‘Bring in the Ombudsman’ says Luckhurst


There were calls for a probe into the actions of Petrolia Mayor John McCharles after a local realtor questioned why the realtor/mayor was signing subdivision agreements for his own clients.
Bob Leaper brought a development agreement for Fairway Court. McCharles is the agent which sells the properties. Leaper pointed out the document which was signed by the mayor, shows the group didn’t pay fees which are part of the standard contract.
Leaper produced his agreement for Country View Estates dated May 2016. He was charged a few hundred dollars for water flushing charges which the Fairway Court developers were not. But the bigger issue was the line of credit Leaper had to secure for the development to move ahead.
Leaper had to have $111,850 available should anything go wrong. Fairway Court according to the documents Leaper showed to council Monday, provided none. “Once again, Mayor McCharles clients are held to a different standard, saving thousands of dollars,” says Leaper. “So, while one developer was subject to the same process, he was not held to the same rules and requirements.”
Leaper wasn’t sure staff could be held responsible for this, since there has been such a high turnover in the departments dealing with developers.
“There has been one constant throughout the entire process of our ongoing difficulties as developers. One person at the head of council and one person who has been aware of the challenges we have been facing all along. One person whose clients have benefited from the double standards….our mayor, John McCharles.
“It seems to us and many others that the Town of Petrolia is open for business as long as you deal with Mayor McCharles. It’s easy to contact him, just go to the town’s website and under the mayor you can contact him via his real estate email.”
Leaper urged council to investigate his claims.
And council unanimously agreed to look into the conditions placed on the Fairway Court developers.
The comments angered some members of the audience. Gary Luckhurst urged council “to bring in the Ombudsman” to investigate. “A realtor acting as mayor is a conflict of interest.”
McCharles didn’t comment.
He declared a conflict of interest once Leaper mentioned him by name in the presentation. He left the council chambers.
When staff went to find him to tell him the portion of the meeting he declared a conflict in was over, the mayor was gone.