WINNIPEG – Mayor Brian Bowman is calling for a public inquiry into the construction of the new Winnipeg Police headquarters after court documents revealed allegations that former city CAO Phil Sheegl was paid $200,000 for helping Caspian Construction land the project.
The court documents, obtained by Global News, also allege Sheegl appeared to have shared that money with the former mayor, Sam Katz.
RCMP documents allege Sheegl was paid $200,000 and gave half the money to Katz. None of the allegations has been proven in court.
“This incident is the most seriously damaging to the public’s trust to date,” said Bowman after learning of the allegations.
The documents allege Sheegl “did commit a breach of trust in connection with the duties of his office by accepting $200,000 for showing favor” to the owner of Caspian.
Bowman says he’ll put forward a motion at the next city council meeting. It would be up to the province to call the inquiry.
“I’m deeply disturbed, distressed and angered by these allegations, and all Winnipeggers should be too,” Bowman said.
He says specifics on how the inquiry would work will be determined in the next few weeks. It’s possible it could also look into other controversial real estate deals. It’s unclear how much it would be cost or who would foot the bill.
In a statement sent to Global News, Manitoba Attorney General Heather Stefanson suggested she wouldn’t be prepared to call the inquiry until RCMP finish their larger investigation.
“While our government understands the concerns raised by the Mayor of Winnipeg, it would be premature for the Attorney General of Manitoba to comment on an issue that remains under active criminal investigation. This is vital to ensure the integrity of the process.”
RCMP have been investigating allegations of inflated invoices and fraud involved in construction of the police headquarters for two years now. It began with a raid on the Caspian Construction offices. No criminal charges have been laid against anyone.
Robert Tapper, the lawyer representing Sheegl and Katz, is denying the allegations on behalf of his clients.
Police moved into the new headquarters in late 2015. The project ended up costing roughly $75 million dollars more than budgeted.