The chairman of the management committee examined the past of Brown during the audit: source CP


The chairman of the federal Conservative Party leadership election committee has privately expressed concerns about Patrick Brown’s story while pricing him as a potential candidate, according to documents obtained by The Canadian Press.

It suggests Ian Brodie raised questions about Brown’s financial situation in a phone call in late March with someone he was consulting as part of the vetting process after the former Progressive Conservative leader from Ontario had declared its intention to join the race.

It also indicates that Brodie expressed doubts about the claim that the contestant had been fully vindicated of the sexual misconduct allegations reported by CTV in 2018, which at the time led to an exodus of his senior staff to Queen’s Park, his own resignation and ultimately his ousting from the Ontario Progressive Conservative Caucus.

The Canadian Press has reviewed documentation of the call provided by a source who participated in the one-on-one conversation with Brodie. The source was granted anonymity to discuss the call as they fear professional repercussions.

The Tories are reeling from Brown’s sudden disqualification from the leadership race last week – the result of more recent and separate allegations of financial irregularities by a whistleblower who was on his campaign team.

Debbie Jodoin, a longtime Conservative organizer, said last Thursday through her lawyer that she had been paid by a third-party company for her work on Brown’s campaign and that Brown had been involved in the arrangement.

In announcing the decision to disqualify Brown last Tuesday, Brodie said only that the committee had been made aware of “serious allegations of wrongdoing” related to fundraising rules under the Canada Elections Act.

Brown maintained that his campaign did nothing wrong. He has hired renowned Toronto lawyer Marie Henein and is pushing the party to pursue an appeal process. The party has retained independent legal counsel to consider whether an appeal can be heard.

Documentation from the previous call in March appears to shed more light on tense conversations over whether the beleaguered politician should be allowed to join the contest in the first place.

On Monday, Brodie posed questions to a spokesperson for the Conservative Party of Canada, Yaroslav Baran, who said Brodie would not comment on the process followed by the Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC).

“It will not be going into in-house production of LEOC sausages,” Baran wrote in an email. “There is nothing to be gained by setting this kind of precedent and breaking professional discipline.”

Some members of the steering committee were vocally arguing against Brown’s candidacy at the time Brodie made the phone call, sources with knowledge of the situation who would speak only on condition of anonymity said last week.

Meanwhile, documentation says the influential president himself was investigating his own unanswered questions in March.

On Monday, Brown’s team said they were not told Brodie was raising concerns behind the scenes during the vetting process.

Documentation from the March phone call indicates that Brodie indicated that committee members had received a package of documents from an anonymous source sent to their private email addresses.

The documents contained records about Brown’s mortgage with TD Bank and other financial matters, the Brodie source said on the call.

The Canadian Press reached out to other members of the steering committee about Brodie’s claims during the vetting process, but received no feedback.

Call documentation says the conversation referenced a report from Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner, released in April 2018, which found Brown breached ethics rules by failing to disclose earnings. lease and a large loan he used to help fund a $2.3 million contract. waterfront property in 2016 and 2017. The report says Brown, who at the time was earning about $180,000 a year as provincial party leader, took out a mortgage of about $1.72 million from the Bank TD.

According to the call documentation, Brodie said there were questions about Brown’s income and how he might have paid for the house.

In response to a February 2018 Globe and Mail report on the purchase, Brown said he received help from his family to buy his home. On Monday, his campaign spokesperson said he had “nothing new to add” on the matter.

The documentation says the appeal also touched on the March 9 settlement of Brown’s libel lawsuit against CTV.

A statement released by the broadcaster and Brown at the time said CTV regretted that certain “key details” of the original story were inaccurate. The statement did not specify what those inaccuracies were, but the original article includes a correction that updates the age of one of the two women who accused Brown of sexual misconduct.

The news network said in March that no money was exchanged in the settlement.

Brown has continued to deny any wrongdoing, and the allegations have not been proven in court or independently verified by The Canadian Press.

Although Brown was elected mayor of Brampton, Ont., in October 2018 – less than a year after the story broke – the settlement seemed to pave the way for greater ambitions: he declared his intention to run at the helm of the Federal Conservatives four days later.

“When the media tried to get me to write off the latest culture casualty by smearing me with false allegations, I fought back and won,” Brown told a cheering crowd at his campaign launch.

The narrative that Brown was bought out by the settlement didn’t seem to sit well with Brodie, according to the source with knowledge of the call, and the president said the allegations are still troubling.

Despite this apprehension and the fact that the Ontario Progressive Conservatives had previously disqualified Brown from running under their provincial banner, the federal leadership election organizing committee finally approved Brown’s candidacy on April 26.

Chisholm Pothier, a spokesman for Brown’s campaign, said Monday they had not received any questions on either topic and were not made aware of any concerns Brodie was raising at the era.

He said the executive committee requested Brown’s banking records during the audit process and there was no further communication about financial issues after the campaign provided them.

“As with the approach to the complaint and the LEOC’s decision, the campaign appears to be informed by the press rather than the party on these issues,” Pothier said.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 12, 2022.