By: Laura Steiner
Milton Council voted 8-2 to turn over Ward 5 Councillor Arnold Huffman’s compliance Audit to police. It was ordered following their January, 2017 council meeting after new evidence came to light involving allegations of impropriety concerning his 2014 election expenses.
The audit was performed by Richter & Associates. They found Huffman violated the Municipal Elections Act a total of seven times. These offences surround donations adding up to $3469.10, or approximately half of his $6583.23 budget.
The money was raised by five people who collectively paid for his lawn signs by holding at least one fundraiser. It was not deposited into campaign bank accounts as required by law. Huffman says he didn’t sanction any fundraisers. “They just said they wanted to donate to my campaign,” he said during an interview with Milton Reporter.
The Municipal elections Act limits candidates’ cash donations to a minimum of $25. The audit indicates that he might have accepted cash donations in excess of that. It’s something he denies. “I have not done anything wrong,” he insisted.
The initial motion was to receive the report for information. Ward 4 Councillor Rick Malboeuf presented an amendment asking it to be handed over to police. “We have before us an independent auditors report surrounding the issue of Councillor Huffman’s campaign expenses confirming what Mr. Bugala has been saying, and many of us have suspected. That Councillor Huffman did in fact severely violate two provisions of the Municipal Elections Act,” he told council.
Bugala was Huffman’s opponent for the Ward 5 seat in the 2014 election. In July, 2015, he brought forward an initial audit, which, was dismissed by a committee.
The vote passed 8-2. Huffman abstained from voting, declaring it a conflict of interest. Only Ward 3 Councillor Cindy Lunau, and Ward 7 councillor Rick Di Lorenzo voted against it. “I am very disappointed in this council,” Huffman said. Read the full audit here