Former councillor again pushing for audit of election opponent's finances
LONDON, Ont. -- A former city councillor is renewing his legal fight seven weeks after his original motion was tossed out of court.
Bill Armstrong will ask a judge to resurrect his complaint that Councillor Shawn Lewis broke municipal election rules in 2018.
“It should not have been dismissed. What we are asking for is to breathe new life into it, your honour, give us another opportunity to follow the procedure.”
Armstrong went against advice of courthouse staff, filing an application rather than an appeal. In September, Justice David Aston ruled that the procedural mistake left Armstrong's application “fatally flawed.”
Armstrong will now ask a judge to reopen his appeal because he feels a procedural mistake doesn't nullify his legal argument.
Earlier this year Armstrong asked for a compliance audit of Lewis' campaign spending, but the Compliance Audit Committee ruled there was insufficient evidence to justify spending public money on an audit.
That's when Armstrong filed his original appeal to the courts.
Armstrong wants a judge to order city hall to conduct a compliance audit of Lewis' campaign, or have Lewis voluntarily submit to a compliance audit.
“All his papers are together, they are probably all in a file folder, why not go ahead and prove me wrong. Prove me wrong.”
Lewis presented documents to the Compliance Audit Committee in July refuting claims made by Armstrong.
The documents were part of the committee’s justification not to order an audit at the time.
Lewis tells CTV News Thursday, “It’s ridiculous someone in default on filing an audit (Armstrong) would demand someone who has had an audit, and a Compliance Audit Committee review, submit to a third audit process at my own cost.”
Lewis continues to deny violating any election rules, “This comes down to, in my view, Mr. Armstrong trying to weaponize the courts because he lost an election.”
But Armstrong stands behind his decision to breathe new life in his complaint, “If there is nothing wrong I will be the first to apologize to Mr. Lewis.”
Armstrong says he has already served city hall with the necessary paperwork and expects to have Lewis served with the same paperwork shortly.