Mayorgate brought the story of an elected Niagara Regional Councillor Andrew Petrowski accused by anonymous e-mailers in a story titled: 'Salem's Witch Hunt Comes to Niagara'. Information brought forward was not only the cowardice of these anonymous accusers but of the questionable acts at Niagara Region's administration in the handling of such accusations. More alarming was the self-confessed involvement of St.Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan. Mayor McMullan admitted to know the identity of the anonymous e-mailers, all but one in an interview with columnist Doug Herod of The Standard.
Only days after this public statement by Mayor Brian McMullan another anonymous e-mailer took the accusations to a new level and made a false police report. This is an act that is breach of the Criminal Code. Yet no police investigation by the Niagara Regional Police.
Now comes news that the anonymous e-mailers who went by the names Tim Lewis and Suzie Q, using fake e-mail addresses have committed another cowardly act. Since the Niagara Region's CAO Mike Trojan would not conduct a proper investigation an attempt was made by Councillor Andrew Petrowski to contact both of the anonymous accusers via his private e-mail address. Only days after the story was published on Mayorgate the anonymous e-mailers Tim Lewis and Suzie Q had closed down the e-mail addresses they were using. As was revealed in the Mayorgate story the IP address of an e-mail can be traced by the server to reveal the user's real name. Both Tim Lewis and Suzie Q were in fear of being identified.
Why were the anonymous e-mailers Tim Lewis and Suzie Q so afraid of having their true identity revealed? Which by they way can still be done even though they have closed down their e-mail addresses. Each had used GMail and in a simplified explanation GMail is really just a web server. In which case web servers log who's accessed them and when, by IP address. To directly quote an expert in the field of computers “you may not be able to trace where the e-mail was sent from... but law enforcement may be able to.” Those who operate GMail only need a legal reason to provide the IP address of the sender who accessed their web servers.
For each of the anonymous e-mailers, Tim Lewis and Suzie Q, Councillor Andrew Petrowski sent a short message. This was the result, “The e-mail account that you tried to reach does not exist.” Not only had these cowards used fake names, fake e-mail addresses and lies to destroy the reputation and credibility of an individual, they ran as soon as the fear of having their identity revealed was made public. Yet Mayor Brian McMullan has admitted to know the identity of those anonymous e-mailers in a public brag. Mayor Brian McMullan even copied the unknown Tim Lewis a confidential e-mail he sent to his boss Chairman Gary Boroughs. Niagara Region CAO Mike Trojan did not make any public statement on that breach of confidentiality. No one has questioned Mayor Brian McMullan on why he would send a copy of a communication with his boss Regional Chairman Burroughs to someone he claimed to not know.
On Thursday January 26th 2012 it has been reported that regional councillors were advised on how to manage their information and use of the regional e-mail system. Chairman Burroughs is concerned with “embarrassing information leaks.” Grimsby Councillor and ex-Chair of Regional Council Debbie Zimmerman objected and was quoted, “There goes democracy” and “this point starts to make me wonder if we can accept anything from constituents.”
Councillor Debbie Zimmerman where was democracy when a fellow regional councillor was accused by anonymous e-mailers? You were on the list of receivers of both Tim Lewis and Suzie Q. Your fellow councillor Mayor Brian McMullan publicly admitted to know the identity of the anonymous e-mailers. It was Brian McMullan who attacked fellow councillor Andrew Petrowski in a public statement. When you spoke of democracy Councillor Debbie Zimmerman did that cover the fact that Mayor Brian McMullan had forwarded a copy of a confidential e-mail he sent his boss Chairman Burroughs to the anonymous e-mailer Tim Lewis. Was Mayor McMullan standing by his 'democratic right' in this action or simply allowing the 'freedom of information'? It would seem that democracy is somewhat selective to Councillor Debbie Zimmerman. Democracy, justice and law seem very selective and not only in the perception of Councillor Debbie Zimmerman.
So the question still hangs, what was the real motivation behind Tim Lewis and Suzie Q? What was the real motivation behind Mayor Brian McMullan's forwarding of a confidential communication with his boss Chairman Burroughs to the 'unknown' Tim Lewis? What was the reason behind Mayor Brian McMullan's involvement with these anonymous cowards and their lies? Finally why was Tim Lewis and Suzie Q so afraid of having their identity revealed?
Too many questions with no answers for now. A police investigation is to be demanded. It was the Niagara Regional Police who during the election claimed to investigate claims by mayoral candidate David D'Intino against Mayor Brian McMullan. It was the NRP and a detective sergeant that tampered with evidence and lied on official incident reports. Now the situation is clear, Mayor Brian McMullan has made a public statement to have the knowledge of the real identity of these anonymous individuals who have broken the law. All efforts by a police department should be aimed to end this, and it would not take much in detecting to do so. I wonder if Councillor Debbie Zimmerman's lament “There goes democracy” really is true.
