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Brampton mayor plans legal action against foes, must repay $34K

Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell addresses council on Aug. 6, 2014. CITYNEWS

Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell has hired a lawyer to take action against certain city councillors and the Toronto Star over what she calls innuendos and falsehoods.

“Politics is a lot like hockey,” she said in a statement released Wednesday. “You get a lot of elbows thrown at you in the corners by cheap shot artists. You get tripped. You get knocked down.

“Well, I want everyone to know that today I am getting off the bench. I will not let the Toronto Star and my opponents get away with these reckless, baseless smears anymore.”

The results of a forensic audit, released last month, found Fennell broke municipal spending rules 265 times over the last several years.

Deloitte Canada said over a seven-year period, the mayor and her staff spent more than $130,000 on high-cost airfare, premium hotel rooms and personal costs.

Some of her expenses included cellphone charges for IQ quizzes and an Apple iTunes download.

The audit also found another $155,000 in spending may have breached the rules, but the mayor hadn’t provided enough information to show how it was spent.

At Wednesday’s council meeting, Fennell was ordered to pay back $34,118.

Fennel said she’s hired lawyer David Shiller, to sue the Toronto Star, certain Brampton councillors, Deloitte and integrity commissioner Robert Swayze.

“I accept responsibility when I mess up, and for when my staff make mistakes,” she said. “But I will not — absolutely will not — take blame for things that are made up or out of my control.”

Fennell said she won’t resign and will run for re-election on Oct. 27.

“To quit now would be to say that I agree that the garbage flying around Brampton politics these days is the truth,” she said.

“It isn’t. It’s a campaign by one reporter and by some people who want to win re-election at all costs. These people don’t give a damn who they hurt along the way. It isn’t right. And I won’t stand for it.”

Forensic audit of Brampton mayor and councillors:

Click here to read the full report on a mobile device or tablet.