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Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Councillor slams Mel's WWF ties

By ZEN RURYK -- City Hall Bureau

Mayor Mel Lastman has tossed aside allegations he's in a conflict-of-interest stemming from his promotion of a bid to host Wrestlemania XVIII at SkyDome.

Councillor Michael Walker challenged the mayor over his efforts because Lastman's son, Blayne, uses World Wrestling Federation (WWF) stars in Bad Boy store ads.

"The mayor said to me that he doesn't think Michael Walker has had his fiber this week, that there's no conflict and that he has no further comment," said Jim Warren, Lastman's deputy chief of staff.

WWF stars appear with Bad Boy boss Blayne Lastman in advertisements for the furniture and appliance store chain.

Walker has fired off a letter to Mel Lastman asking him whether he has run afoul of the province's conflict of interest legislation for municipal politicians.

"In my opinion, there is a conflict of interest -- perceived and in reality," Walker said.

He said he expects to get a written reply from Lastman at city council's October next meeting. The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act prohibits a city politician from participating in a decision that benefits his spouse, children or parents.

However, a spokesman for Ontario's municipal affairs ministry said recently the matter must be an issue before council. Sources have told The Sun that Toronto has a hammerlock on Wrestlemania XVIII and will stage the WWF's ultimate show in 2002. While the city government is not making an official bid for the event, Lastman has been involved in negotiations with WWF and SkyDome brass to bring it to Toronto.

It would mark the second time the WWF has chosen Canada's largest city for the annual no-holds barred spectacle -- billed as one of the biggest single sports-entertainment events.

  • Aug. 17: Toronto mayor slammed for 'Mania conflict
    More on Wrestlemania XVIII




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