Still as author and publisher of Mayorgate I had to face threat and harassment only four days after Mayorgate published 'Salem's Witch Hunt Comes To Niagara'. In return I published the threat and all the details. I will not cower under anyone's threat or harassment. A letter was delivered to the City Solicitor and to both Premier Dalton McGuinty and Minister Harinder Takhar. And now more to reveal on this.
The City Solicitor's letter stamped and signed for after lunch of the 25th of January 2012. Following day my landlord made an attempt to talk to Building Inspector II Steven Sunderland. First I want it clear that Gordon is a gentle and caring individual, rare to find. Sunderland hung up on Gordon as Gordon tried to work things out with him. It would be clear that the City Solicitor had made some enquiries by now. Sunderland's unprofessional attitudes raise even more questions. Sunderland claimed he was coming to the house, I waited all day prepared for him. He did not show nor call. The same for the following day of the 27th January 2012.
Monday morning on the 30th Sunderland called to say he would come by 10am. He did arrive with another individual. I met him on the porch with my recorder in my left hand in clear view. Sunderland had no visible identification nor the other male. He introduced himself in a mumble with his head down. I had one question and immediately asked. By the way the whole recording is posted HERE.
I asked Sunderland that as an order (I had a copy in my hand) was placed on the front door of the house was an inspection done. He did not answer, he instead said that he saw it from the back lane. I asked him straight out if he had done an inspection. He would not answer. I asked again. He remained silent. I finally said to him that he did no inspection. He then said he would not be recorded. His pal whoever he was only did the macho angry stares, my 19 year old daughter watched from the window. Man I had such fear of his angry face, maybe he thought he was Clint Eastwood and this was a Spaghetti Western. Sunderland said he won't be recorded. I said my solicitor wanted everything recorded. Sunderland responded with a threat.
First I want to say that I have recorded four Constables of the Niagara Regional Police and a uniformed Sergeant, and caught them falsifying official reports. I have recorded a Detective Sergeant of the Niagara Regional Police and Niagara's Region Manager of the Ministry of the Environment. Finally I recorded Property Standards Officer Rick Randall and he gave his business card. So Steven Sunderland what were you afraid of? You did not answer me, the pregnant pause is long enough for a delivery. What do you have to fear Steven Sunderland?
Sunderland's response was a threat and its recorded! City Solicitor Auty it is a legal criteria that if a reasonable individual would perceive this as a threat it is a threat legally. I sat through two trials, one on harassment and one on liable to do a story and heard the judges. Sunderland responded “I'll get my lawyer and I'll be back.” PLEASE COME STEVEN SUNDERLAND WITH YOUR LAWYER! Now this sounds like he intends to get his private lawyer as in “my lawyer.” Or is it you Madame Auty? Will you come with Sunderland? Or is it CUPE? He did not clarify this threat unfortunately.
When Mayorgate published the facts of St.Catharines Mayor fixing a lawful by-law fine and the voice recording of Merritton Ward Councillor Jennie Stevens confirming that the fine was fixed, threat came. Councillor Stevens threatened me with her “solicitor,” I recorded her and posted the voice recording on Mayorgate. Only two days prior to the election of 2010 Mayor McMullan called me to supposedly wish me well as a mayoral candidate then threatened me with his Toronto lawyers, because as he put it, “you called me corrupt on your blog.” I told him fantastic, and waited for months. Nothing came, no one came. On September 1st 2011 Mayor Brian McMullan had Christopher Bittle of Lancaster, Brooks and Welch deliver a threat to my door of legal action. I posted the Bittle letter of threat and the remaining evidence against Mayor Brian McMullan, all on Mayorgate, all for the public to see. What do you think happened since then? Nothing! Does Sunderland think for one moment he has brought fear to me?
Truth is not something that is welcomed in this City of St.Catharines. I won't back off the truth and always back it up with evidence that is undeniable. Sunderland has acted on behalf of the City of St.Catharines. He is a public employee, paid with public money and he abused his powers. There are serious consequences for this and under no circumstances will he walk away from them. He can threaten me as much as he wants.
