Integrity Commissioners Decline to Impose Penalty in Clark Scandal

Joey Coleman/The Public Record

Ward 9 Hamilton City Councillor Brad Clark in December 2018

Hamilton City Council’s Integrity Commissioners, a firm co-owned by retired Hamilton City Solicitor Janice Atwood-Petkovski, confirm that Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark violated Council’s Code of Conduct when he made unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against staff in the City’s building department.

Atwood-Petkovski’s firm determined there should be no sanction or reprimand.

In an unsigned report, Atwood-Petkovski’s firm Principles Integrity finds Clark violated Section 11 of the Council Code when he discussed unsubstantiated allegations of corruption with constituent Paul Manning in late-July 2020.

Unknown to Clark, Manning was recording the conversation and published the audio on YouTube in February 2021. Manning is an undercover Hamilton Police officer who is presently suspended and is engaged in a litigation with the Hamilton Police Service alleging he was betrayed while undercover against organized crime. Manning is also facing Police Service Act charges of discreditable conduct, insubordination, and breach of trust.

Clark states he reached out to Manning, a constituent, due to his experience in investigations after receiving information about potential wrongdoing within the City of Hamilton.

The portion of the recording published by Manning involves the issuing of a building permit at 10 Newman Road in Dundas which was given in error. The land is subject to a myriad of regulations, including control by the Niagara Escarpment Commission. The City had to revoke the permit and compensate the land owner.

During the conversation, Clark alleges corruption in the building department regarding the issuing of building permits, including at this site.

“So what’s going on in the Building Department and how come building permits are being issued, when they shouldn’t be issued? And who is paying who to get those building permits issued?”, Clark states.

Upon the recording being made public, Clark apologized saying his comments were baseless.

“I have no knowledge of any corruption with the Building Department or any department within the City” he wrote in an email to Council and senior staff. Clark self-referred the matter to the Integrity Commissioners and stepped down from all his chair and vice-chair roles.

Atwood-Petkovski’s firm states that by doing so, Clark took responsibility for his actions and there is no need for any further action.

The firm is not recommending reprimand – something they imposed against the Chair of the LGBTQ Advisory Committee for being critical of City Hall’s mismanagement of LGBTQ community concerns.

Atwood-Petkovski, and business partner Jeffrey Abrams, were instructed by Council to investigate the LGBTQ Advisory Committee Chair Cameron Kroetsch. At the same time, Council signed them to the longest contract ever given a municipal integrity commissioner in Ontario. Their actions against Kroetsch are now subject to judicial review at the Ontario Divisional Court.

“By his recent actions, Councillor Clark has assumed accountability for his conduct”, the firm writes.

While finding Clark violated Section 11 of the Council Code of Conduct by injuring the professional reputation of staff, the firm determined Clark’s comments did not violate confidentiality or undermine respect for City by-laws.

Clark issued a statement on Friday, thought lawyer Wade Poziomka who represented him in this integrity matter, taking responsibility for his action and expressing that he is “deeply apologetic to to anyone who may have been harmed by his actions”.

Council will vote on the report during Wednesday’s Council meeting.

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