Former Toronto city councillor Jim Karygiannis is prepared to take his fight with City Hall all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Adrienne Lei, a lawyer representing Karygiannis, confirmed to CityNews they plan to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that ousted him from his Ward 22 seat on Wednesday.
The story was first reported by the Toronto Star.
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 councillor 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 last 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, effective June 24.
City Council is set to meet Monday where next steps needed to fill the vacancy will be discussed. The options include appointing someone to the seat or holding a by-election.
Mayor John Tory indicated that since council was less than halfway through its current mandate, a by-election might be the chosen route.