Calgary Coun. Joe Magliocca is being asked to repay more ineligible expense claims.
Earlier this year, a forensic audit uncovered numerous problems with the councillor’s expenses. He had improperly claimed nearly $6,000 in the past two years and the independent audit presented outstanding questions about another $10,000.
One of the unresolved issues was how to deal with seven flight upgrades he charged to the city.
On Tuesday, council’s finance committee voted 9-0 to request Magliocca pay back the $3,200 difference between what he claimed and the average of what other council members claimed for flights to those events. Magliocca had already repaid in excess of $500, leaving $2,700 outstanding.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said should Magliocca not repay the expenses, council has no formal recourse.
“We are requesting him to pay that amount. As always, should he choose not to do so, we don’t really have any recourse. But it is now on the record that committee has asked for this,’ he said.
“Ultimately, the real authority lies in the hands of the voters.”
Coun. Magliocca said in an emailed statement that he repaid ineligible expenses months ago, and is in the process of voluntarily repaying any airfare costs that were in excess of what other councillors claimed.
He said he previously struggled with his weight, which is why he booked seats with more room, and has since lost more than 100 pounds.
Flight upgrades are against council policy.
“I have always intended to follow city policies strictly and, as previously stated, I apologize if I was in error,” he said.
“I would hope that council also apply this same standards of audit and review to the travel expenses of the rest of council,” he added, referring to a $90,000 trip taken by the mayor, members of Calgary Economic Development and Coun. George Chahal.
Here are Magliocca expenses vs what other councillors charged the City. <a href=”https://t.co/IyobIqNMdn”>pic.twitter.com/IyobIqNMdn</a>
Following the audit, council voted to issue a letter of reprimand to Magliocca, requesting he write a public letter of apology and take training on proper city procedures. Months later, Magliocca has not made that public apology.
Some of Magliocca’s expense claims included meals and alcohol for meetings that some attendees he claimed he met with said never actually took place.
In fact, the investigation found 11 attendees he claimed he hosted said they were not in attendance, and the auditors said there were “numerous” other attendees it was unable to contact to confirm if meetings had taken place.
The committee also voted to direct council’s expense working group to attempt to contact those attendees.
The results of the audit were forwarded to the Calgary Police Service, which referred the matter to the RCMP for investigation.
Council also sent the audit to former minister of municipal affairs Kaycee Madu, now the justice minister, who unlike council has the power to remove an elected city councillor. But the minister said that resolving the situation would be left up to council.
Nenshi said that Tracy Allard, who was appointed minister of municipal affairs in August, echoed that sentiment in a letter to him last week.