Municipal Election 2010

Citizens Criticize Media Coverage of Di Ianni

By RTH Staff
Published October 22, 2010

A group of citizens has called a press conference to decry media coverage of mayoral candidate Larry Di Ianni's election campaign.

The group, which is led by Kevin MacKay and includes a number of current and retired McMaster University professors a former university President, argues that the local news media have not adequately reported the facts of Mr. Di Ianni's 41 charges and six convictions for accepting illegal campaign donations during his 2003 election campaign.

They plan to hold a press conference and rally today, October 22, 2010, 5:00 PM outside City Hall. The list of signatories includes: Alvin Lee, former President of McMaster University, Dr. James Quinn, a Biology Professor at McMaster, Kevin MacKay, a Professor at Mohawk College, Dr. Todd Bulmer, Jennie Rubio, an Editor at Oxford University Press, George Sorger, a retired Biology Professor at McMaster, Dr. J.P. Xu, an Associate Biology Professor at McMaster, Dr. Martin Daly, a Biology Professor at McMaster, Dr. Graeme MacQueen, a retired Religious Studies Professor at McMaster, and former Waterdown councillor Dave Braden among others.

The press release also notes that Di Ianni was not banned from running in a subsequent election, whereas Matt Jelly, a candidate for Ward 2 in the current election, was banned from running in 2006 after failing to submit a financial report for his 2003 mayoral run.

According to Mary Lou Tanner, Mr. Jelly's campaign manager, he filed no report because his 2003 campaign had no expenses and accepted no donations. "This was an error and will not recur."

For this election, Jelly is not accepting corporate or union donations, and made his finances available on October 18, 2010. Ms. Tanner added, "The Matt Jelly 2010 Campaign is not affiliated with the press conference today."

Background

After Hamilton Indymedia (now defunct) published an article by John Milton in 2004 that raised questions about Di Ianni's campaign donors, local bookseller Joanna Chapman asked Council to audit Mr. Di Ianni's finances.

Council voted against the audit, so Ms. Chapman hired lawyer Eric Gillespie and launched a private citizen's lawsuit under the Municipal Elections Act to force an audit. Chapman ultimately spent $30,000 of her own money on the suit. In the meantime, Di Ianni returned $26,000 in questionable donations.

Justice Timothy Culver concluded that reasonable grounds existed for an audit and ordered City Council to audit Di Ianni's books. The City hired accountant Ken Froese, who eventually found 41 irregularities.

City-hired lawyer Timothy Wilkin identified 41 alleged violations of campaign finance rules, but ultimately brought just six charges to court in a plea bargain.

Di Ianni pleaded guilty to the six charges and Justice Anton Zuraw ordered him to make a charitable donation of $4,500 and write an essay detailing his experiences and lessons learned, which was then published in Municipal World in October 2006.

Justice Zuraw concluded that Di Ianni's campaign finance violations were unintentional and pointed out in his decision that the financing rules seemed to have led to much confusion. "Experienced accountants and lawyers, even seasoned politicians, have had problems and these problems have been brought to light by virtue of the doggedness and, some would say, zeal of Ms. Chapman as she pursued her understanding of the public interest."

In 2006, Di Ianni lost re-election narrowly to Fred Eisenberger. In an August 2009 interview with The Hamiltonian, Di Ianni dismissed suggestions that his loss was significantly related to the campaign finance issue.

[Joanna Chapman] didn't help but she wasn't the fatal blow. The fatal blow was the seven days of 'Corruption at City Hall' reportage just before the election by the Spectator, falsely targeting Sam Merulla. That issue splashed on me big time. We were doing rolling polls and the financing issue wasn't registering, but as soon as the Spec stories appeared, my numbers began to go down...as it was, I lost narrowly. I also took bad advice and didn't go after Fred on his vulnerabilities. He got a free ride and won. Good for him. Bad for me and the city.

37 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 13:05:12

This is quite insightful. I had no idea there was still info regarding this saga that hadn't been properly reported.

If I understand correctly, Jelly wasn't allowed to run because he didn't hand in his financial report, but Larry is allowed to run again even though there were 41 charges laid against him??

Who's job is it to uphold these various elections rules?? There must be a government body responsible to oversee these issues, or are regular citizens expected to shell out their own money to see justice served??

