Thursday, July 21, 2011

Candidate 'Double-Dipping' Campaign Funds

The ugly question has been lingering in the air in relation to campaign funds and what I have referred to as 'double-dipping'. At a 'fun-do' or a fondue one would be most unpopular to try and get away with such a horrendous act. Somehow what we hear in the realm of campaign contributions it's really not so bad. Heck as a candidate I didn't have that problem, it is public record, and I wasn't going to bring it to the pages of MAYORGATE. Yet the clean up job by Marlene Bergsma of The Standard has forced me to raise questions that should of been publicly, but never will in The Standard or by Marlene Bergsma.

Now it's been made abundantly clear what the Municipal Elections Act allows. Confusion though reigns supreme. As candidates we all had to submit our financial statements by end of March 2011 for the Election of 2010. That's a fact. So when Matthew Van Dongen (grasshopper of The Standard no longer there) posted a story titled “This is our way of participating in the democratic process” and finished with the line “some councillor expenses were posted to the city website after this story was written,” then one can assume without an ass' tale that this was written sometime in early April. Pretty good assumption I think? The interview with Mr. Dan Raseta is all about pride of one's company and all that. Van Dongen begins with “Dan Raseta knows how to pick a winner.” And mid way Matthew Van Dongen quotes Mr. Raseta but first Van Dongen writes:Raseta sees no issue with donating through various companies.” Now Mr. Raseta is quoted by Van Dongen It's not unfair, because those are the rules” he said “We're very passionate about our community, so this is our way of participating in the democratic process, I would encourage anyone who feels the same way about their community to do the same.”

Mr. Raseta said “...because those are the rules.” Did Mr. Raseta know the rules? Fast forward to the present and near present. Mr. Raseta sends out letters wanting refunds. Oops maybe those were not the rules after all! Now Matthew (grasshopper/cub reporter) Van Dongen obviously did not bother to verify his story fully, or maybe he did and found himself confused as some of the newbies did. Marlene Bergsma does verify I know, or at least I hope. So one last observation of the literary masterpiece by Matthew Van Dongen of The Standard. Matthew mentions a number of names of councillors who had 'double-dipping' stains. Umm..... a little coincidental to have Ms. Lancaster grab onto these names? Hot grasshopper reporter Van Dongen of The Standard does in fact mention in the fourth paragraph Mayor Brian McMullan and says, “For example, his companies gave $1500 to Mayor Brian McMullan...” How is it that Ms. Lancaster missed this? Ms. Lancaster claimed only to search out the records of “closely contested seats.” Our venerable sensei of local politics Mr. Tim Rigby should be insulted with that claim. Yet I think the names of all the targets of Ms. Lancaster and her stand for ethics and the Municipal Elections Act are in the Van Dongen story - ALL BUT ONE. That is a fact. And true maybe Ms. Lancaster will say she never saw the story by Matthew Van Dongen. I still applaud her for dragging this mangy flea bitten cat out of the bag publicly.

So now I have a serious question lingering after all that I have said. Mayor McMullan was mentioned publicly in a Standard story in early April? The noise broke out only recently and somehow he was left out. To this day those with the 'double-dipping' stains have refunded the monies. Mr. Raseta now knows that it is unfair and that those are not the rules. Yet Mayor Brian McMullan still doesn't really know if he did get or did not get....? Wow now that's a beauty I dare say. Mayor McMullan needs to still consult with 'his people'. Now I want to help Mayor Brian McMullan out a little. After all we are the same age, early 50 years young. Mayor Brian McMullan seems to forget that he signed the Financial Statement – Auditor's Report Form 4, that's the official title on the page 1 of 8. On page 3 of 8 is the signature of candidate. Now Mr. McMullan, Mayor Brian McMullan is that your signature? You're not like a movie star or rock star and have oodles of assistants who sign autographs for you? This is indeed your signature? Oh that's right it had to be witnessed by the City Clerk or a Commissioner. Phew now that's established. Fact again Mayor Brian McMullan did sign his Financial Statement – Auditor's Report Form 4 on 2011/03/23.

Thank God that's out of the way. Now this raises another question of Mayor Brian McMullan. Mayor McMullan do you read what you sign? Mayor Brian McMullan do you look over what you sign? I pray you do or we in St. Catharines are in real trouble, as mayor you might be signing our financial lives away without reading what you sign. So I think it's a pretty good assumption again to say you did sign Form 4 and you read it first, that is before signing.

