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Brampton’s Former Integrity Commissioner is Suing Councillors for “Illegal” Firing.

Former integrity commissioner of Brampton, Muneeza Shiekh, will be suing the city and the councillors for $20 million due to her “illegal” firing.

Former integrity commissioner of Brampton, Muneeza Shiekh, will be suing the city and the councillors for $20 million due to her “illegal” firing. Mayor Patrick Brown is supporting Shiekh’s lawsuit.

The councillors who were named in the suit include: Gurpreet Dhillon, Cooney Fortini, Martin Medeiros, Doug Whilans, Charmaine Williams, and Jeff Bowman. Sheikh is suing all the councillors listed above for $3 million each and is suing Pat Fortini $75,000 for defamation.
Sheikh will also be suing the city for $1 million for breach of contract and $1 million for punitive damages.

According to Shiekh, several councillors defamed her when they publicly claimed Shiekh was overbilling. Shiekh claims her billable rate was $550 per hour but Cooney Fortini stated that Shiekh’s fees had increased to $750,000 since 2020. Fortini said that the integrity commissioner for the Region of Peel has a fixed rate of $110,000 per year.

Sheikh also claims that three councillors had ethics investigations waiting to happen when they voted for her dismissal.

Sheikh’s main point of criticism is how her firing occurred; The councilors had a closed council meeting and the proceeded to change the bylaw from requiring two-thirds majority for the dismissal of an integrity commissioner to needing only the simple majority.

The motion to dismiss Sheikh passed with 5-3 vote with two councillors declaring a conflict because of matters that were under review by Sheikh.

“My client’s termination as integrity commissioner was purely retaliatory,” said Sheikh’s lawyer Kathryn Marshall. “She was egregiously targeted for removal because of a decision she made with respect to a serious allegation of sexual assault against a councillor… (Dhillon)” said Marshall.

In an email exchange between Mayor Patrick Brown and Denise Cooney (Sheikh’s attorney), Brown said Fortini told him the reason the councillors voted to dismiss Sheikh had nothing to do with her fees, they just wanted to “keep Mr. Dhillon happy.”

“That’s what it was about,” said Brown in an interview. Brown calls the council’s move “illegal” and claimed it was payback.

“You’re always doing the right thing if you’re telling the truth. It’s why I felt firing the integrity commissioner was wrong and everyone knew what it was about,” said Brown.

 

This article was written by Kamakshi Dhillon as part of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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