September 2, 2022
(Photo: Nikki Kaur)
Brampton’s mayoralty hopeful Nikki Gurdeep Kaur has a long history of disseminating information that others have considered to be false or unsubstantiated. This includes a federal riding association president, forensic auditors, and just last month, the City’s Integrity Commissioner.
It started in the riding of East Hamilton Stoney Creek (HESC) when Nikki Kaur was the appointed Conservative candidate in the 2019 federal election. After her nomination, the entire HESC Conservative Board quit the campaign. This mass resignation was followed by Kaur’s first campaign manager John Mykytyshyn who also suddenly quit.
In a letter to the Conservative Party’s Executive Director, HESC riding association President Sandra Roshinko described Kaur with “…numerous occasions where she outright lied to either members of the campaign team or voters at public events” and “Her first instinct to be dishonest puts our (riding association) and our Party in a vulnerable position”.
After placing third in the federal election, Nikki Kaur headed to Brampton. She landed a director’s job at the City of Brampton working for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer. Her responsibilities included the administration of consultation contracts (such as BramptonU) that was approved by City Council. In the case of BramptonU, a recent Auditor’s report commissioned by the City indicated that “In early April 2019, Dr. Wheeler (BramptonU consultant) was contacted by Joe Pittari to initiate the development of the White Paper. In mid-April 2019, Dr. Wheeler submitted a proposal to the Office of the CAO to develop a Strategy for the Development and Establishment of the University of Brampton.”
Joe Pittari was the Acting CAO for the City of Brampton.
After the white paper (known as Phase 1) discussing the merits of a new university for Brampton, Dr. Wheeler was contacting Acting CAO Al Meneses for new work in order to fully implement the Brampton university strategy (Phase 2). The tender was awarded to Dr. Wheeler and his associates. The goal was to get approvals from the provincial government to fund a new university in Canada’s 9th largest city. According to a recent Auditor’s report commissioned by the City, the contracted deliverables for Phase 2 were not performed.
During Phase 2, things went awry. The morning after losing the federal nomination bid for Brampton West, Nikki Kaur leveled explosive allegations towards the Chief Administrative Officer and several members of her own office staff. The allegations were fully investigated by forensic auditors Deloitte at a cost of over $500,000.
- Kaur alleged inappropriate hiring practices. Forensic auditor Deloitte concluded there was no evidence that CAO David Barrick acted beyond his authority and no city policies or Standard Operating Procedures were contravened. This finding was confirmed by the Ontario Ombudsman, who concluded “our review indicates that the City has policies and practices in place to protect the fairness and transparency of staff/official hiring”.
- Kaur alleged purchasing violations involving consultants. Forensic auditor Deloitte concluded that the contracts complied with purchasing bylaw and no conflict of interest were found involving staff.
- Kaur alleged a former Director of Human resources made racist remarks involving the Black community. Forensic auditor Deloitte concluded the complaint was not substantiated.
- Other allegations either lacked sufficient evidence or was simply deemed unsubstantiated
She was terminated by the CAO. However, in an unprecedented move, Brampton City Council hired her back where she was transferred out of the CAO’s Office and into the Planning Department. In her new position, Nikki Kaur would then claim that during her work on BramptonU, she was harassed and bullied by Councillor Rowena Santos. Last month, after investigating these allegations, the City’s Integrity Commissioner dismissed the complaint as unsubstantiated. Each Integrity Commissioner complaint is estimated to cost $100,000.
The audit reports and Integrity Commissioner investigations have come at a significant cost to Brampton’s taxpayers. In fact, a lawyer for the Ontario Ombudsman’s wrote to City Clerk Peter Fay and recommended that Brampton review “policies developed by other municipalities to help insulate their complaint processes from abusive, unreasonable, persistent, or harassing members of the public”.
Adding up all the complaints from Nikki Kaur is estimated to have cost the City of Brampton about $1 million in tax dollars.
At last Council meeting, moved by Mayor Patrick Brown and seconded by City Councillor Jeff Bowman, Council unanimously passed a motion to have the City recuperate some of their costs from the complainant when the investigation findings deem the complaint to be false or unsubstantiated.
Nikki Kaur has now taken a Leave of Absence from her employment and is seeking to become Brampton’s next Mayor. The Brampton electorate will have the opportunity to decide if Kaur has the leadership for City Council. Her past has demonstrated the leadership style one can expect.