Former Winnipeg CAO to be sued separately over police HQ project, judge rules

By | June 9, 2020

WINNIPEG — The City of Winnipeg’s former chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl will be sued separately over the downtown police headquarters project, a judge ruled Tuesday morning.

Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal told court he’s granting the request made by Sheegl’s lawyer Robert Tapper.

Sheegl is one of 27 defendants named in a lawsuit filed by the City of Winnipeg in January over alleged fraud during the construction of the building.

The cost of the police headquarters project ballooned, ending up tens of millions of dollars over budget.

The city alleges it suffered financial losses because the defendants — including the contractor Caspian Construction, Sheegl and several others — conspired with each other to obtain a secret profit for their own benefit.

Tapper argued Monday the claim against Sheegl should be severed from the lawsuit and heard as a separate matter because the allegations against Sheegl are different than the allegations against Caspian.

He told court the case is about contractual performance which has nothing to do with Sheegl.

“The only allegation of fact against my client is that he put out a contract for a bribe,” Tapper told court Monday. “He had nothing to do with the performance of the contract.”

Tapper argued Sheegl shouldn’t have to sit through months of legal proceedings because of his disproportionate involvement.

“My client is going to have to spend a small fortune to be involved in something he had nothing to do with,” Tapper argued on Monday.

Joyal also accepted an amended statement of claim from the city but dismissed other motions by lawyers for the defendants which sought to strike out portions of the claim and get more particulars on the allegations against their clients.

The matter will be back in court on Monday when the city is expected to make its case for the RCMP and Manitoba Justice to turn over documents seized during a criminal investigation into the construction of the police headquarters.

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