Unjust Ban Of Craig Gammie Costing Taxpayers Tens Of Thousands (3-26)


The OSST August 20 article “South Bruce Peninsula Council Critic Not Allowed At Municipal Meetings” was fair and reasonably unbiased, but it missed some key information.

On November 20, 2012 I was banned from town hall.  On November 28th I applied to the court to quash the ban.  On May 23rd Judge Conlan recommended I abandon my application in favour of an out-of-court discussion process in which the town would decide whether to keep the resolution as is, or drop the resolution, or “vary” the resolution somewhere between “drop” and “keep”. I consented on the conditions that the ban be mostly lifted during the discussions, and that council hear my submissions by the end of July, and that council provide a written decision with reasons within 30 days of my oral submission, and that if I did not like the council decision or council’s reasons for its decision, I could bring the matter right back to court and once again ask the court to quash.

Council heard my submissions, and council varied the resolution, but instead of varying between “drop” and “keep as is”, council expanded and extended the ban.

I applied to the court again to have the resolution quashed.

On August 20 administrator Jacquie Farrow-Lawrence handed me a report that gave the decision to ban me and “reasons” for the decision.  The report is on my website at craiggammie.com.

But council did not see the report, and so could not have vetted or approved or “provided”, as was required by the court order of May 23rd, the “reasons”.  Council breached the court order.

Because the reasons are almost verbatim from John Close’s sworn affidavits of December 18 and December 20, which were not shared with council, I know that the “reasons” are not council’s but are, rather, John Close’s.

The reasons that John Close provided for banning me were:

1.     That I secretly and intentionally recorded two closed sessions,

2.     That I exhibited a pattern of questionable behavior, and,

3.     That I failed to demonstrate remorse for my questionable behavior and that I failed to understand “why [my] past behavior has been questionable”.  

The first allegation (secretly and intentionally recorded) is false. There is clear and ample evidence that both recordings were accidental rather than intentional.  I never even had possession of the recordings.  And on July 24th I resolved the problem of accidental recordings by committing not to ever bring a recorder to any council meeting.

The second allegation (questionable behavior) is too nebulous to have any meaning, but in its implied meaning of unlawful or even bad behavior is false. 

John Close’s examples of my “questionable behavior” include these allegations: bringing offensive and defamatory signs into council chambers; threatening Mike McMillan (twice); criminally assaulting Mark Wunderlich; intimidating and harassing staff; and, threatening the Clerk. Not included in the August 20 “examples”, but included in his affidavit of December 20 and also in his e-mails and witness statements, is the very serious allegation that I have been practicing engineering without a license.

The August 20 allegations and the engineering-without-a-license allegation are false, and are unsupportable, and have not been “questioned” in any legitimate court, and are unproven in any court, and have not been proven anywhere else.  (My rebuttals to all of John Close’s false allegations are in my submission to the court of February 7, which is on my website.)

All of John Close’s “questionable behavior” allegations are malicious and vexations, made not for any proper purpose (such as preventing accidental recordings), but rather to complement John Close’s campaign to stop me (and by example others) from participating in our democratic public policy process, and to stop me (and others) from criticizing his actions.

John Close’s reason number three for banning me (I failed to show remorse) is just plain absurd.  Real judges may consider remorse during a sentencing phase, after (and only after) the accused has been properly and fairly tried, and has been found guilty.  No sensible person expects an accused person to feel remorse for any act that they have not committed and for any act for which there is no charge and no finding of guilt. The  accusations against me are no more than allegations.  No court of competent jurisdiction has even considered whether I have committed any offense.

John Close’s inclusion of “demonstrated no remorse or understanding” makes it clear that he believes that he, as mayor, is the supreme, competent, omniscient, omnipotent, infallible, and fully authorized judge of all things in TSBP (and everywhere else).

“Mayor Supreme” is delusional. “Mayor Supreme” is unfit for office.

And in banning me, Mayor Supreme has already cost the taxpayers about $20,000 in legal fees, and will cost in my estimate at least another $25,000.

John Close’s campaign has not just been against me.  He has also made false allegations against John Schnurr, Rick Lyttle, and Orma Lyttle, and against three as yet unidentified bloggers (via what was ostensibly Rhonda Cook’s $700,000 lawsuit), and against  committee members who dared to speak up, and against many others.

So far John Close’s campaign against me has been a very serious inconvenience, but the harm to me has been small compared to the damages to others, many of whose physical and financial health have suffered.

And the general taxpayers have suffered.  In my estimate, much of the 2012 legal budget excess ($120,000) and much of the 2013 budget increase ($400,000) are for improper contributions to John Close’s personal campaign against his perceived opponents.

In his press releases and interviews of February 4 and May 24, 2011 John Close alleged that his opponents were “criminals”, and vowed to bring them to justice.  The allegations were unfounded, but the vow remained.

It has to stop.  It is not fair to the taxpayers.  And it is not right.

Craig Gammie

TSBP

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9 thoughts on “Unjust Ban Of Craig Gammie Costing Taxpayers Tens Of Thousands (3-26)

  1. saublejoe says:

    As much as I do not like the John Close administration, I can’t find fault with them wanting you out of meetings. You obviously have nothing constructive to contribute, and you never seem to stop whineing about how you have been mistreated. Even after you get caught a couple of times doing recording, and (it seems) suing anyone who does not agree with you, you still express suprise at this.

    If yoi would quit your stupid actions, and concentrate on real issues we would not have to waste these taxpayer dollars on lawyers.

    • cgammie says:

      Sauble Joe:

      When you say “I got caught a couple of times” the clear implication is that I deliberately tried to record closed session. That is the same as John Close’s allegation, and it is outrageous. Deliberately recording closed session is a crime. Are you really accusing me of a crime? If so on what grounds?