Now let's pop over to Page 1 of 1 of the Brian McMullan Election Customer Contact List March 9, 2011. There is only the one page. Now let's stroll down the right side. First you will see a Mr. Len Pennachetti listed twice. (Mr. Pennachetti has been the center of the Andrew Gill vs. Preston Haskell lawsuit in Small Claims Court). Let's continue, oops there is Angelo Nitsopolous and he makes a double appearance. Before that Mr. Dan Raseta appears under the 'contact' as did Mr. Pennachetti and Mr. Nitsopolous. Mr. Raseta corresponds to corporate name Port Dalhousie Management Corporation with address P.O. Box 29059, 125 Carlton Street. Further down the list York Bancroft Corporation with the same address 125 Carlton Street, P.O. Box 29059. A coincidence? But this time no contact name? Let's stroll up to the middle, shall we. Right there now stop. You will see Tom Rankin yes? Pull your vision a little to the right what do you see? “Donated $1500-$750 refunded.” Now, now this is on the Financial Statement – Auditor's Report Form 4 signed by you Mayor Brian McMullan in front of a witness dated 2011/03/23!!!! Do you think there are questions to answer here Mayor McMullan?

A quick synopsis is required. Matthew Van Dongen wrote about the 'double-dipping' (my term not Matthew's) in early April 2011. He mentions many names of candidates including Mayor Brian McMullan. Storm breaks and it's June, July 2011. Ms. Lancaster makes public a list of bad boys/gals (can't be sexist here). Sensei Tim Rigby says “It's only $750 it's not enough to sell your soul for.” Oops not a 'politically correct' comment I think Mr. Sensei. How much is a politician's soul worth then? Simply asking, don't get all nervous here any of you, you know thinking out loud so to speak. Marlene Bergsma does more than one piece on this mess. Strange though Mayor McMullan continues to require consultation with his people. Mayor Brian McMullan signed his Financial Statement – Auditor's Report Form 4 on March 23 2011. It now appears that since this public hoopla had hit he never looked at that signed and witnessed document. Mayor McMullan still needs to consult. To make it easier for you Mayor McMullan here it is and the page with your signature on it!!! Any more doubts Mayor McMullan? Looking at these FACTS one asks why has Mayor Brian McMullan not simply of stated the truth from the beginning. Mr. Rigby did and so had others. Mayor McMullan only continued to say he needed to consult. WHY? Mr. Raseta's lawyer has sent letters advising that money should be refunded. I guess his earlier comments to Matthew Van Dongen and urging others to do the same are a little flat now.

There are real and serious reasons why these rules are in place. Some have made excuses, others apologies, all sent refunds quick. I don't know what is the going price for the soul of a politician. Maybe there is a 'ladder of value'; you know municipal, provincial and federal. I can't say. Yet I ask what is the value of truth? What is the value of dignity? Hell you're caught finally you'll have to admit anyhow. Why the smoke screens and mirrors. Heck even Bill and Richard down south finally cried in the confessional of public spectre. Still Mayor Brian McMullan would only need to consult. It's all in black and white Mayor McMullan! What is it that you need to consult about? And to you Marlene Bergsma how is it you never raised the question of Mayor McMullan? How is it that you did not make public the facts? You did mention once on-line the fact that Pennachetti appeared twice on Mayor McMullan's records and never again. How is a mayor allowed to act in such a fashion? But I raised that question once before, and will again Marlene Bergsma. Remember your words from October 8th 2010? (all on


P.S.; Niagara this Week our so called other newspaper has stayed silent on the whole issue of the 'double-dipping' of political campaign contributions. Is it simply not 'news' anymore to NTW or what? Hey Mike and Mike and Doug and anyone there in NTW what's up? Today I got your Vol. 7 Issue 35, dated July 20, 2011delivered to my door with the front page breaking news “City names Arts Centre Director.” Hey guys we heard all that last week. Come on now is it breaking front page news material? Yet illegal acts by those who ask for the trust of the people doesn't get a mention? Mayor McMullan didn't just 'double-dip' he put the whole bowl in front of him and no one questions that. You claim to bring the news to the community, I heard Mike Williscraft brag about that. Maybe you should concentrate on news or editorials on fishing trips and the Transformers movie.

Look at Mayor Brian McMullan's list of contributors. The total of the corporate campaign contributions was $21,000.00. Of that total 4 individual contributors, Mr. Raseta, Mr. Pennachetti, Mr. Nitsopolous and Mr. Rankin contributed $6,000.00. That's over a quarter of the total. Now it is clear half of that was illegal! Venerable Regional Councillor and ex-mayor Tim Rigby says that $750 isn't enough to buy the soul of a politician. How much is enough Councillor Rigby? Chair of the Niagara Region Audit Committee Mrs. M. Pinder calls herself a business woman who wants to save the tax payers money. Mrs. Pinder how much is the law worth? Do we now expect nothing at all from those who ask for our trust? Mayor Brian McMullan needed to consult I can only wonder who. Look at the facts. Marlene Bergsma I read your report today and was not surprised. You Doug Herod not a bad job but how is it Mayor Brian McMullan the worst offender doesn't get a mention? Well it is the Standard after all.

