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Corporation yet to reveal details of expense account spending

City Hall has so far failed to reveal how it has spent almost $480,000 in funds put into a newly created Members' Expenses account — despite assurances that it would provide ratepayers with an explanation of where the money has gone.

Earlier this month The Royal Gazette revealed the Corporation of Hamilton had set aside $850,000 for out-of-budget, non-operational members' expenses, and had spent $479,000 of that fund in the first eight months of this year. Municipality insiders claimed the cash had been wasted on “boondoggles”.

At a press conference on October 7, Hamilton Mayor Graeme Outerbridge defended the spending, saying the vast majority of the money had been used to cover legal expenses — despite the fact the Corporation had already spent $105,000 put aside in a separate account for any possible legal costs that it might incur throughout 2013.

The Corporation is understood to have run up a number of legal bills after drafting a controversial 262-year waterfront development lease.

And earlier this month Mr Outerbridge and his Deputy Donal Smith were found in contempt for failing to respond to a Supreme Court summons issued by Ombudsman Arlene Brock.

Ms Brock is investigating the Corporation's operations amid concerns about a lack of transparency over the waterfront project and claimed that municipality officials were failing to cooperate in the probe.

Last week Mr Outerbridge said the legal costs funded by the Members' Expenses budget “are being itemised by the City of Hamilton Treasurer and the overall costs will be shared in due course”.

But yesterday, more than two weeks after the Mayor first pledged to provide a breakdown of the spending, a Corporation spokeswoman said the information was still unavailable.

City Hall: The Corporation has yet to reveal details of how $480,000 from a members' expenses account has been spent.

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Published October 25, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 25, 2013 at 12:17 am)

Corporation yet to reveal details of expense account spending

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