Reprehensible. Scandalous. An abuse of the courts.
Mayor Gregor Robertson has come out swinging to defend his actions – and his job – after a lawsuit was filed against him by a political opponent alleging he inked a sweetheart deal for city property with social media company Hootsuite.
“I intend to deal with this quickly and forcefully. The case is entirely without merit, and the facts speak for themselves,” Robertson said in a statement Monday.
And he’s hired the big guns to defend him. Lawyer Joe Arvay, who has successfully argued landmark Canadian cases including the right to operate supervised injection sites, will represent the mayor.
The mayor filed his response in B.C. Supreme Court Monday to the lawsuit filed in February by mayoral candidate Glen Chernen of the upstart Cedar Party and others.
The lawsuit alleges Robertson received “significant” campaign contributions from Hootsuite – the mayor hosted Twitter town halls at the company’s headquarters and attended events with its CEO – and broke the Vancouver Charter by voting to grant the company a lease to the building at 5 East 8 Ave. It asks the courts to boot him from office.
Robertson’s response, however, notes various factual inaccuracies in Chernen’s lawsuits (including dates and events), says the lease was at or above fair market value and denies any direct or indirect financial interest.
The lawsuit is “so obviously devoid of any legal merit that the only reasonable inference the court should draw is that this proceeding was commenced for an improper collateral purpose, namely to damage Mayor Robertson politically,” the response states.
“The obvious lack of legal merit of this proceeding, together with its apparent political purpose, ought to attract an award of special costs.”
Hootsuite’s spokesperson said in February the company believes the transaction was done at fair market value.