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2010 at 13:34:48

Mr DiIanni's campaign tactics are underhanded and self-serving and they should make everyone questions if he would ever put the city's interests above his own political and financial ones.

Two quick examples:

  • At the Chamber of Commerce debate, he took one question as an opportunity to persnally attack Bob and Fred (all in a single one minute comment). The audience quietly and politely groaned and booed - clearly they felt that it would have been more appropriate to answer the question in terms of how he would act as mayor, not based on how he THINKS someone else would act. I agreed with the audience.

  • Earlier this week, the spectator printed a chart of "election issues" which listed the three major contenders and their positions on certain issues. As I read through, I realized that the position statements were not written by the candidates or by a reporter. It turns out that this was a full page attack ad which spun Larry's behind-the-scene "connections" as positive, and painted Fred and Bob with an implication that they were publicly fighting with each other over the issues. THe worst part is that the spectator printed it as if it were news. Shame on Larry and shame on the Spec.

Both of these displays are an embarrassment to the city and to the election process.

Dear Larry,
Please leave our city alone. We do not want your cheating backroom ways directing city hall any longer.

Comment edited by seancb on 2010-10-22 12:37:46

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 13:40:32

I didn't see the Spec ad. Anyone have a digital copy?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2010 at 13:52:08

I am trying to dig my copy out to do so.

The spec did not print the words "advertising feature" which they normally do atop any full page ad that looks like it is trying to appear as news.

Comment edited by seancb on 2010-10-22 12:52:29

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2010 at 14:14:23

This is interesting. I tried to look at the virtual edition the Spec provides to subscribers, and the full-page ad on A15 is no longer Di Ianni's. Now it's an ad for WagJag/HECFI. I had assumed that the virtual edition was just a digital scan of the print edition, but it's possible they put different ads in the online version.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-10-22 13:15:42

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kim (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 14:29:03

If this gets any sort of traction, I predict a comfortable win for Bratina.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2010 at 14:43:56

Even more interesting - the virtual edition has the exact same full page wagjag ad on page 26.

Seems unlikely they would have taken two identical full page ads in the same paper.

....Trying not to be overwhelmed with conspiracy theories....

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2010 at 15:29:41

Did Joanna get her $30,000 back? If someone is charged as a result of such a lawsuit, a citizen should not have to pay for the actions to bring to light these issues to the public eye and to ensure he is punished for his wrong doings.

If Matt Jelly was unable to run becuase of his lack of providing financial information that didn't exist becuase he didn't take donations, surely Larry should be asked to step aside from this election, as further punishment. He did his time financially and publically perhaps, but municipally, I would think he has one more price to pay.

And if this did get any sort of 'traction', I would still hope it's not a 'comfortable' win for anyone.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 16:20:38

I was in Ms. Chapman's store in 2008 (still have a receipt in a book) and offered her $100 in cash to help with legal expenses. She politely declined the money telling me things were, 'Settled out on that matter.'

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2010 at 16:26:21

I will try to scan a better copy when I get home but from the looks of it, there is no advertisement notice at the top. The bottom 1/4 page is fairly unmistakable as a DiIanni ad, but there is a clever divider between the table at the top and the graphic at the bottom.

The text of the table is clearly DiIanni spin, but this could easily be mistaken for a spectator "article" with a DiIanni ad at the bottom.

DiIanni's Full Page Ad

Comment edited by seancb on 2010-10-22 15:27:45

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Jason (registered) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 16:53:04

Unreal. How could they print that without a clear disclaimer that the "leadership chart" is paid advertising?? Most people would assume the top 2/3 are the Spec with a Larry ad at the bottom. Apparently Larrys campaign knows quite clearly how credible they are in the community. Make it appear to be a spec column and maybe people will actually believe it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Lulu (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 16:58:36

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2010 at 19:02:44

Smearing? Larry is smearing the other candidates. We are pointing out his real-life acts, words and tactics.

Here is a better scan of his full page ad. The top 2/3 looks like a news item, then there is a dividing line with the bottom 1/3 being clearly an ad with a disclaimer.

This is misleading to say the least.

If you want to read the actual text, check out the 1024 resolution file or the 800px resolution file.

DiIanni's Ad (Scanned)

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By adrian (registered) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 19:34:22

I immediately identified this as an ad. At the time, I didn't consider the possibility that some people would not immediately identify it as such, but now that you've pointed it out, I can see how that could happen. But my biggest issue with it is just that it is blatantly unfair and misleading to the point of constituting false advertising.

