Calgary’s integrity commissioner has recused himself from the investigation into Coun. Joe Magliocca’s expenses due to a $163 meal in July 2019.
Magliocca’s expenses have been under intense scrutiny after the Calgary Herald first reported the councillor’s receipts from last year’s Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference. After revealing the amounts charged, the Herald later showed that eight of the 10 people Magliocca had said he hosted never recalled having the documented encounters with the Ward 2 councillor.
The city’s integrity commissioner Sal LoVecchio had been asked to investigate the matter.
In a statement provided Tuesday, LoVecchio acknowledged a lunch with Magliocca on July 19, 2019.
“The lunch was purely social and not part of any investigation I currently had under way. [sic] It was simply a social lunch. As is often the case, who pays at these social lunches may vary from time to time,” read LoVecchio’s statement.
“Councillor Magliocca indicated he wished to pay. I did not object, I simply said if there was to be another one it would be for my account.”
LoVecchio said in the past 24 hours it had come to his attention that lunch was expensed by Magliocca.
“The taxpayers of the City of Calgary should not be paying for a social lunch of mine and I am deeply concerned to find out that this has occurred,” LoVecchio said.
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LoVecchio said that since he’d been formally asked to investigate the expenses, he now must recuse himself.
“This investigation must not only be but must be seen to be completely independent and impartial. As this expense might become part of the story, an investigation by me, in my view, would not satisfy that requirement,” he said.
Earlier Tuesday at the city’s Priorities and Finance Committee, Coun. Jeromy Farkas successfully attached an urgent notice of motion to the agenda, outlining a desire to have stringent rules around councillors’ FCM expenses and the number of councillors that needed to attend.
That matter will now go to city council.
LoVecchio ended the statement by indicating he’d advised council of his decision to remove himself and, if asked, would assist in finding someone else to investigate Magliocca’s expenses.