The political world locally didn’t stop spinning while the election was in session, and in that time a committee heard the results of an audit into the 2014 election expenses of Ward 6 council candidate Glen Tolhurst, and the good news is that no one will be prosecuted. On the other hand, this has left Tolhurst with substantial legal bills, and he’s using an increasingly popular venue to raise funds for his legal defense: crowd-funding.
Back in September, the election compliance audit committee found that although he made “minor errors” in his election expense report, Tolhurst would not be prosecuted. It also decided that Susan Watson, who brought forth the request for audit, would not be charged for the cost of performing the audit, which began over a matter of $400 donated to Tolhurst by GrassRoots Guelph during the 2014 municipal election.
This probably isn’t going to help anyone that already thought there was something fishy with the GRG/Tolhurst connection, but Guelph Speaks blogger and GrassRoots Guelph founder Gerry Barker is directing people to a GoFundMe page meant to help Tolhurst cover his legal costs. “Mr. Tolhurst has been left with a legal bill, one that far exceeds the total amount he paid for his election campaign. He is asking you to consider help helping him pay the unwarranted costs of defending himself.”
Tolhurst characterized the audit as a “witch hunt” by Watson who, with a “frivolous and vexatious action”, has caused him grief, expense and humiliation. Watson, meanwhile, said she was trying to prove “We have problems with the Municipal Election Act. […] Third party spending is happening. And now we know people can set up third party groups and conceal their donations.”
It’s highly unlikely though that anything’s settled from this endeavour.