The Ontario Provincial Police are investigating a multi-million partial sale of Collingwood’s power utility under the town’s mayor Sandra Cooper.
It is alleged that Cooper, colluded with her brother, former Liberal MP Paul Bonwick in the sale.
Bonwick earned over a million dollars in consultation fees while the sale was taking place. Bonwick alleges that the earnings were legitemate as he provided a service through his company Compenso Communications.
Collingwood’s current mayor, Brain Saunderson called for town council probe into the affair while a member of the council.
Currently no charges have been laid while the OPP continues their investigation. Findings will not be released by the public inquiry until the Fall.
Bonwick who was an MP for Simco-Grey consulted for the company PowerStream which bought a 50 per cent share in the town’s power utility, although the utility was being offered better deals from another buyer.
Insiders at the power utility were then awarded bonuses and Bonwick made upwards to $323,000 during his consultation. The public was never notified about the mayor’s brothers involvement in the deal and it is alleged that the buyer had access to private council information.
“It paints a picture which is yet to be proven of a very flawed process that ended up in a deal that brought a subpar return for our taxpayers and will continue to haunt taxpayers for years to come,” said Mayor Saunderson.
The inquiry will also investigate how the money was spent after the deal. One of the sums is a $12.4 million contract to built structures over a Collingwood pool and skating rink.
In that deal Bonwick made another $756,000 in consultation fees for BLT Construction, aiding in the contractor acquiring the deal.
“I remain hopeful that as the inquiry gets underway, and the subsequent recommendations that will be provided by Justice (Frank) Marrocco, a much more clear understanding of the events leading up to the sale of the utility will be made available to the public,” said Bonwick.
As part of the inquiry, former mayor and sister of Bonwick, Sandra Cooper also has to testify.