By Kelly Grant
From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail
August 3, 2010
Service club risks being evicted from castle as deadline passes
The Kiwanis Club is refusing to fire the chair of Casa Loma’s board, a move that could lead the city to evict the service organization from the castle.
Council set a deadline of July 31 for the Kiwanis Club – which has operated the interior of the city-owned attraction since 1937 – to replace Richard Wozenilek, a lawyer who allegedly directed $218,938 in castle legal work to himself over 18 months.
But the deadline has passed and Kiwanis has decided to back Mr. Wozenilek.
“The Kiwanis Club continues to maintain its full support behind Mr. Wozenilek as chair of the Casa Loma Board, and it understands the members of the Board also fully support him,” Joachim Gerschkow, the president of the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma, said in a statement Tuesday.
At the beginning of July, council ordered Casa Loma’s operators to clean up their act. It demanded that Casa Loma’s board meet monthly; that Kiwanis develop a revised financial plan; that a joint working group be established so the castle can begin to meet its goals; and that Mr. Wozenilek be replaced.
City manager Joe Pennachetti said at the time that Kiwanis had agreed to all the conditions except ditching Mr. Wozenilek.
A lengthy staff report accused the club of blowing deadlines and failing to make scheduled payments to the city. The club disputed most of the allegations.
“Council is not looking for a fight here,” said Councillor Joe Mihevc, an ex-officio member of the Casa Loma board. “Council is looking to build Casa Loma to become the jewel it could and should be.”
Kiwanis now wants an independent mediator brought in.
“While we do not agree with any of the city’s unfounded allegations, we look forward to getting on with the dispute resolution process in good faith,” Mr. Gerschkow said.
In previous interviews, Mr. Wozenilek has argued he did nothing wrong in acting as both the volunteer chair of Casa Loma’s board and its lawyer. He said he never hid the fact he did legal work for the castle, a practice the Casa Loma board has since halted.
He declined comment on Tuesday, referring questions to Mr. Gershkow.