This is Jörg Cieslok. He runs Titan Outdoor Canada. He is six and a half feet tall and has a thick German accent. He has a low opinion of “grassroots groups” like residents associations. He regularly calls up Rami to yell at him. He is more responsible for illegal billboards in Toronto than almost any other individual. He claims, under oath, to have lost $1 million due to sign bylaw enforcement. He threatened to sue Rami and is currently suing the City. And last night I learned that he is also an amateur paparazzo.
One of the first people to speak at the City Hall consultation on the new sign bylaw was Joe Clark, who began by explaining that many people are very cynical about the consultation process, and that one way for the Project Team to show they are serious about public input is to start discussing the possibility of enacting a virtual billboard ban, similar to Oakville’s. At this moment, Jörg walked directly in front of Joe (who was sitting in between Rami and me) and, keeping his camera at waist level, took several flash pictures of him (us?). What made it extra weird was that he kept walking as he took the photos, as though it were one fluid motion, a bungled attempt to be casual about it. Jörg kept on going, right out the door.
Then, as Joe explains on Flickr, “I followed him out to the hall, and found him walking right back into the room. I took his picture.” (The above, after he retook his seat.) Joe and Jörg got into a bit of a tiff in full view of everyone. City staff immediately stepped in to calm things down, and Joe and Jörg returned to their seats. Security was called and stayed posted near Jörg for most of the evening. The consultation, swarming with industry folks, continued as normal, with everyone behaving pretty well.
Until the end, that is, when a member of the City Hall press corps had his own run-in with Jörg, but you’ll have to wait for that writer’s own account of it.
In the meantime, try to make sense of this.
Photo by Joe Clark.