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Ontario NDP asks integrity commissioner to investigate Las Vegas trip involving Greenbelt developer


The Ontario NDP is asking the province’s integrity commissioner to dig deeper into the actions of a former Progressive Conservative cabinet member who went to Las Vegas at the same time as a developer who benefited from the Greenbelt changes.

In the request, the NDP 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.

“We believe that what happened in Vegas should not stay in Vegas,” Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles told reporters Wednesday.

“We want to give (the commissioner) an opportunity to shine some light on what really took place here—on the dates, that details and the payments that took place.”

According to Joseph Markson, Rasheed's lawyer, the former minister "welcomes" an integrity commissioner's investigation and vows to "fully cooperate to clear the record and his name of any wrongdoing."

"It has been disheartening for Mr. Rasheed to witness the facts of this matter be distorted for political gain," Markson told CTV News Toronto in a statement. "Mr. Rasheed has submitted additional records to the Integrity Commissioner and looks forward to dispelling any allegations of misconduct in a timely manner, so he can return to government and continue to serve the people of Ontario."

In an investigation into then-Housing Minister Steve Clark’s handling of the Greenbelt, released over the summer, Wake reviewed a trip taken by Rasheed and then-principal secretary to Premier Doug Ford, Amin Massoudi. He said there was a “potential relevance” after media reports from The Trillium noted the minister met up with a developer while in Las Vegas.

According to the Aug. 30 report, the parties said they took the trip in December 2019 and “exchanged pleasantries” with developer Shakir Rehmatullah in the lobby of a hotel. Rasheed told the integrity commissioner that he is friends with Rehmatullah but did not know he was going to be in Las Vegas at that time.

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.”

However, records show that the minister actually went on the trip in February 2020. The MPP said he mistakenly provided the wrong dates as the trip was rescheduled.

It’s also not the only alleged discrepancy. CTV News Toronto confirmed the three individuals—Rasheed, Massoudi and Rehmmatullah—got massages at the same time while on the trip.

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.

He is now sitting as an independent.

The Premier’s Office has said that if the integrity commissioner clears Rasheed, he would be “provided an opportunity to return to caucus.”

An investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) into the Progressive Conservative’s changes to the Greenbelt may prevent the request from moving forward, at least temporarily.

The integrity commissioner’s office confirmed to CTV News Toronto they have received the NDP’s request, but that if the subject matter of the inquiry is being investigated by police, it will be suspended. Once the investigation has come to a conclusion, their office will review the request once again.

It’s unclear how long the RCMP investigation will take and whether the Las Vegas trip will be part of its scope.

However Stiles does think it could be included.

“These are these are huge issues and there's no question that they're going to have to examine every deal, every element of this deal,” she told reporters.

“I’m not trying to force anybody's resignation. But the people of the province of Ontario deserve answers.” Top Stories

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