The Hamilton Spectator reports today that Losani Homes (1998) Ltd. has pleaded guilty to violating the Municipal Elections Act by overcontributing to former Mayor Larry Di Ianni's 2003 campaign.
The law restricts corporate donations to $750, but Losani gave the Di Ianni campaign a cheque for $2000, claiming it was meant to represent $500 each from four related companies.
Since all the companies build houses, are based at the same address and have the same owners, the elections act treats them as a single entity.
Ken Dechert, the Justice of the Peace assigned to the case, fined the company $1,125, the amount it overcontributed. Dechert hoped to demonstrate "that substantial financial consequences will flow from even inadvertent transgressions of campaign financing rules."
Some demonstration. The collective overcontributions of the home building industry to Di Ianni's campaign helped him win the 2003 election and ram through the construction of the Red Hill Expressway, which opened up a billion dollars in new residential development lands.
For the companies that broke the law, the penalties they paid were a lucrative investment in producing a friendlier bidness climate.
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