Just before Sunderland walked off the porch I asked him if he was going to inspect. After all remember his response to Gordon and the hang up. After all remember the order number: 12-100624 BO. His response was “you can go out back if you want.” Whoops! What was that?!! Let's rewind this. Sunderland after hanging up on one individual who tried to work this out, after putting a threat on the door of the house without inspection so it would be seen by the whole neighbourhood. He now responds with “you can go out back if you want.” That's exactly what Sunderland said! Listen to him for yourself. Then he walked away with his angry faced pal who did not identify himself. By the way I'm curious was that building inspector I or III?
I tried to talk to him as he was on the sidewalk, you will hear my voice louder now. So there is no date on this order to Remedy Unsafe Building from Sunderland it appears, only a threat. Oh and Sunderland doesn't call this Order a threat. Look at the Order!
Refer to page 2 Code of Conduct
Threat one, the City will do the work and charge us for it! Threat two, the threat of being guilty of an offence and courts! Threat three, fines of $50,000 to $100,000! Threat four, fines of $100,000 to $200,000! I guess that's all meant to tickle someone? Sunderland stuck this on the front door, a red painted door and the paper white. He did this at eye level from the street so it could be plainly seen. Does anyone have any doubts as to why it was done in such a fashion? He used nice bright orange city stickers!
Some questions that pop up. What was Sunderland a building inspector doing in the back lane? When he claims to of seen this, and the time it took him to make up this order had to of taken some days, true? Or did he pop it up in his car, on the spot so to speak? He never came to the house, he saw the new roof, soffit, fascia and all the new work. Yet he never gave a damn. Was he taking a leisurely stroll down the lane or was he driving? I bet driving? How was he able to be so darn observant? He would of been in a sitting position, unless he drove a MONSTER TRUCK. Then when asked to his face if he inspected he would not respond! Again a legal observation, lying by omission is simply lying. The only response by Sunderland was to threaten.
So where do we stand now? I love this piece off a City of St.Catharines web page for Planning and Development Services. City Solicitor Auty you should look at Page 2 of 3, the heading is Building Officials Code of Conduct. Every legal effort will now be made to have Steven Sunderland Building Inspector II face an official review on Code of Conduct. The Corporation of the City of St.Catharines has placed my family and this home under threat and harassment for the last time. When that log remained on the roof for close to seven months compromising the safety of all who lived in this house, the City didn't give a damn. In fact the harassment is clear, you're a lawyer look at the facts and try to explain them.
Sunderland acted not only in an unprofessional manner he has abused his powers in an unethical and illegal fashion. Consequences for such abuse will be demanded. Answers to questions will be demanded, even if Sunderland thinks he can refuse to speak.
Enough is enough. Neither I nor Mayorgate will be silenced by threat, harassment or terror of any kind. Facts will still be published with evidence to support them, as all of this has been. Sunderland's threat is now made public, you can decide to handle it yourself, for now. The work is being done and will be completed anyhow but there are legal ramifications to Sunderland's threat and it will not pass without consequence.
Another development to the information regarding the feature 'Salem's Witch Hunt Comes To Niagara'. As already published the letter from CAO of Niagara Region Mike Trojan of December 9th 2011 to Regional Councillor Andrew Petrowski in which Trojan states this, “I've also received correspondence from CUPE 1287 leaders who have demanded that we take whatever action necessary to ensure that inappropriate behaviour towards their members ceases immediately.”
CUPE had little care whether their members may of been in the wrong or not. Leaders of CUPE 1287 simply sent out a threat. Now it is a member of CUPE who has acted in more than an “inappropriate” manner. Steven Sunderland has breached the Building Officials Code of Conduct and the Building Code Act. Sunderland is a member of CUPE and that was confirmed by phone. WHAT WILL THE LEADERS OF CUPE DO NOW? All the information has been made available and is public on Mayorgate. CUPE see's fit to threaten a Regional Government and a Regional Councillor. What will it do now that it is a member of CUPE who has committed unethical acts?
CUPE response or lack of response will be updated here.
Finally, Sunderland arrived at the house with another individual, one who he did not introduce, one who had not stated his purpose for being with Sunderland nor provided any identification. Who was this individual and why was he there? A presumption is that this 'unknown' individual is a City employee and has something to do with building inspections. It is also safe to assume that Sunderland brought him along as a witness not as a bodyguard or some thug. So why would Sunderland refuse to be put on record? Sunderland refused to answer when asked if indeed he had inspected anything prior to posting the order. What did Sunderland have to hide? Was he afraid of further questions? Yet with a witness present what did Sunderland fear? He could of asked for a copy of the recording yet instead Sunderland threatened with his lawyers. Why? Where are they? Who was that unidentified individual and why was he with Sunderland? If he indeed was another City of St.Catharines employee then he is also a member of CUPE. He will be identified and his purpose clearly stated.
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