What will inquiry cost, Green asks Ward

Mayor Rick Green issued a challenge to Councillor Grant Ward: Tell taxpayers just how much the inquiry will cost them.

When the Oct. 24 Township council meeting drew to a close, anger erupted from the gallery.

The target was Councillor Grant Ward, whose notice of motion calling for a committee of inquiry into Mayor Rick Green’s conduct was the last item on the evening’s agenda.

But Green didn’t escape the wrath of some residents, as people also shouted at him.

On Tuesday, (Nov. 1), Green issued a challenge to Ward: Tell taxpayers just how much the inquiry will cost them.

Green said that he has asked Ward for three specific budget outlines: The cost of legal counsel representing the committee of inquiry, the cost of legal counsel for all witnesses summoned to appear before the committee, and an overall budget total for the inquiry.

Green noted that Ward’s proposed motion calls for legal counsel to be retained “without limitation.”

“Township council already has spent approximately $164,000 and growing for lawyers to write the Lidstone Report and advise individual councilors,” said Green. “And now Councillor Ward, ‘without limitation,’ appears to want to funnel even more taxpayers’ money to lawyers and law firms.”

Responding, Ward said that there would be no cost to taxpayers for a committee of inquiry if Green “simply stands up today and tells us who wrote the anonymous letter.”

The original cost would have been minimal if Green “had simply stood up and told the truth.”

Ward said that council had even agreed to cover his legal costs.

“Instead, we embarked upon a gambit of misdirection and misdeed that have cast shame on Langley Township.”

He called the $164,000 already spent “a sad and tragic amount,” and said that full responsibility “rests solely and entirely upon Mayor Green.”

Ward added that if Green “had simply admitted to his conduct and behaviour perhaps we could have moved on.”

He added: “If he simply stands up today and tells us who wrote the anonymous letter, given that it was either himself, or his campaign supporter and compatriot, unless you believe the story that someone broke into his office so that they could take the letter and provide it to his rural mailbox for his review, the matter would be at an end.”

A  report by lawyer Don Lidstone focused on Green’s conduct in resurrecting an issue surrounding a private company owned by the spouses of Township Administrator Mark Bakken, MLA Rich Coleman, and two realtors.

He claimed he had received anonymous information which might point to a possible conflict of interest. The Lidstone Report concluded that Green misled council, staff and three lawyers. The matter was also investigated by police, and handed over to special prosecutor David Crossin, who concluded “there was no substantial likelihood of conviction.”

Ward’s motion is on the agenda for council’s Monday, Nov. 7 meeting.