      As I indicated, the impact of John Close’s crusade on me is serious, but is small compared to the damage he has done to others, and small compared to the harm to the taxpayers in general.

      All residents have a right to participate in the democratic policy development process. Neither the mayor nor anyone else has the right to ban any resident from council just because of an accidental recording, or because the resident has launched a private legal proceeding, or because the mayor or council or some citizen like you believes the person has “nothing constructive to contribute”.

      Contrary to your assertion, I have not sued anyone and will not sue anyone merely on the grounds that they disagreed with me. Such a suit would fail. I have only sued people on grounds that they committed the common-law tort of defamation. It is my right to do so. If I am in the wrong the courts will tell me so. Your opinion is interesting, but it is not determinative, and I do believe it is wrong.

      My lawsuits are tiny and insignificant compared to the one filed by someone else against Rhonda Cook and against the Town.

      Using your “reasoning”, shouldn’t the person who filed that $750,000 lawsuit be banned from town hall, or from the whole Town of South Bruce Peninsula, or even from Bruce County?

      Craig

      • saublejoe says:

        Craig, I am not accusing you of a crime. I am saying you are a whiner who posts over and over about how bad you have been treated.

        I am saying that your waste of time lawsuits are costing me money because the town has to defend.

        I am saying that if you hate this council so much, run for it….. Oh yeah, you did.

    • cgammie says:

      Saublejoe:

      My question “are you accusing me of a crime?” was rhetorical. Of course you accused me of a crime.

      Most of my legal proceedings are private matters, brought against individuals. They are almost all conflict of interest applications. I brought the applications because I felt that certain council and board members were putting their own interests and their friends’ interests ahead of their duty to serve the public interest, and were doing so at great cost to the taxpayers. I was concerned that if I did not bring the applications, some members would just continue to use the power of their positions to serve themselves and their friends at the expense of the taxpayers, and with apparent impunity. My applications will hopefully reverse this, and get them serving the public interest. So far from costing the taxpayers money, my applications, if successful, will save the taxpayers, including you Joe, lots of money.

      And my applications should not be costing taxpayers any money anyway. With one exception, my applications are only costing you and other taxpayers money because council is inappropriately and illegally paying the legal bills in private matters where the town has no business being. The town should not be paying private matter legal bills. But they do it anyway. So it is John Close and council, not me, and not John Schnurr, that is costing you and the other taxpayers money.

      Even for my one proceeding where the town is named, and for John Shnurr’s one proceeding where the Town is named, the taxpayers will likely pay. But it was John Close and council, not me, and not John Shnurr, that did the bad acts that made the legal proceedings necessary. If the town (taxpayers) ends up paying legal costs it will be because a judge decided that council acted illegally or committed a tort. If council acts stupidly or illegally and someone protests and a judge agrees that council was wrong then the costs are on council, not me, and not John Schnurr.

      John Close, backed by council, sued me and three others for $700,000, using Rhonda Cook as the figurehead plaintiff-of-record. John Schnurr decided to defend himself and sued the town (and Cook). Is John Schnurr responsible for the costs already paid by taxpayers and the costs facing the taxpayers? Of course not. John Close and council are responsible.

      Who in their right mind would sit on their hands for three years waiting for an election (which might give us an even worse bunch) when there are provisions deliberately put in the Municipal Act to allow residents to keep council members from putting their own interests first?

      Craig

      • saublejoe says:

        Craig,

        I agree with you with your basic ideas about this towm. But you are your own worst enemy. The constant rehashing of how YOU are being mistreated is old. The use of courts is a waste of time and money for all. Its the old chicken little story. Your complaints no longer have effect because its no longer constructive, they have become only about you.

  2. thedodge says:

    By this time next year the election campaign will be in full stride. There will have to be a sea change in Council. Old loyalties will have to be shredded.

    This blog in the past has hinted at what is to come to pass in the current session such as Bruce’s comment here:
    https://bruceonthebruce.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/south-bruce-peninsula-fights-blogger/

    We can now with the benefit of hindsight see the initial attack in the pattern that Close has pursued. It has been a difficult session, far worse than the Councils of 2003 and 2006 and the previous Councils did establish some noteworthy benchmarks.

    It is my hope the voters will elect 5 people who will change the trend of the last 10 years. The Lyttles and others should be compensated for their loss and all legal proceedings settled. Some funds, if paid for legal services that were not authorized will have to be recovered. That will be a difficult task but some kind of closure will be required if we can get a council that is up to the task.

    Why do we form a Municipal Government and pay taxes?

    We all pay taxes for the delivery of basic services and that is the reason we elect specific people for the job. It is the reason we ask that the job be done properly and that we pay for the administrative structure that is required to do the job.

    All the rest is noise and it has been that waste of time and financial resources in the current session that will be what the Mayor Close 2010-1014 session will be known for.

    Look for the record to be part of the campaign.

    • cgammie says:

      Dodge:

      On August 20, 2013 John Close made ridiculous, unfounded allegations against a citizen (me) who had criticized him, banned me, and put the legal costs of the ban on the taxpayers’ backs.

      The link you provided shows that it’s an all-too-familiar scene.

      The link has a quote from the media about February 10, 2011:

      “Mayor John Close says the blog existed while the previous council was in office, and has made slanderous comments and personal attacks on municipal staff.

      “Close wouldn’t disclose the name of the person behind the blog, but says they will bring legal action.”

      So two and a half years ago, in a media interview, John Close made ridiculous, unfounded allegations against some citizens who had criticized him, and threatened to use taxpayers’ money to bring the perpetrators to justice, and then followed through on the threat.

      I was not a target in February 2011. Nevertheless, John Close should not have got away with it in February 2011, and he should not get away with it now.

      Craig

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