Deputy mayor stays silent on loan to troubled realty company

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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St. John’s Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth is still not answering questions about reports of a loan made to the owner of Exit Realty on the Rock.

Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth listens at Monday’s St. John’s weekly council meeting.

Following the first city council meeting since NTV broke details of a $50,000 loan provided to Anne Squires — to be paid back two months later with an additional $10,000 as the “cost of borrowing” — Ellsworth declined to comment. The $10,000 fee to borrow $50,000 for two months effectively amounts to 120 per cent annual interest, double the limit set by Canada’s Criminal Code.

City hall mum on Ellsworth loan

 Deputy mayor lent Anne Squires $50K: report

Mayor Dennis O’Keefe also declined to say much beyond directing questions to Ellsworth.

“The city’s position, I’ll reiterate, is that is a personal issue that the deputy mayor will deal with, and questions related to it should be directed to him,” said O’Keefe after Monday’s meeting.

The city’s position, I’ll reiterate, is that is a personal issue that the deputy mayor will deal with, and questions related to it should be directed to him. St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe

O’Keefe said he didn’t have any concerns about the reports of the loan.

“The public should have confidence in city council,” he said. “City council is a group of 11 people, led by the mayor, and the public has every right to feel confident that council is handling their affairs. The issue that the deputy mayor is dealing with is, again, a private issue and a personal issue, and he should be the one to react to any questions that you may have.”

O’Keefe said he spoke to Ellsworth “casually” about the issue Monday, but repeated that it’s a private issue for the deputy mayor.

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Ed
    March 23, 2016 - 14:40

    I don't care about him loaning money or the interest rate as long as council is not involved. If he broke the law, he should be charged by the police if not - forget about it. I only care about what he is doing as a member of the city council.

  • Joe
    March 22, 2016 - 11:57

    maybe the paper should interview some of the people at city hall to see what they really think of the top three amigos on Gower. That is where money can be saved.

  • Joe
    March 22, 2016 - 11:56

    Interesting to see how the council reacts? Will they rally or throw to the wolves? I guess they will now proceed with the review and protect the top city managers while trying strip the good operations.

  • Rocky Leggbraker
    March 22, 2016 - 07:50

    What he did before getting elected to Council does not matter unless he broke the law. If he did not break the law, the rest is a business deal that failed. Remember, he did lose his 50 grand and no fees or interest were paid either.

  • Jim
    March 22, 2016 - 07:48

    He would be wise to stay silent on this issue. Not on with the double interest under the CCC but also for interest income earned - Revenue Canada would likely want to have a look as well.

  • Bob Hallett
    March 22, 2016 - 07:36

    'The public should have confidence in city council', says O'Keefe. Of all the nonsense that man has spouted in the past few months, that statement takes the prize. On top of ignoring their heritage regulations, the Mayor's dubious trips, the golden handshakes, secretive meetings, and the terrible, terrible budget, O'Keefe has the gall to say that we should have confidence in his leadership? Ellsworth is the Deputy Mayor, and regardless of the legalities of his loan, it's revelation requires more then a series of 'no comments'. He is responsible for the financial stewardship of what has become a very shaky sit vessel, and such loans have the potential to place him in a serious conflict of interest. The public deserves more then smirking indifference. Once again, when his leadership is most needed, O'Keefe looks out the window.

  • Sandra
    March 22, 2016 - 07:14

    That is funny "The public should have confidence in city council,” he said. “City council is a group of 11 people, led by the mayor, and the public has every right to feel confident that council is handling their affairs". Has he not been following the media and comments. There is no confidence in the council and esp the mayor.