Lawyer rejects charge Casa Loma is far behind on renovations; Miller wants new leadership
Date:Jun 19, 2010
Mayor David Miller may want him removed, but Casa Loma’s chair says he enjoys the support of his board, which believes the landmark is making progress on its turnaround plans.
Lawyer Richard Wozenilek fended off city allegations that invoices totaling $118,000 were paid by Casa Loma for legal work he did on a new management agreement between the city, which owns the castle, and the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma, which has run it for decades as a tourist attraction.
In an interview, Wozenilek said the billings presented to the vice-chair in January 2009 came to approximately $40,000.
“They’re saying in January 2009 the vice-chair was asked to sign invoices in the amount of approximately $118,000 for payment to my firm. That’s what they’re saying and that’s not true.” Miller responded that the figure of $118,000 covers billings from when the new management agreement came into effect two years ago, when the city appointed half the voting members of the board.
At the time of the change in the board, Miller named Wozenilek to continue as chair as recommended by Kiwanis. But by this March, in a meeting with Kiwanis to discuss the issues, Miller indicated he wanted to see a new chair.
“I think every Torontonian understands that the chair of a board who is serving at the pleasure of the mayor and is doing it in a volunteer capacity should not be charging legal fees to that board,” he said Friday.
Wozenilek wouldn’t reveal the total amount of fees he has billed for Casa Loma legal work, saying, “That’s between Kiwanis and me.”
Miller says he wants to “start over” with new leadership.
Wozenilek said his board discussed the city’s demands earlier this week. The two sides met Friday in an effort to reconcile their differences.
The city says it is concerned that the castle has fallen short on its renovation goals because money has been used to cover operating shortfalls. It says renovations that were to be completed by now include new third-floor exhibits, a visitor centre and a restaurant.
“Kiwanis needs to do two things,” Miller said. “They need to recommend another chair and they need to follow the steps that were set out in the staff reports to the executive committee.”
By the end of next month the city wants a joint work group to schedule monthly board meetings, prepare a financial plan and conduct an audit of operations and finances.
A separate report called for the Kiwanis Club to recommend a new chair to the mayor and amend the management agreement to clarify that the mayor can unilaterally replace the chair with another board member at any time.
Credit: Paul Moloney Toronto Star