Toronto city councillor removed from seat after campaign expense review

Nov 7 2019, 7:39 am

Toronto city councillor Jim Karygiannis was given notice that he was no longer a representing Ward 22 on Wednesday.

According to the City of Toronto, Toronto City Clerk, Ulli Watkiss, gave him the notice based on the supplementary financial statement that he filed for the 2018 election, as required under the Municipal Elections Act.

Under the Act, every candidate is required to file a financial statement for the 2018 election, and it allows candidates to spend a maximum amount of money during an election.

In 2018, for his Ward, that total amounted to $61,207.95, with a maximum of 10% — or $6,120.80 — to be spent for “parties and other expressions of appreciation” after voting day.

According to the city, Karygiannis filed expenses under “parties and other expressions of appreciation” showing that he spent $32,083.50, which exceeds the expense limit by $25,962.70.

In a statement, Karygiannis said there has been a clerical error.

“Upon close examination of the Supplementary Financial Statement, it was ascertained that there had been a clerical error in the completing of the paperwork,” he said. “I am in contact with my solicitor and auditor in order to correct the error.”

He added that he looks forward to continuing his work for the city as councillor for Ward 22.

Toronto Mayor John Tory called the news of Karygiannis’ removal shocking.

“This is sudden and shocking news and an unfortunate situation for everyone involved, including the councillor, his office staff, the city clerk, and the residents he was elected to serve,” said Tory.

“Councillor Karygiannis worked hard over the last five years at city hall to serve the residents of Scarborough-Agincourt. I will be working to make sure those residents continue to be well-served by the city.”

The city clerk will report to Toronto city council at its next meeting on November 26, outlining the next steps with respect to declaring the seat vacant.

And until then, staff in the Ward 22 office will continue to support constituents, and will report to the city clerk until the office is filled by appointment or by-election.