Niagara-on-the-Lake councillor cleared in controversial money exchange
Published September 25, 2023 at 11:23 am
Niagara-on-the-Lake officials reported that Councillor Gary Burroughs has been cleared by Ted McDermott, the town’s integrity commissioner, over the situation where a prominent developer handed him an envelope filled with money last March.
It seems McDermott cleared Burroughs quite some time ago – Council was informed at a closed session on June 20 – but the Town never released the news to the public, a situation that bothered Burroughs.
Finally, last week, Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa released a statement saying Burroughs had been cleared.
The integrity commissioner, Zalepa said, “concluded that there are no grounds before him to warrant further investigation.”
The situation began on March 4 when a prominent developer, Benny Marotta, owner of the award-winning Two Sisters Winery, gave Burroughs an envelope allegedly containing $10,000. Burroughs said he tried to return it to the developer the next day but Marotta suggested he donate it to his church.
On March 6, Burroughs gave the envelope to Town CAO Marnie Cluckie, who in turn, was forced to bring the integrity commissioner in. Cluckie herself made sure the cash was returned to Marotta.
Zalepa reported last week that “Town Council acknowledges Councillor Burroughs’ role in reporting the incident in a timely manner.”
He added, “Council thanks Councillor Burroughs and his family for their patience as the matter was investigated and for cooperation throughout the process to ensure all proper steps were taken.”
Perhaps tellingly, the Niagara Police, who were also investigating, dropped the case last April.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising