Woman who accused former Brampton councillor Dhillon of sexual assault withdrew allegations in October, confidential City memo reveals 
The Pointer Files

Woman who accused former Brampton councillor Dhillon of sexual assault withdrew allegations in October, confidential City memo reveals 

In a bombshell internal memo Thursday, obtained by The Pointer, City of Brampton council members were informed by the municipality’s head lawyer that a woman who had accused former councillor Gurpreet Dhillon of sexual misconduct in 2019 withdrew her allegations, and officials have known about it since October.

“In late October 2023, my office received an email from a lawyer representing Mr. Dhillon, to which was attached a letter from… stating that she was ‘withdrawing’ sexual misconduct allegations she made against Mr. Dhillon in 2019-2020,” Sameer Akhtar, Brampton’s City Solicitor, wrote yesterday, April 4, in a message to all members of council. The name of the woman is included in Akhtar’s memo; The Pointer is not publishing it. The Pointer has not been able to establish why the allegations were withdrawn. They were made following a 2019 Brampton trade mission to Turkey attended by the woman and Dhillon.

Prior to publication, Dhillon did not respond to a request for comment.


Former councillor Gurpreet Dhillon during the Brampton trade mission to Turkey where the alleged incident was said to have happened. The allegations were withdrawn in October. 

(City of Brampton)


Akhtar informed council members that in November his office received another letter from a lawyer representing Dhillon notifying Brampton officials that “public statements” were to be made by the City acknowledging the woman’s withdrawal of her allegations and requesting all reports regarding Dhillon’s case be expunged from the City of Brampton’s records.

Then, on March 14, following months of inaction by the City, Akhtar’s office received a letter from one of Dhillon’s lawyers again asking that all public records and other documents regarding his case be expunged, and a draft lawsuit against the City seeking $5 million in damages on behalf of Dhillon. He has denied the allegations against him all along.

In his memo to council members, Akhtar said it was Brampton’s Integrity Commissioner, Muneeza Sheikh, who wrote the report published by the City in 2020 in which Sheikh dismissed Dhillon’s denials and sided with the woman, recommending that council members hand down the maximum penalty to Dhillon under the Municipal Act, for violating the City’s Code of Conduct, a 90-day suspension and loss of pay for that period. No charges were ever brought forward by police and Dhillon told The Pointer he was never interviewed by police. 

In his memo, Akhtar claimed Dhillon’s requests are a matter for the integrity commissioner, not the City. 

Following Sheikh’s recommendation in 2020, council suspended Dhillon for 90 days and Mayor Patrick Brown, who had publicly opposed the veteran councillor on key issues since Brown was elected in 2018, stepped up public attacks against Dhillon, repeatedly accusing him of being guilty of sexual misconduct.

In 2022, when Brown was campaigning in that year’s municipal election after being disqualified from the federal Conservative Party leadership race, he made it clear that he did not want his council opponents to return and alleged that “hush money” was paid by the City to prevent the allegations against Dhillon from being discussed publicly. The City’s head solicitor at the time, Diana Soos, sent a message to all members of council informing them that no such payments had been made. But that did not stop Brown from making the claim shortly after her communication, during a campaign-style event at City Hall. 


Brampton’s City Solicitor told Patrick Brown no ‘hush money’ was paid in Gurpreet Dhillon matter but the mayor made the claim anyway

Despite being informed by the City of Brampton’s solicitor that no “hush money” had been paid to prevent allegations against former councillor Gurpreet Dhillon from being discussed publicly, Mayor Patrick Brown made the claim anyway.

 (Alexis Wright/The Pointer Files)


“Patrick Brown is once again lying and distracting Brampton taxpayers from the truth,” Dhillon wrote in an emailed statement to The Pointer at the time. “It’s the same behaviour that got him thrown out as leader of the Ontario Conservative Party and banned from the federal Conservative leadership race. This is classic Patrick Brown strategy: he deceives, manipulates, and deflects and is now desperate to cling to power in Brampton.

“This is just another politically motivated stunt by Patrick Brown in a desperate attempt to gain control of Council so that the multitude of investigations ordered by Council into his scandals, misappropriations, and questionable activities, will never see the light of day. He knows that if these investigations into his misconduct proceed, it will have dire consequences for him.”

Following Brown’s claim of hush money being paid to keep the allegations from being discussed publicly, Dhillon suggested he might take legal action.

