Deputy mayor stays silent on loan to troubled realty company

Published on March 21, 2016
Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth listens at Monday’s St. John’s weekly council meeting.

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.

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.

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.