For example, the list of Fred's biggest accomplishments should certainly include the installation of an integrity councillor, but perhaps that's a little too close to home for the Di Ianni campaign to want to point out.

That said though, for all of the people who might have mistaken this for something other than an ad, and for all of the people who might be influenced by it, I think that far more will recognize how unfair and negative this is, and be less likely to vote for Di Ianni as a result.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Lawyer (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 22:08:46

Under the revised Municipal Elections Act 2010, I quote:
" Penalties for contravening the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 have been increased. A contributor who contravenes the contribution rules may face a fine of up to $25,000 ($50,000 for corporations and trade unions) and/or up to six months in prison if the offence was committed knowingly. Candidates who are convicted of contravening certain provisions of the Act also forfeit any office to which they were elected, and are ineligible to run until after the next regular election has taken place."

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 22:19:00

reading through that, it's hilarious and embarrassing.
I'd never attach my name to something so childish and stupid.
Let's all hope this is the final act in Larry's local political career.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 22:26:16

Under the revised Municipal Elections Act 2010, I quote: " Penalties for contravening the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 have been increased. A contributor who contravenes the contribution rules may face a fine of up to $25,000 ($50,000 for corporations and trade unions) and/or up to six months in prison if the offence was committed knowingly. Candidates who are convicted of contravening certain provisions of the Act also forfeit any office to which they were elected, and are ineligible to run until after the next regular election has taken place."

It says "convicted of contravening certain provisions of the Act...."

Do we know which acts trigger the ineligibility to run in the next election?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By forgetaboutit (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 22:36:01

http://notlarry.com/

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Fogetaboudit! (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 22:38:41

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKaenlDtaeU

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By MayorMcMeltyface (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2010 at 00:05:39

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi7gpOjA-18

Fredgate

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By BellyWho (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2010 at 00:28:04

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2010 at 09:09:42

More stink off this ad -- this time for the archival shot of Robertson in full dress in his office at HPS HQ.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/270124--former-police-chiefs-election-ad-comes-under-fire

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2010 at 12:01:38

... and The Spec's endorsement is in.

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/editorial/article/269880--the-best-man-to-be-mayor

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted October 23, 2010 at 12:57:25

What about Fred not having released his contributors' list? And the secret fundraiser with his development buddies?

He's releasing the list on Monday. A little late granted, but still in time to change your vote at the last minute if you don't like what you see. The names of the 'secret' fundraiser attendees will be on the list as well.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted October 23, 2010 at 15:45:30

I'm not 100% certain, but I think there is a deadline given by the Elections Act as to when contribution lists need to be in.

Fred Street - yes, I thought the same thing about the ad. A "retired citizen" giving an endorsement?? That photo sure doesn't look like a retired citizen.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted October 23, 2010 at 16:34:33

Yes there's a deadline, but it's after the election. When Bratina was asked if he would be making his list of donors public before the election, he said he would 'abide by the Election Act', ie. he won't be revealing his donors till after the election.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By logonfire (registered) | Posted October 23, 2010 at 17:56:55

The penalty for failing to submit a statement of revenues and expenses is not being able to run in the following election. When I ran and lost many years ago I didn't bother to file since I had no intention of running again so it made no difference either to me or the elctorate.

There are stronger penalties for "fraud" and wrong-doing however and that was what DiIanni ran into.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 24, 2010 at 02:17:21

Larry's punishment for cheating in a mayoral race which he won was to repay the overpayments and write a letter of apology. What that amounts to is a loan of money and in-kind contributions (like the free City Centre campaign office space) which got repaid years later at 0% interest. Not a bad price, considering it bought a city. The overpayments were immediately visible to anyone who looked at the documents. I know many who worked on the original Hamilton Indymedia story and they were glaring. In many cases, well-known property management and development firms simply mis-spelled their names and donated again.

