Tiny mayoral candidate Tony Mintoff accused of ‘breach of trust’

Tiny Township mayoral candidate Tony Mintoff allegedly shared sensitive and confidential information during his time on municipal council, according to a group of concerned citizens.

A Tiny Township resident, who has requested anonymity, has provided local media outlets and many in the township and municipal election race with materials to back up the claim.

“We are writing today as a group of concerned citizens, worried about democracy in Tiny,” the resident explaiend in the letter. “The FoTTSA (Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations) board is inappropriately attempting to influence its membership as well as influence council. Former councillors and candidates have broken confidentiality laws and are trying to hide it and division is occurring throughout the township.

The resident continued, “We submitted an FOI (Freedom of Information) request on former Councillor Mintoff's email correspondence with FoTTSA president Paul Cowley, and past president Judith Grant, as well as (deputy mayor) candidate Steve Saltsman.”

The response back included an approximate 1,200-page search of records, according to the resident, including “11 breaches of privileged/confidential municipal information Mr. Mintoff shared with his third parties.”

In addition to “off colour and completely inappropriate dialogue about township staff, council and residents,” the resident noted, “there is evidence of collusion to hire Mr. Saltsman to the STR (short-term rental) working committee (task force)… Mintoff feeding in-camera materials to FoTTSA, and also FoTTSA sharing their own legal and directing Mr. Mintoff.”

The Criminal Code of Canada states that a breach of trust by a public officer, if found guilty, is an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or, is an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Four pages of “councillormintoff” email exchanges through the Tiny Township municipal domain were included in the media package.

One dated March 1 2021 regarding a “legal resource” from FoTTsa and involved Mintoff replying, “I want to share a bit of relevant material that I probably shouldn’t release at this point so treat it accordingly, please. It is marked privileged and confidential so I could get a lot of flack for divulging it.”

Moments later, Mintoff sent another email reiterating how he shouldn’t be releasing the information, urging the respondent to “Please READ and DELETE!” the advice from legal counsel.

In an exchange regarding STR on June 2 2021, Mintoff provided a municipal response with another request to “please read and delete”; the redacted respondent replied “I’ve destroyed the evidence”, and added, “I appreciate you confiding in me”.

The final email exchange released from Aug. 7 2021 involved a redacted individual to whom Mintoff stated “I will not rest until you get on the Task Force,” adding “I can’t lose with you by my side, my friend Our day is near.” A deputation was made from Saltsman in 2021 prompting Tiny council to create the STR task force, only for Saltsman’s participation to prompt his removal shortly after due to code of conduct behaviour.

Mintoff resigned from Tiny council in September of 2021, returning to the political arena with an announcement for his candidacy for Mayor in the 2022 municipal election along with Saltsman as his running mate for Deputy Mayor.

In his election announcement, Mintoff admitted returning for a run as mayor “with concern that we could very well elect both a mayor and deputy mayor that have absolutely no municipal experience or political experience,” adding, “we really need to do a better job to engage the residents, to give them the sense that in a democratic society they have access to their elected representatives in a meaningful way.”

MidlandToday reached out for comments from Mintoff and Saltsman. Neither responded in time for this article.

Dave Evans is running against Mintoff in the 2022 municipal election for Tiny Township mayor.

“I think it’s a travesty,” said Evans. “In politics, integrity is everything. Rightfully so, I think public officials are held to a higher standard of conduct because we don’t just represent ourselves and politicians need to act in a way that inspires public confidence in local government.

“What Mr. Mintoff has done in the breach of trust the voters of Tiny have put in him is unacceptable," said Evans.

“I think the FOI that I have so far confirms that all these participants – the four people involved – were all aware of their wrongdoing. Comments like ‘read and delete’ and ‘destroy the evidence’ confirm, they are aware and complicit in their legal actions in order to deter them from continuing on. Clearly, I believe this is a matter that should be investigated by police services," Evans added.

Sean Miskimins is running for deputy mayor against Saltsman; (also running is current Tiny councillor John Bryant).

“I’m shocked and disgusted by this breach of trust,” said Miskimins.

“This type of behaviour is egregious to the most extreme. Betraying confidence such as this is not appropriate for anyone in-or-seeking office. As far as I’m concerned, both candidates should publicly withdraw their candidacy from the election," said Miskimins.

“I’m a human resources executive,” said Miskimins, “and treating confidential matters is the cornerstone of my career.”

Both Evans and Miskimins further noted that Mintoff’s actions shouldn’t be extended to current council or staff of the township.

A request for comment from Tiny Mayor George Cornell and CAO Robert Lamb was made, with no response prior to publication of this article.

A request for comment from Paul Cowley of FoTTSA was made, with no response prior to publication of this article.

The Tiny Township resident who brought forward the allegations also did not respond to further requests for comment.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca