Vancouver, B.C., Mayor in Political Rhubarb
VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - Political rivals of Vancouver, B.C., Mayor Gregor Robertson claim in court that he should be removed from office for a sweetheart lease deal with social media company HootSuite Me.
Lead plaintiff Glen Norman Chernen, a mayoral candidate for Vancouver's Cedar Party, claims in B.C. Supreme Court that HootSuite Media CEO Ryan Holmes' chummy relationship with Mayor Robertson is well documented.
HootSuite and Holmes, according to the lawsuit, helped Robertson's 2011 mayoral campaign by facilitating a "town hall" for the mayor and his party and providing technology that allowed Robertson to "tap into HootSuite's 5.65 million Twitter followers."
Months later, the City of Vancouver put a tender out on a lease for a former police station, according to the complaint, but refused the four offers it received.
The city later granted the lease to HootSuite, but the details remained sketchy until media discovered that the terms included seven months of free rent, a $700,000 "tenant improvement allowance," and a $17 per square foot price tag, which is "much lower than typical rent for square footage in Vancouver," the petition states.
HootSuite also has a deal with the city for "social media management and tracking," which the city didn't put out to tender while refusing to disclose the value of the contract.
Robertson told the Vancouver Sun the claims in the lawsuit are "bizarre." The mayor's spokesman told the sun Robertson would respond in court-not to the media.
The petitioners are represented by Marco Francesco Lilliu in Vancouver.