DiIanni can blame the Merulla scandal all he likes, but if there's a public perception of him that gets evoked whenever the word "scandal" is mentioned, he has nobody but himself to blame.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted October 24, 2010 at 15:37:35

I'm not the biggest Di Ianni fan, but I think that some of the criticism here is unfair. I know in some cases, the over contributions were a mistake by Toronto companies that are used to a higher maximum for campaign contributions. If what undustrial is saying is correct, then I am concerned. I agree that ultimately the responsibility falls on him. I hear alot of talk from people about "back room deals", but I haven't seen any proof of that. Maybe people are making assumptions based on his violations of the Elections Act. It is fair to rebuke him based on his past transgressions, but I also think some people in the community are taking this to mean that he is somehow guilty of breaking other laws while at the helm as mayor. There are some people (forgetaboutit) that are using cultural cliches to taint his image. I find that offensive. I believe that Di Ianni is a skilled negotiator. I know of one example where, as a councillor, he helped the city settle out of court when the city was facing a potential lawsuit from a large Toronto Conracting Corporation. He may have personal interests in mind when running for mayoral office, but that criticism could apply to many of the candidates.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Paul (registered) | Posted October 24, 2010 at 16:23:46

Di Ianni of all people could have afforded someone to properly look after his finances, it looks to me like he just didn't count on aybody looking very hard.

Regarding Press Release, just like he did when in power, he appears again to be trying to use the courts to shut people up so they are not reminded of his past legal entanglements.

For people who think his critics are too harsh, consider the fact that while the city has only a minority interested enough to vote, no other politician evokes such strong negative reactions. Why? It obviously has to do with his past actions while in power.

He divided this city like no other and hammered against those most concerned for its welfare for his own agenda.

In fairness he was not alone and many others currently in power should hold some of the blame and I can only hope no matter how faint that this election might start turning things around with some new faces on our next city council.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Haze the Rammer (anonymous) | Posted October 24, 2010 at 20:36:08

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By LauraF (registered) | Posted October 24, 2010 at 21:31:20

To be fair, when I was asked to read the paper, it was handed to me folded, and I was about three rows down before I unfolded it and started looking for the "Paid Advertisement" disclaimer.

IMO, there should have been a disclaimer at the top of the page. If you're looking at it just above the fold, you don't realize straight away that it's an ad.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 24, 2010 at 23:57:06

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/275/ http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/92...

This is far from an exhaustive list. And nobody who compiled it was a financial professional. I'm sorry, but Effort Trust, DeSantis Realty and Losani Homes are all located within a ten minute walk of City Hall on Main St.

DiIanni was accused of this during the '03 election campaign, and offered to open his books. When the Christopherson campaign (I was at their HQ at the time) and local media showed up the next morning, he retracted the offer. Those who discovered and first reported on the illegalities found them within a day or so of the release of the financial papers (I know because they told me over beers within a day or two of the election) - it was up online within the week (donations are disclosed the day after the election).

These donations speak for themselves. Don't tell me he didn't know.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted October 25, 2010 at 09:49:29

The fact that former chiefs of police, Brian Mullan and Ken Robertson endorsed convicted election fraud artist Larry DiIanni for Mayor should come as no surprise to anyone. These are two people who "worked their way up" from the inside of one of Canada's most corrupt and incompetent police forces (see Michael Dixon or Corey Rogers) and their wholly unprofessional, classless, chintzy behaviour, be it flogging alarm systems, dabbling in the politics of a municipality from which you've chosen to vacate or simply endorsing a cheat, speaks volumes about why the Hamilton Police Services Board went "outside" to pick its current chief.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Bellicose (anonymous) | Posted October 27, 2010 at 08:49:31

Di Ianni beat fred in the election and Bobbo the Clown won by promising to deamalgamate and not much else other than to put the stadium at Confederation Park. We will see if we are better off...and as for RTH...it backed Fred, the West Harbour, anti,AEGD, LRT in the downtown, end to area rating.....the biggest loser in all this was RTH it looks like.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted October 29, 2010 at 16:36:40

Larry D. was getting more press in the 'Burb papers (Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek etc. weeklies than any other candidate,in the Summer, before the election got rolling. He was not even a candidate @ the time. Do you remember something like,

"I'll never run for public office again." -? Do you remember who said words to that effect?

'Oooh Pleeeeeeease run, Larry!', whined the weeklies.
"You go Larry!" :P

If anything needs a good shake up here, maybe it's our local media. For this & a 1000 other insults to our collective intelligence, they should be taken with a grain of salt, & taken to task for doing such a poor job of reporting almost everything.(or just not reporting things at all.)

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By z jones (registered) | Posted October 29, 2010 at 19:23:23

"the weeklies" = Larry's buddy Mark Cripps.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds