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2010-12-08 at 17:52

Former councillor contravened conflict of interest act court says

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A decision has now come down in a case against a former member of Thunder Bay city council.

Former McKellar Ward Coun. Robert Tuchenhagen has been fighting allegations of conflict of interest which stems from a vacant city owned building that was purchased by Tuchenhagen in 2008.

Thunder Bay resident and Furniture Recycle owner Gilles Mondoux filed a court application against Tuchenhagen in an effort to remove him from office. Mondoux alleged that the veteran councillor used his position to purchase property on North Hardisty Street. Wednesday the court ruled that Tuchenhagen contravened the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

As part of the decision, Tuchenhagen has now been disqualified from being a member of city council for a period of four years starting Wednesday. Mondoux's claim for restitution was dismissed.

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loring says:
does he have to forfeit the property????
12/8/2010 5:58:32 PM
baybrewer says:
Is anyone able to clarify this for me?

"Tuchenhagen has now been disqualified from being a member of city council for a period of four years starting Wednesday"

To me that just sounds like he is able to run next election. Could this have played a factor in him not running for re-election?
12/8/2010 6:57:03 PM
worker1 says:
One round to the little guy..
Congrats: Gillies Mondoux...
12/8/2010 7:05:14 PM
keep it real says:
all this because the whiner from furniture recycle was OUT BID on the property by Touchenhagen, whatever Touchenhagen's position at the time was means nothing he was the highest bidder, sounds like furniture guy wanted something for nothing
for not getting his own way, what a clown
12/9/2010 12:27:05 AM
notamused says:
I guess that means he won't be able to run for almost eight years. Good!!
12/9/2010 6:31:11 AM
a nice guy says:
Sounds like he's getting off with an irrelevant slap on the wrist. I hope the natural consequences of the our citicen's knowing that he was greedy and untrustworthy will stand as a lesson for him and others in positions of power.
12/9/2010 9:14:38 AM
northervoice says:
Just in time for the next election?
12/9/2010 9:56:18 AM
end_user says:
Tuchenhagen was the highest bidder for this property and his bid far exceeded Moundoux's!!
- the city of Thunder Bay found that Tuchenhagen did not have a conflict of interest, but council threw him under the bus and elected not to defend him against this legal b.s.
12/9/2010 10:59:52 AM
Centrist says:
Considering Tuchenhagen's attitude when leaving council and now this situation where he was found guilty... I question this guy's tact.

It's sad that we paid him throughout his lackluster time on council.
12/9/2010 11:41:18 AM
Nitesky says:
Has anyone else been caught by a red light on Arthur while the parking lot of Thunder Bay Mall has a green? How about after hours when nobody is at the Mall and there is no car at the light waiting to enter Arthur?
Make any sense?
12/9/2010 12:33:42 PM
myopic not foolish says:
This is the guy that:
1. Wasn’t elected to city council
2. Proposed that stupid of 3 questions rule for council to ask admin
3. Whined about how fire fighters are the most spoiled brats in the city
4. Whined about how long council meetings were
5. Voted on side of the worst decisions council made like waterfront development, the wind farm, etc.

At least he won’t be on council anytime soon.

Turn out the lights the party's over and all good things must end.......
12/9/2010 3:26:31 PM
john@otb says:
I believe the fact that Mr. Tuchenhagen was holding a seat on council put him in a place of conflict of interest. There are rules set in place for anyone holding certain positions from gaining financially, and this would be one of them. Inside information is just that. Having said that, I do believe he got off lightly. I would also like to recommend that in the future, when a council seat does become vacant, that council go back to the voting public to fill that vacancy. This gives the public a voice as to who they would like to see represent them.
12/9/2010 4:33:26 PM
trevor99 says:
keep it real

If I read this right, the court just determined that a member of City Council used his position to further his own financial interests.

And if I read your posting correct, you don't have a problem with that.
12/9/2010 5:46:13 PM
tsb says:
To run in the next election, a person must be considered eligible to run on a certain date, several months before election day. Tuchenhagen will not be eligible on that date, therefore he will not be allowed to run for municipal politics again until 2018.

@Keep it real: If I remember the story correctly, Mondoux proposed to buy the property for one dollar. Tuchenhagen, on the board which considered these bids, voted against it, and the bid as lost. Then Tuchenhagen purchased the property for about 1,000 dollars. If I am correct, then that is obviously a conflict of interest--he voted down someone else's bid to bid on it himself. Had he bid at the same time as Mondoux, this wouldn't even be an issue.
12/9/2010 7:15:31 PM
TBDR says:
no he won't be able to run next election because he would still be under suspension into the start of the next term on council.
12/9/2010 7:38:50 PM
The Wolf says:
tsb - I thought I remember reading Mondoux was a bid of $100 and Tuchenhagen bid $5000.

