Judge dismisses conflict complaint against Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz

WINNIPEG – A judge has dismissed a complaint against Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz over a taxpayer-funded Christmas party at a restaurant he owned.

The party at the Asian restaurant in 2010 cost just over $3,000.

Joe Chan, the owner of another restaurant, had asked the court to declare that Katz violated a broadly worded section of a provincial conflict-of-interest law.

Chan’s lawyer argued that Katz was in conflict because he invited fellow councillors and staff to a restaurant from which he profited.

But Katz’s lawyer said the law is aimed at preventing municipal politicians from trying to influence votes that might benefit them.

Katz would have lost his job had Justice Brenda Keyser’s decision gone the other way.

Katz is not the first mayor to face legal trouble over a conflict-of-interest accusation.

Last October, an Ontario Superior Court justice ordered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford out of office for taking part in a council vote on whether he should repay $3,150 raised for his private football foundation. Ford appealed and the ruling was overturned.