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Wyness wants integrity investigation into Calgary councillor referred to province and police

Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra (left) and Ward 2 Coun. Jennifer Wyness (right) . Global News

A Calgary city councillor wants an integrity commissioner investigation into Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra forwarded to the provincial government and the Calgary Police Service.

Ward 2 Coun. Jennifer Wyness attempted to get the referral added as an urgent item of business during Wednesday’s council meeting.

Instead, Wyness opted to wait until the July 20 Executive Committee meeting to ask for the referral.

Carra was sanctioned on Tuesday by the city’s integrity commissioner Ellen-Anne O’Donnell over two separate incidents. The first involved a social media post.

The incident Wyness wants to be investigated further is the integrity commissioner’s ruling that Carra failed to disclose his interest in an Inglewood property for six years while serving on city council.

“This is the one job where the decisions we make impact real estate values, and growth and beautification of neighbourhoods,” Wyness told reporters. “That’s why I think we should always do that extra step of due diligence.”

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According to the integrity commissioner’s findings, Carra and his wife made a $300,000 down payment on the home back in 2015, but “there was no written agreement or document of any kind” setting out the terms of the transaction. He later paid another $36,000 to the property, the report said.

The investigation found Carra had publicly disclosed his interest in an Inglewood property to city council and recused himself from voting on a notice of motion related to lifting a restriction in the community, but he did not add the property to his council member disclosure statement, which is a requirement in the Municipal Government Act.

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Carra updated his financial disclosure form to include the Inglewood property following the 2021 municipal election.

“I could accept the initial failure to disclose the interest in 2015 as a genuine error in judgment, as the Carras’ made a payment to a limited company that owned the land, and I accept that Councillor Carra believed at the time this did not amount to an interest in real estate,” O’Donnell said in her report.

“However, I cannot find on a balance of probabilities, that the ongoing failure to disclose was
trivial or inadvertent after March 7, 2016, as Councillor Carra knew and stated he had a financial interest in the property on that date.”

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O’Donnell ruled Carra had “multiple opportunities” to disclose the property between 2016 and 2021, and the violation was of “moderate severity.”

“Getting on-boarded as a rookie councillor, it was stressed to us to disclose our financial interests, and to make sure we ask the question,” Wyness said.

“Here we have a veteran councillor that was elected twice and failed to disclose… I don’t see how he could overlook that.”

Carra was removed from his position as chair of the Infrastructure and Planning Committee, and cannot serve as chair of any boards, committees and commissions he is a part of, but he is still able to participate in them.

However, that sanction is related to a social media post.

The Ward 9 councillor must also write a letter of apology to Calgarians for failing to comply with the disclosure policy and attend training with the ethics advisor within 30 days.

Carra told Global News he plans to respond through his written apologies and previously said he accepts the decisions of the integrity commissioner.

Wyness said that council did not get time to “digest” the integrity commissioner’s report, and felt it needed more attention after reading it following last night’s meeting.

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Mayor Jyoti Gondek didn’t speak to the specifics of the situation but said Wyness raised a “good point” regarding the report.

“We got the integrity commissioner’s report yesterday after a long day of council; we got home after 10:30 p.m. and we started up again with meetings (Wednesday) morning,” Gondek said. “All of us need a bit more time to digest what’s in it.”

–with files from Global News’ Paula Tran

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