With such a vast difference in the bids I am not sure how its a conflict of interest, maybe I am missing something. I am not a supporter of Tuchenhagen but I have to defend him a bit in this case as he was not aware of the conflict of interest because if he did he would of simply had a friend or relative put in the bid. That's being a snake and abusing power, Tuchenhagen real act was ignorance of a politician not experienced enough to be in his position, something like Mayor Hobbs is right now.
12/9/2010 10:36:31 PM
warren says:
I find it hard to believe that the City of Thunder Bay does not have a whole list of requirements that need to be met before a city councilor would be allowed to bid on anything let alone take possession of real estate.
The city found Mr. Tuchanhagen to be not-in-conflict at the time they elected to sell the property to him.
The fact that some clown feels that he is entitled to get property for free seems obscene - but only outdone by the councilor that perjured himself by saying they were in attendance at an in camera meeting when they were not -
This whole thing seems to be politically motivated -
12/9/2010 11:29:32 PM
end_user says:
tsb -
$1.00 - Really!!! That's what Moundoux had agreed to pay the city.
Who do I need to talk to to at the City to buy Real Estate?
I have $0.37, a half eaten cheeseburger and three cases of empties - I figure I should be able to afford at least half a block on Simpson Street ;)

12/10/2010 1:50:29 AM
hadenough says:
Frankly, there needs to be further investigation of this matter. Former councilman Tuchenhagen is not the only councilman who has profitted from the aquisition of City property.
At no time should an elected official or their family be able to bid on and purchase assets that are City controled. Ever.
There's a lot more to this story that needs to be brought forward.
12/10/2010 8:19:48 AM
tbaybmkr says:
Next you people will say they won't be able to own a business in the city as they will be supporting big business and not the people of this city...
You peeps remind me of the crowd around the guillotine...
12/10/2010 9:02:00 AM
unknowncronic says:
Crime comes in so many different forms, yet he broke the law and only got banned until 2018?? Where is the LAW in this? He knew it was a conflict of intrest, yet decided to proceed with it anyways? Unreal...And he is suppose to be a citizen that people look upto? How this can happen is beyond me...The nerve of some people...
12/10/2010 12:06:15 PM
myopic not foolish says:
"You peeps remind me of the crowd around the guillotine..."
So when is your turn to step up to the chopping block? We want to be entertained.
12/10/2010 1:56:38 PM
tsb says:
"Tuchenhagen real act was ignorance of a politician not experienced enough to be in his position, something like Mayor Hobbs is right now."

First, I can't recall how much each party bid. I just know Mondoux's bid was very low (which is typical of those kinds of auctions) and Tuchenhagen's was slightly higher but still nowhere near the building's market value, or probably even the taxes it owed.

Second, Tuchenhagen has been on council since the early 1990s, first in McIntyre then in McKellar. He was actually one of the longest serving councillors on the last council. If anyone on that council would have experience, it would be him.

"$1.00 - Really!!! That's what Moundoux had agreed to pay the city.
Who do I need to talk to to at the City to buy Real Estate?
I have $0.37, a half eaten cheeseburger and three cases of empties - I figure I should be able to afford at least half a block on Simpson Street ;)"

You understand how that kind of bid works, right? The Catholic board bought Lakeview HS for a dollar.

The average price of a lot on Simpson Street or Hardisty Street is over $20,000 if it is vacant, up to $350,000 if there is a building on it. And the tax rate is over 6%. Enjoy.
12/10/2010 2:31:42 PM
end_user says:
tsb -

If the Catholic School Board given Real Estate for $1.00 I have no issue with that, nor do I think anyone reading this would either as the purchaser is another non-profit public user -

This however is a completely different situation - someone that works for the City thought it was ok give away Real Estate to Mondoux (a private individual) for $1.00 - I would like to know who at the City authorized this in the first place!!!!

Also - it is not possible that Mr. Tuchenhagen was the only one that voted against giving away this property to Mondoux, as Tuchenhagen could not have voted it down by himself without others voting the same way.

The better question is - which councillor's were in favor of giving away this property to a private individual in the first place rather than posting it for sale to the general public?

The City is funded through tax payer dollars and electing to give something to Moundoux or any other private individual without first marketing it for sale to the general public should be illegal, assuming it is not already.

Tuchenhagen and the other council members that voted against giving something to a private person in the first place did the right thing.

Also - once the property was posted for tax sale, anyone, including you, me, the Catholic School Board, or anyone else could have bid for this property and purchased it - if they were the high bidder -

If Tuchenhagen bought the property for $5000, that is $4,999 more than the city would have gotten otherwise.

As for the "market value" - if the City Real Estate Department in all their wisdom thought that this property was worth so in the first place and that a tax sale would not achieve the highest dollar amount, they should have listed it for sale with a Real Estate agent - Given that it looks like someone working for the city tried to sneak a fast one past the taxpayers in the first place though, I don't find it at all surprising..

So - you tell me - who at the City has the authority to give away property to private individuals in the first place - I'd like to get me some of that free Real Estate...
12/10/2010 11:50:58 PM
Jim.S says:
Does anyone know how everyone on City Council voted at the original meeting?
12/11/2010 11:54:01 AM
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