Toronto trustee Poplawski cleared of conflict

  • October 25, 2010
Barbara PoplawskiTORONTO - An Ontario Superior Court Justice has dismissed the conflict-of-interest case against Toronto Catholic school trustee Barbara Poplawski.

In an Oct. 22 handwritten judgment, Superior Court Justice Lois B. Roberts ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove “on a balance of probabilities that Trustee Poplawski made a thumbs-down gesture as alleged, in an attempt to influence the voting at the May 14, 2008 meeting in issue in this application.”

A Catholic ratepayer took Poplawski and former Toronto Catholic District School Board chair Angela Kennedy to court on conflict-of-interest allegations. Both are running for re-election.

During the May 2008 board meeting, Poplawski declared a conflict-of-interest during a debate on whether to send layoff notices to teachers because her daughter was an educational assistant with the board. But Arnaldo Amaral alleged that Poplawski, a 30-year board veteran, made a thumbs-down gesture hoping to persuade the board to vote against the motion that would have delayed sending out the notices.

During the trial, Poplawski testified she did not remember making any hand gestures.

“I've been vindicated. This is what I've maintained all along,” Poplawski said. “I'm looking forward to continuing to serve my community with integrity after the election.”

Meanwhile, in late August, Kennedy was found guilty of violating municipal conflict-of-interest laws and removed from the board after voting on staff layoffs which could have affected the employment of her son. Kennedy is appealing the decision. Earlier in the board's term, former chair Oliver Carroll had also been removed from the board over a conflict of interest.

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