Hey Mike Williscraft maybe there is a story there after all.

 Alexander Davidoff
53 Almond Street
St. Catharines, Ontario
L2T 1G2

July 21, 2011

Premier Dalton McGuinty
The Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario, M7A 1A1

Dear Premier McGuinty:

I have come to you asking for help for the community I live in and for the laws that we as collective members of a democratic society live by. Sadly I hold little faith in anything now yet there is little choice other than to bring it to the attention of our elected government a situation that can no longer be ignored.

Our laws separate us from countries lacking democratic freedoms and equality. None are more important that the laws we govern ourselves by. Here in St. Catharines these laws have been turned into a farce. Personal gain has been the motivator of those asking for the trust of a community at the expense of legislation and law.

The Municipal Elections Act is not simply a 'how to' instruction booklet. It is a set of legislated rules where compliance is demanded with penalties instituted for anyone who ignores. These rules are required to protect our fair and democratic nature of government. Yet these laws have been turned into a game of convenient misinterpretation and abuse.

Regulations set in place for political campaign contributions are there for a real reason. Balance and fairness between candidates is a key. Potential pressure for personal gain against a candidate is lessened by these rules. Limitations on the amount of contributions and full disclosure an integral part of the process.

Here in St. Catharines questions have been raised publicly over the number and dollar value of campaign contributions. It is now clear that one candidate had abused the laws and regulations to an obscene level. Yet again he has been kept out of public and official scrutiny. Several business people have provided more than the permitted amounts for campaign contributions. Candidates have been publicly named. A committee has held a hearing. Chair of the Committee deciding that in the interest of saving the tax payers dollars no audits or action to be taken. The law left to wallow in an excuse of dollar value justice.

One candidate clearly stands as a primary abuser of the regulations of the Municipal Elections Act. Out of the $21,000.00 total collected and declared for corporate campaign contributions Mayor Brian McMullan had $6,000.00 contributed by four businesses. Half of that amount illegal. Mayor McMullan had to know of the illegal contributions months prior to the committee hearing held only days ago. Deceit was the motivator for evading any public comment. Many of the candidates admitted and repaid the over contributed amounts. Mayor McMullan would only state that he had to consult with his campaign manager. The evidence is damning.

The Niagara Region Compliance Audit Committee's decision must be put aside and a full inquiry requested on this issue. It is the realm of the provincial government to enforce our laws and legislation. Yet I do not hold much hope in that to happen. As this same Mayor McMullan was brought to question on another breach of the Municipal Act he was protected and sheltered from any action by your Minister James J. Bradley who was Minister for Municipal Affairs at the time. The same Minister James J. Bradley then made a campaign contribution to Mayor Brian McMullan's campaign. Thought the amount not serious in value it was declared on Mayor McMullan's financial statement. It was more symbolic of support given and without question a sign of further support to come. Minister Jim Bradley protected his pal, Mayor McMullan from action that should of been taken. I expect that shelter from the laws that others have to abide by will continue.

We in St. Catharines need you to act as the Premier of Ontario a leader of our government and not an absentee politician lusting for votes of trust. How much corruption is enough before action is taken by a responsible government.

All documentation and evidence available on update July 21, 2011.


Alexander Davidoff.


Alexander Davidoff
53 Almond Street
St. Catharines, Ontario
L2T 1G2

July 21, 2011

Minister Rick Bartolucci,
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing,
Office of the Minister
777 Bay Street, 17 floor
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2E5

Dear Minister Bartolucci:

As Minister for Municipal Affairs you are responsible for the enforcement of both the Municipal Act and the Municipal Elections Act. Breaches of the Municipal Elections Act here in St. Catharines cannot be ignored any longer. Regulations on campaign contributions abused. A decision by Mrs. Pinder, Chair of the Niagara Region Compliance Audit Committee has to be set aside as improper. The chair's decision was not to conduct a full audit over contributions or multiple contributions on the basis to save the taxpayers money. She quoted a ludicrous dollar amount for audits and on that basis did not request that it should proceed. Evidence of abuse clear and in the case of one candidate overwhelming, was ignored and the question is why. Requirements of the Municipal Elections Act are clear and simple. If the decision was made on the merits of evidence available then arguments would be put aside. Here the decision was made on points that do not relate to the breaches of the Municipal Elections Act. For that reason as Minister for Municipal Affairs responsible for the enforcement of the Municipal Elections Act it is within your mandate to set aside this erroneous decision.


Alexander Davidoff.

