Councillor Jim Karygiannis loses seat once again over election overspending

Jim Karygiannis has lost his seat once again, after a higher court ruled the Toronto city councillor exceeded election spending limits. Faiza Amin speaks to the citizen who filed the reversal about why he says this move reinforces democracy.

By News staff

Jim Karygiannis has been ousted as a city of Toronto councillor for the second time after the Court of Appeal overturned a previous ruling that saw him reinstated in the midst of improper election spending allegations.

According to the City of Toronto, Karygiannis’ financial statement for the 2018 election showed that he exceeded the allowable spending amount by more than $25,000, leading to his removal as the councillor for Ward 22 last November.

But Karygiannis argued it was “clerical error” in paperwork and a Superior Court judge gave him the benefit of the doubt, ruling that it would be “unfair” to subject Karygiannis “to the extreme punishment of forfeiture of offence, when there was an inadvertent error made …”

The Toronto resident who requested the initial audit on Karygiannis’ election spending, Adam Chaleff, appealed the decision, arguing the Superior Court lacked the jurisdiction to reinstate Karygiannis to office and even if it did, it was not appropriate in this case.

In a decision released on Wednesday, the Court of Appeal sided with Chaleff, ruling that “there is no jurisdiction to grant relief from forfeiture,” and adding that Karygiannis “has not clearly demonstrated to this court that this was a mere ‘clerical error.’ ”

The court ultimately ruled that Karygiannis is subject to the initial penalty of removal from office. The forfeiture of his seat will be effective on June 24, according to the City of Toronto.

The city says the City Clerk will be providing the steps Council has to take in order to fill the vacancy at the next meeting on June 29. His seat will either be filled by appointment or by-election.

CityNews has reached out to Karygiannis, but has not yet received a response.

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