Concern About Conflict of Interest in Vote on Capitol Project

A number of people have raised the question as to whether Councillor Adam Candon has a conflict of interest in the case of the Capitol project proposal, which would mean he should recuse himself from both the discussion and vote at next week’s City Council meeting.

Until this week, one of Councillor Candon’s commercial websites, www.KingstonCondoKings.com, promoted the Capitol project as a development with condos for sale follows:

THE CAPITOL

The name pays homage to the old Capitol Theatre. This is an unparalleled location in the heart of Kingston’s vibrant downtown core. It is the only marquee site and once the oldest movie theatre in the city. We are proud to revive this iconic site into a bright and energetic centre for downtown living. The project is conveniently located in the heart of Kingston’s major arterial street in close proximity to Queens University and just steps from Kingston’s best restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

DATE: September 4, 2015
CATEGORY: 223 Princess St Kingston Ontario, Condominium Development

According to a group of concerned Kingstonians, the inference to be drawn from this is that Councillor Candon is seeking customers for the Capitol project. The group has approached the City Clerk, the City Solicitor, and the Mayor about the issue. Thus far it appears no action has been taken.

The group has consulted David Mullan, professor emeritus in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University, a highly respected expert in the field of administrative law, and the former Integrity Commissioner for the City of Toronto. He has examined Councillor Candon’s commercial website. In his view, the inference to be drawn from this entry on the website is that Councillor Candon is professionally involved in the marketing of condominiums in the Capitol project. At the very least, this creates an appearance of a conflict of interest, and, if true, a real conflict of interest. Given this, there is a serious risk that if Councillor Candon participates and votes on the Capitol project proposal, he will be in violation of the City’s Code of Conduct for Council and Committee Members and also the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. At this stage, he owes it to his fellow Councillors, constituents and, more generally, the interests of the City of Kingston, to provide a full account of his involvement in the Capitol project or face the consequences.

Councillor Candon’s website is now ‘under construction.’

Council was confronted with another case of conflict of interest this summer in a matter involving Councillor Kevin George. The City ended up hiring a Toronto lawyer to conduct an independent review of the situation. She found Councillor George had violated the rules of Council.

In the Candon case, the group believes it is essential that the matter is addressed immediately and appropriate action taken in order not to jeopardise the legitimacy of next week’s vote.

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