C.C: Premier McGuinty

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Monday, July 4, 2011

CASE STUDY: Andrew Gill vs. Preston Haskell

On June 29th 2011, I sat as a witness in a court room to hear freedom of speech and democratic political discussion brought down to the level of lawyers arguing semantics. An ex-part time local little politician who chose to make himself a spokesperson for the local government that has little to no care for the ordinary citizens, felt hurt when the truth was raised as a question in a newsletter. The judge refused to accept or to listen to the most relevant evidence, and a lawyer who submitted on behalf of his client a picture of wow and hurt feelings.

Andrew Gill ex-part time City of St. Catharines councillor, and a wanna be Federal Liberalista (to set the record straight Andrew Gill came in third in his attempt to represent the Federal Liberal Party in the Federal Election 2011), claimed that Mr. Preston Haskell had said Gill made decisions as return favours for political contributions by a developer. Andrew Gill claimed that he had not known the developer, one Len Pennachetti, and that Pennachetti had never contributed to his campaign nor to the Liberal Party. Andrew Gill then said how as a councillor he had made all his decisions with the constituents in heart. He went on to say how hurtful this was.

Preston Haskell in fact wrote these words, and I quote directly from the newsletter: “Is it appropriate for Niagara Falls Firefighter, Federal Liberal Candidate, and City of St. Catharines Councillor, Andrew Gill to endorse the enhancement in value of any adjacent property, particularly if it benefits a political supporter/developer.” At no stage do these words claim that this developer had been a contributor of Andrew Gill. Preston Haskell does say “a political supporter/developer.” Len Pennachetti is a political supporter of the head of the City of St. Catharines Council!! Mayor McMullan had received a maximum contribution from Len Pennachetti in the 2006 election campaign and 2 maximum dollar contributions under 2 different corporate names in the 2010 election campaign. The evidence that proved this fact was refused to be entered on record by the judge. This judge could not see the relevance of the fact that the developer was indeed a political supporter!

Andrew Gill chose to speak on behalf of the City of St. Catharines government. It was not the first or last time either. In the Friday October 15th 2010 Standard, Andrew Gill again puts his foot and mouth forward to speak on behalf of the Mayor, Mayor Brian McMullan and the City Council. Andrew Gill said and is quoted “I think he owes an apology not only to the mayor, but to councillors, to city staff. He owes the whole city an apology.” (This was an unrelated matter to Gill's current claims against Haskell.) No other councillor spoke or was quoted here either. It was only Andrew Gill and as with the comments of the developer it was only Gill. Len Penachetti announced his plans on the front page of The Standard on Friday October 8th 2010. Is it possible to make plans for such a development and keep it a secret from city councillors? Is it possible for a Councillor who claims to have the benefit of his constituents at heart not to know that such a development was planned in his ward? This was your ward Andrew Gill? True in court you were confused on the boundary, facing the facts can be alarming and confusing eh.

Yet this was not enough for Andrew Gill. Andrew Gill a man who painted a picture of himself as being hurt by these nasty words then attacked and therefore me. Andrew Gill said on record that nasty words hurt an honourable person serving the people and defended Councillor Jennie Stevens and Mayor McMullan against Mayorgate. You made it clear Andrew Gill that you were fully aware of the corrupt act by Councillor Jennie Stevens and Mayor McMullan and defended them. Andrew Gill so hurt by questions, by the truth defends another Councillor who committed a corrupt act. Now maybe Andrew Gill you'll find a problem with me stating facts. After all it is a matter of court record. Maybe your lawyer Christopher Bittle of Lancaster, Brooks & Welch can now come after me.

You Mr. Bittle referred to a “kernel of truth” yet you refused to hear an 'ear' full of fact. You naturally objected to have the financial records of Mayor McMullan entered on record as it would blow your case out of the court room. It proved Pennachetti was indeed a political supporter and to the head of the City Council and the boss to little Andrew Gill! I would even ask the question how damaging would it of been with an election only a few months away to have Preston Haskell raise such questions? Andrew Gill wasn't running again for council. It was Mayor McMullan who praised the development in his all-candidates 'debate' on October 6th. It was Mayor McMullan praising Len Pennachetti's 'dream,' making many promises for the future. A mind with a modicum of intelligence when faced with all the facts can only raise questions? The nature of democracy is to question. The enemy of democracy is censorship. Facts were censored in court Mr. Bittle, facts.

Now one who questions would wonder why a Small Claims Court issue would warrant the front page for The Standard and such a giant of journalism as Doug Herod. Although once again Doug Herod only writes what he wants. Facts were not going to be heard only a picture painted of a hurt ex-councillor Andrew Gill. Was it for a purpose? One can only speculate I guess. But I do ask if a Small Claims Court case warranted the front page surely all the facts were necessary?


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