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Karygiannis again removed from office over campaign expenses after court overturns earlier decision

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Councillor Jim Karygiannis has once again been removed from office after an appeal court overruled a previous Superior Court decision that reinstated him.

Karygiannis’ removal stems from overspending related to his 2018 campaign.

In November 2019, City Clerk Ulli Watkiss said that she had no choice but to remove the Ward 22 councillor after a review found that he overspent on his 2018 campaign by nearly $26,000, most of it related to a post-election party at Santorini Grill in Thornhill.

According to a release from Watkiss’ office at the time, the campaign spending limit for Ward 22 in the 2018 election was $61,207.95, with a maximum of 10 per cent to be spent for “parties and other expressions of appreciation” after voting day.

That meant a total allowance of $6,120.80 for parties after election day. However a review of Karygiannis’ expenses found that he spent $32,083.50 on parties and other expressions of appreciation, nearly five times the limit.

The Municipal Elections Act states that a person automatically forfeits their office if found to have exceeded their campaign spending limit.

However just weeks later on November 25, a Superior Court judge returned Karygiannis to office, finding that he “acted in good faith” with respect to disclosing his post-election party and also found that there was no attempt to hide the expense.

However at the time, the judge rendered no decision as to whether the party at Santorini Grill should have qualified as a fundraising expense.

The judge at the time also noted that the ruling did not affect the ongoing compliance audit Karygiannis was facing, or “the committee’s discretion to determine whether to commence legal proceedings against Mr. Karygiannis following receipt of the auditor’s report.”