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Ontario integrity commissioner will not investigate Las Vegas trip involving Greenbelt developer at this time

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Ontario’s integrity commissioner will not be pursuing an investigation into a former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister’s trip to Las Vegas at this time given the broad RCMP Greenbelt investigation underway.

In October, the Ontario New Democratic Party asked Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake to review whether Mississauga East-Cooksville MPP Kaleed Rasheed broke multiple sections of the Members Integrity Act by giving preferential treatment to a developer.

The sections of the Member’s Integrity Act being discussed include conflict of interest, the use of insider information and influence, and the acceptance of gifts.

The investigation request targets a trip Rasheed and then–principal secretary to Premier Doug Ford, Amin Massoudi, took in February 2020. The parties told the integrity commissioner they “exchanged pleasantries” with developer Shakir Rehmatullah in the lobby of a Las Vegas hotel; however there were some discrepancies in their story.

When speaking with the integrity commissioner for a separate investigation into then-Housing Minister Steve Clark’s handling of the Greenbelt, the parties provided the wrong date for the trip. They say it was an honest mistake as the trip had been rescheduled.

CTV News Toronto also confirmed the three individuals—Rasheed, Massoudi and Rehmmatullah—got massages at the same time while on the trip.

Rehmatullah is the founder of FLATO Development, a company listed as the owner of two of the sites removed from the Greenbelt. The NDP allege that Rehmatullah is also the “beneficiary of numerous MZOs and changes to official plans.”

Rasheed resigned from his position as Ontario's minister of public and business service delivery and from the PC caucus on Sept. 20.

At the time of the trip, Rasheed was not a member of cabinet.

In a statement to CTV News Toronto on Monday, the office of the integrity commissioner said the Member's Integrity Act requires they suspend all inquiries once a police investigation into the same subject matter begins.

As such, the office said they will not pursue an investigation at this time into whether Rasheed broke the Member’s Integrity Act “given that the RCMP has launched a broadly worded investigation into a matter that could overlap with the subject-matter of, and individuals named in, the request.”

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in October that it is looking into “allegations associated to the decision from the Province of Ontario to open parts of the Greenbelt for development.”

Little information has been released so far about the specific allegations being reviewed; however the RCMP did say it’s provincial Sensitive and International Investigations Unit is the one leading the investigation. This unit probes issues relating to allegations of fraud, financial crimes, corruption and breach of trust by elected officials.

The RCMP investigation followed two summer reports by the integrity commissioner and the auditor general that found a lack of supervision and leadership led to certain developers with ties to the housing ministry gaining an advantage when the province decided to open up 15 sites of the Greenbelt for development.

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