RCMP charge Calgary Coun. Joe Magliocca with breach of trust and fraud

Calgary Ward 2 Coun. Joe Magliocca has been charged with breach of trust and fraud under $5,000 relating to an expense scandal, RCMP said Friday.

RCMP began their investigation in August 2020 after it was passed on by the Calgary police.

Concerns over the councillor's spending were raised last year after a Postmedia investigation uncovered he had spent double what other Calgary councillors had at the 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City; $6,400 over the course of the four-day trip.

The councillor issued a public apology.

A subsequent third-party forensic audit into Magliocca's expenses between November 2017 and July 2019 uncovered thousands of dollars in improper expense claims for things like seat upgrades on flights, meals and alcohol.

He was barred from participating in city business trips for the remainder of the year and was ordered by council to undergo training on expense policies.

By the end of April, Magliocca had repaid nearly $10,000 to the city.

Although the councillor issued an apology prior to the forensic audit, he hasn't issued one since it was released -- which was one of the terms in the list of sanctions leveled against him by council.

First elected in 2013 in the northwest Calgary ward, Magliocca is running for re-election in the Oct. 18 civic vote.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 15.

Jennifer Wyness, one of five people running against Magliocca, says he should have stepped down when the scandal first came to light.

"But under the current rules he's allowed to (run again), so now it's up to the voters to send a message to Joe and say, 'this is not the representation we want, we want someone to work for us and not for themselves,'" she said.

Francis Aranha, who is also running in Ward 2, said the charges show "a lack of transparency, which of course leads to a loss of trust and integrity."

Mayor Nenshi's office provided the following statement:

"People need to have faith and trust in their elected officials. Councillor Magliocca’s actions also caused the city to do an investigation of all other councillors' expenses that identified no other wrongdoing," he said. "Nonetheless, we tightened up our procedures and created a new expense policy and process to close any loopholes."

"However, this points to the need for stronger sanctioning authority for city councils. The Province of Alberta refused to take action on this matter and now it’s before the courts, in the midst of an election. We should have been able to take stronger action sooner."

CTV Calgary has reached out to Magliocca for comment.

Early Friday evening, Magliocca's attorney Greg Dunn provided the following statement:

“The timing of this matter - literally days before the election - reeks of political motivation," Dunn said.  "This is a civil matter involving an unintentional mistake of less than $4,000.00 for which my client has already voluntarily repaid.  Our client is innocent and will vigorously contest the allegations.”

This is a developing story and will be updated through the day …