Nenshi says he's on the hook for $100,000 in legal bills over lawsuit

Defamation lawsuit lasted nearly two years before out-of-court settlement was achieved

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

CALGARY — A lawsuit filed by a local builder against Calgary’s mayor was dropped but the process has resulted in Naheed Nenshi facing legal fees nearing the six-figure mark.

Nenshi says the defamation lawsuit lasted nearly two years and left him with a bill of roughly $100,000.

He says under a new policy, the city would pay the fees but he wants to pay the bill himself, saying taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for the costs.

Nenshi says donors have been willing to chip in but so far he has not accepted.

He says if it could be done without him knowing the names of the donors, “that would be terrific,” but he doesn’t think that will work.

Developer Cal Wenzel sued Nenshi for defamation, seeking damages for public remarks made by the mayor during the 2013 civic election campaign.

The two men reached an out-of-court settlement in December, with Nenshi apologizing and Wenzel being ordered to pay $10,000 of Nenshi’s legal costs.

Ward 4 councillor Sean Chu says the mayor’s bill could have been a lot less expensive if he had just said “sorry” earlier.

Nenshi says if his legal costs are covered by people other than him, he will release their names and the amount they paid.