Comment from Voices: We have posted previously comments about this story that seems to keep changing from the Mayor’s point of view. In this article the Mayor states, referring to the $7639.10, ‘it wasn’t a loan’. However, ElectionsBC has previously confirmed that this amount was a loan and ‘Mr Mussatto has confirmed his intention to repay this loan’. (http://kerrymorris.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Elections-BC-Whitewash-Mussatto-Campaign-Irregularities.pdf). Councillor Keating’s assertion that ‘the notion of a loan is a figment of Councillor Clark’s imagination’ is certainly contrary to the statement from Elections BC of which we’re sure Coun. Keating is well aware. It would seem that originally the Mayor himself referred to it as a ‘loan‘.
Combine this with the fact that the minutes of the meeting originally incorrectly stated that the meeting was called to order after Councillor Clark spoke. Is “Oh, what a tangled web we weave ….” appropriate in this case?
North Shore News article:
The City of North Vancouver’s Oct. 5 council meeting began with an unexpected detour: Coun. Rod Clark asking for Mayor Darrell Mussatto and Coun. Craig Keating to step down over an alleged conflict of interest.
After the meeting was called to order, Clark raised a “point of privilege,” a seldom-used motion typically used to deal immediately with a non-agenda item. He also distributed a one-page summary of his concerns to council members.
“My point of privilege arises out of a loan for $7,639.10 made by Councillor Keating to Mayor Mussatto in the last election. I believe this creates a conflict of interest in that the mayor and a member of council now have a financial relationship which to date has not been publicly exposed,” read Clark’s statement.
Clark added that in the mayor’s financial disclosure documents filed shortly after the 2014 election under liabilities, “no mention or disclosure of the $7,639.10 loan from Councillor Keating to the mayor is made. This is required under the act. Until this very serious matter is resolved I call on the Mayor and Councillor Keating to immediately step down from city council.”
“Thank you, Councillor Clark and it’s 6:01 (p.m.),” responded Mussatto, before adopting regular council minutes from the previous meeting.
Clark’s point was not discussed further by council.
Mussatto said later he was “unprepared about the point of privilege.” “I just let him do his thing.”
After reviewing council procedure bylaws regarding point of privilege, Mussatto said Clark’s motion doesn’t qualify as such. “He would have to go to court and file a court action against me and say I’m in conflict,” said Mussatto. “I say there is none (conflict of interest).”
Responding to Clark’s allegations, Mussatto said “it wasn’t a loan, it was a cost that we all contributed towards” and noted that he and several other candidates, including Keating, shared certain advertising and campaign costs.
“So one person pays the bill and the other ones give monies towards the person that paid it, based on the percentage. That’s indeed what happened. I paid Craig back and it’s all good.”
“He’s (Clark) saying I did not record that on that form, therefore I’m in a conflict because I didn’t declare it. … I don’t owe Craig money, I paid him back for that.”
Mussatto’s financial disclosure statement for the 2014 election has been amended twice.
In his first amended expense form in April, Mussatto listed an additional $7,639.10 donation from Keating. In the second amendment, the $7,639.10 donation from Keating is crossed off and replaced by two donations totalling the same amount under his own name.
“It’s very hard to follow Elections BC’s process, by their own admission they say that it is very difficult. That’s why they helped us through it all, that’s why we did the amendments,” explained Mussatto.
“… but I’ve been signed off by Elections BC and I’m 100 per cent compliant, they’ve said it has been approved and I’m not in a conflict of interest,” Mussatto said.
“I have settled up all my account debits and credits for the shared expenses with other candidates as per the direction from Elections BC,” the mayor added by email.
Don Main, communications manager with Elections BC, in an email, confirmed that
“the compliance review is complete, unless we are made aware of new information that could require further amendments to the statements.”
Keating said he was “disappointed” by Clark’s allegations “in the sense that Councillor Clark had every opportunity to go to the Elections BC website and take a look at the filings, which I did as he was speaking, and it’s very clear that this notion of a loan is a figment of his imagination.”