Investigation report on Ron Starr’s alleged harassment of Karen Ras to be released Thursday

Investigation report on Ron Starr’s alleged harassment of Karen Ras to be released Thursday

On Wednesday morning during a case conference meeting between Ron Starr and the City, it was determined the court would not hear the councillor’s application to prevent publication of an investigation report before September.

To ensure the public is allowed to see the integrity commissioner’s investigation findings, after allegations that Starr was behind the keying of former councillor Karen Ras’s car, the report will be placed on a publicly available agenda Thursday, June 30.

Starr registered this week to run in the October 24 municipal election, to retain his Ward 6 seat. Now, voters will know the results of the integrity commissioner’s findings.

“Following the case conference, Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze delivered his investigation report to the City Clerk… The report will be published on the public agenda,” Andra Maxwell, Mississauga’s solicitor and director of legal services, confirmed to The Pointer in an email.

Ron Starr, who is running for reelection in Ward 6, denies allegations of harassment against him. An investigation report will be made public Thursday, June 30.



Swayze will be before council Wednesday July 6 to discuss his report. It will address the evidence he gathered and whether or not there is enough information to make a recommendation to Council regarding any potential breach of the City’s Code of Conduct. Starr has stated publicly in a widespread release to the media that he denies the allegations against him.

Swayze was ordered by council on February 2 to investigate whether Starr breached the Code of Conduct after Ras told media Starr was behind the eight keying incidents in a City Hall parking lot between mid-2019 and April 2021.

Ras originally went to police who obtained footage of a man gouging lines in a vehicle from a closed circuit camera installed in April 2021 but did not lay charges.

Ras then approached Swayze to conduct an investigation after Peel Regional Police did not lay charges following their investigation into the matter.

His investigation was supposed to take “weeks, not months” to finish, but new information and evidence prolonged the release of the report.

When Swayze finished his report Starr was supposed to receive it in advance of it being made public, a common practice to ensure the individual being investigated has an opportunity to respond to any aspect of the report that he or she does not agree with, and possibly have the report amended.

A criticism of the integrity commissioner process, which is not a part of the court system, is that it does not allow subjects like Starr to defend themself.

Another problem with the Municipal Act is that it allows council members to ultimately decide the fate of a colleague, opening the door to politicization of the process. Mayor Bonnie Crombie and others could feel public pressure to punish Starr, as Ras suggested in her resignation letter when she stepped down from her council position earlier in the year that her complaints were not properly dealt with by Crombie, some colleagues and Swayze. She said she felt unsupported by some of her colleagues. Ras said she stepped down to pursue another job opportunity and because of personal reasons including the stress caused by the alleged treatment.

On May 31 Council received a letter from Starr’s lawyers Emilio Bisceglia, Adriana Di Biase and Battista Frino of Biscaglia & Associates revealing that he had filed an injunction request to prevent the public release of the integrity commissioner report.

Starr filed the injunction application with the Brampton Divisional Court against the City of Mississauga and Swayze. The injunction would have prohibited the integrity commissioner from delivering the report and would have revoked Council’s February 2 decision when it ordered Swayze to investigate the matter. The injunction request asked that Council be prevented from receiving, debating and voting on the current report’s findings.

With a hearing date not before September, this would prevent Council from addressing the issue, as the election period would be in effect, preventing such City business from being dealt with.

Now, in consultation with Starr’s lawyers, it has been agreed that the report will be made public tomorrow, and Swayze will present his findings before Council next Wednesday. It’s possible that Starr’s lawyers will also be able to address Council with their arguments on Swayze’s evidence.

In early June the veteran councillor broke his silence on the matter, denying all allegations.

“I wholeheartedly condemn harassment of any form,” Starr wrote in his statement submitted to the Canadian Press. “However, I absolutely deny the allegations made against me.”

Upon learning of the injunction City Council moved a motion to act swiftly.

Council ordered the City’s legal team to “take all steps possible” to fight the injunction and to “expedite the hearing.”

Maxwell previously told The Pointer that between August 19 and October 24, council is prohibited from acting on significant matters due to election rules.

After Starr registered to run again this week there was concern voters would have to make a decision without knowing what the integrity commissioner found. Now, that will not be the case. The findings and any possible recommendations will be available on the council meeting agenda page tomorrow.



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