 election expenses.
Karygiannis was first removed from office in early November after Toronto City Clerk Ulli Watkiss said he could no longer continue in his role based on a supplementary financial statement filed after the 2018 municipal election. Among the issues was thousands of dollars spent on a post-election party at Santorini Grill.
That decision was later overturned in a Superior Court ruling in which the judge said he found “that Mr. Karygiannis acted in good faith with respect to the filing of the financial statements.”
The judge said the penalties under the Municipal Elections Act didn’t apply if the candidate was “acting in good faith.”
Adam Chaleff, who calls himself a “fair elections advocate,” subsequently filed an appeal to that decision saying it “would signal to every local politician in the province that they can overspend with impunity on their election campaigns because they can run to court afterwards to keep their office.”
Wednesday’s Appeal Court ruling, overturning that decision, said while the penalty under the Municipal Elections Act “may be harsh in some cases … forfeiture is clearly what the legislators intended.”
“Granting relief from forfeiture would amount to rewriting or repealing the statute, revoking the very consequence for breach of the statute that the legislature prescribed,” the decision read.
“For these reasons I conclude there is no jurisdiction to grant relief from forfeiture.”
Karygiannis previously said there was a “clerical error” in the financial statements, but the Appeal Court ruling said there hasn’t been evidence the figures were a “mere ‘clerical error.'”
Chaleff commented on the decision in a statement to Global News.
“The Ontario Court of Appeal delivered a very strong decision that stands up for the law that says if you spend more than you’re allowed you can’t hold elected office,” he said.
“Jim Karygiannis made his own bed and now he must lie in it.”
Global News reached out to Karygiannis’ office for comment but didn’t hear back by the time of publication.