2014 Villain: Giorgio Mammoliti
Nominated for: flagrantly violating both council's financial rules and the rules of logic.
Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until 5 p.m. on December 30. At noon on December 31, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.
It’s hard to imagine a what a bad year looks like for Giorgio Mammoliti, the Ward 7 councillor who, until recently, was Rob Ford’s unofficial whip—the “thumb” that let the right wing know which way to vote—and whose two-and-a-half decade long career in politics has boasted everything but dignity.
Over the course of his career in politics, Giorgio Mammoliti has shown up to the Dyke March with a camcorder in order to monitor Queers Against Israeli Apartheid–related behaviour. He has suggested turning the Toronto Islands into a red-light district—later suggesting that the Islands’ clothing-optional beach was already a hotbed of the sex trade. He has accused the NDP of being a hotbed of crypto-Communists, this after starting his career as an NDP MPP in the Rae government. He has taken off his shirt in council chambers, and suggested giving guns to bylaw officers. He once threatened to kick fellow Councillor Gord Perks “in the nuts and the face at the same time,” which might be impossible. And this is just a list of selected highlights. It’s not everything.
And yet, even considering that track record, 2014 may have been his worst year yet. He started the year in hot water because of a $5,000-a-plate fundraiser he threw last year, which was attended by several City lobbyists and had been organized by the councillor’s staff while on the clock. It netted him $80,000. (His staff later contacted the Woodbridge banquet hall where the event took place, asking it to scrub Mammoliti’s name from any documents related to the dinner.) The City’s integrity commissioner found he had violated the City’s code of conduct for councillors. His colleagues then voted to suspend his pay for three months, costing him $26,000. He responded by spending $48,000 in legal costs fighting that decision. This great guardian of the public purse then asked taxpayers to reimburse him. (Council capped the reimbursement at $20,000.)
And earlier this month, he also pleaded guilty to exceeding his election budget by $12,000 during the 2010 campaign, as well as filing false paperwork. He was fined $17,500.
In addition to these examples of financial misconduct, 2014 also served up the regular menu of Mammoliti nonsense. In June, during a debate on all-ages EDM events at Exhibition Place, Mammo referred to the adjacent neighbourhood of Parkdale as a “pedophile district.” He also refused to give up his seat next to the mayor for new deputy mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong unless John Tory agreed to a four-year property-tax freeze, describing himself as the “voice of the taxpayer.” (That would be the same taxpayer whom he asked to pay his court costs.)
In a city that is struggling to regain its dignity after the fiasco that was the Ford years, the last thing we need is another self-aggrandizing bully going out of his way to propose nonsensical things in the highest-profile way possible—but with another four years of Mammoliti on the way, that’s probably just what we’ll get.