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Judge orders Elliot Lake mayor removed from office

Chris Patrie says he will meet with his lawyer tomorrow to discuss next steps, including possible appeal; ruling says he should be disqualified for two years
Chris Patrie, pictured in this file photo, is to be removed from council and disqualified from holding office for two years.

A judge has ordered Mayor Chris Patrie removed from office after ruling that he violated two sections of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act during his previous term as a city councillor.

In a lengthy decision released Monday night, Ontario Superior Court Justice Annalisa Rasaiah concluded that Patrie breached sections 5(1) and (2) of the Act by lobbying fellow councillors to build a $30-million planned sports hub next to a plaza owned by a corporation controlled by he and his wife.

The timing of the ruling resulted in tonight’s council meeting being chaired by deputy mayor Andrew Wannan. Patrie was not present.

“This court finds that the appropriate penalty for this breach is removal from office and disqualification from being a member for a period of two years,” the ruling reads.

Reached by ElliotLakeToday, Patrie said the ruling has devastated him and his family and that he feels disgusted by it.

He said he plans to meet with his lawyers on Tuesday morning to discuss a “stay” of the decision and a possible appeal. Patrie is not sure when the removal order would take effect.

CAO Daniel Gagnon declined to comment on the ruling, saying only that he expects the city will issue a statement later discussions with its lawyers.

The ruling concludes that Patrie made inappropriate attempts to persuade fellow councillors to vote against the city purchasing the property of the former Algo Mall site for the recreation hub. At that time, councillor Patrie favoured building the hub near the ski hill and in close proximity to a commercial plaza owned by a corporation — the shares of which were owned by him and his wife.

“The record substantiates that from November 2017 to April 2019, Patrie was repeatedly involved in expressing the Ski Hill Road property as an option for the Hub,” the ruling states.

About the Author: Kris Svela

Kris Svela has worked in community newspapers for the past 36 years covering politics, human interest, courts, municipal councils, and the wide range of other topics of community interest
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