It is unclear if his draft lawsuit seeking $5 million from the City names Brown or includes specific details about the mayor’s conduct regarding the allegations which have been withdrawn.

Dhillon was narrowly defeated in the 2022 election after a widespread public campaign by a community group that focussed on the since withdrawn allegations against him.

Dhillon was one of six council members who voted for the series of sweeping investigations into Brown’s conduct, after internal City evidence came forward in staff reports and whistleblower allegations of widespread wrongdoing under Brown’s leadership. Contracts given to his friends and the hiring of key personnel with the City were questioned with more than a half-dozen investigations ordered by Dhillon and a majority group of councillors. Councillor Martin Medeiros, another member who had opposed Brown on key issues after the mayor’s election in 2018, would not comment when reached Friday. 

“Sorry, I cannot comment on the matter,” he said. 

The hiring of Sheikh, who had no municipal law experience, had never worked as an integrity commissioner and had past connections to Brown, was one of the investigations that was ordered in 2022. But in August of that same year, Brown called a surprise council meeting and had just enough votes due to Dhillon’s inability to attend the meeting to cancel all of the investigations, despite clear direction from Ontario’s Ombudsman to council that the probes should be completed.

Sheikh was eventually fired when, in addition to other controversial conduct (including her exoneration of Brown when he secretly used a City-owned hockey arena to play pick-up games with friends during the pandemic lockdown when the facility was not supposed to be opened for such use) it was revealed that she had billed Brampton taxpayers at an annualized rate that was more than seven times what the previous five integrity commissioners for the city had charged.

Sheikh threatened a lawsuit and after Brown was reelected in 2022 without many of his former council opponents returning, including Dhillon, the mayor had her rehired.

She did not respond to questions ahead of publication.

Brown also did not respond to questions, including if he will issue a formal public apology to Dhillon after accusing him of sexual assault for years, despite no police charges ever being pursued against the former councillor, and despite two sets of sexual assault charges against Brown that he has dismissed, but still stand.

Dhillon challenged Sheikh’s 2020 report in court, arguing that she failed to follow proper procedure around the rules that require a formal complaint from a subject prior to an integrity commissioner initiating an investigation. 

A three-judge panel of the Superior Court of Justice ruled Sheikh’s decision to initiate an investigation without a formal complaint should not lead to her work and subsequent report being thrown out. They did dismiss some of her recommendations for punishment against Dhillon, as she had no power beyond advising that council suspend him for 90 days.

Dhillon released a statement citing a relationship between Sheikh and Mayor Brown. Sheikh’s husband at the time completed work for the Ontario PCs while Brown led the party, and, prior to her hiring in Brampton, she made public comments defending his character when allegations of sexual assault were levelled against Brown by two women, leading to his rejection by the PC Party of Ontario (Brown used a photo of him and Sheikh speaking at an event together in his campaign material prior to her hiring in Brampton).


Patrick Brown alongside Muneeza Sheikh, an image that was previously used as part of Brown's campaign material. 

(Patrick Brown)


Dhillon stated there was “direct political interference by the Mayor and his staff” in the investigation by Sheikh. 

Sheikh found out about the now withdrawn allegations against Dhillon from Brown, who informed her after the woman spoke to the mayor about an incident in Turkey shortly after she returned. Brown and members of his staff, as acknowledged in Sheikh’s report, visited the woman in person to discuss her allegations. 

Brown has not answered The Pointer’s questions about why he became personally involved after learning about an alleged sexual assault, choosing to then meet face to face with the woman, instead of instructing her to go directly to the police. He has not provided any explanations about why he personally discussed alleged criminal conduct with the woman, instead of immediately directing her to contact the police.

The City of Brampton was asked by The Pointer to comment on the request by Dhillon to remove all records of the case. No response was provided ahead of publication.

Akhtar was asked why he told council members that Dhillon’s recent legal demands are a matter for the integrity commissioner, not the City, even though it was council that suspended him and it was the municipality that enforced the direction. He did not respond.

Akhtar, who had no experience in municipal law prior to being hired under Brown, was also fired under the leadership of the same majority group of councillors who oversaw Sheikh’s firing, and was rehired following Brown’s reelection in 2022. 

He was asked why council members were only recently informed about the withdrawal of the allegations against Dhillon under threat of a public lawsuit, even though he knew about it in October. He did not respond.  



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