TORONTO - Oakville Trustee Nancy Guzzo was before the Hamilton courts (January 28) fighting twelve counts of fraud. The matter, which has been before the courts for over one year, will have to wait until 2023 for any sort of conclusion.
The charges dating from 2017 and 2018 relate to her previous employment with the local LiUNA 3000. They include two counts of fraud over $5,000 and ten counts below that amount.
During Friday’s case management hearing, Assistant Crown Attorney Amber Lepchuk indicated that Crown counsel is proceeding by indictment.
When Justice Amanda Joy Camara asked Guzzo’s counsel, represented by agent June Prince for Stephen Bernstein, if they have set a date for trial, Ms. Prince specified April 17, 2023 as a start date for trial.
Justice Camara remanded the case until that date, when the matter will be heard in the Ontario Court of Justice by judge alone.
Last year, on June 15, 2021, the courts issued a bench warrant to hold following a scheduled court date in which neither the accused nor her council appeared. Today, Justice Camara rescinded that bench warrant on account that Ms. Guzzo appeared before the courts, for the first time, albeit remotely.
LiUNA, which caused the charges to be levied against Ms. Guzzo, did not respond to our request for comment as at going to print. Previously, a spokesperson for LiUNA told the Corriere that “We take any and all allegations of impropriety filed against Mrs. Guzzo of the highest concern”. They will have to wait another fourteen months for any resolution in this matter.
Meanwhile, Ms. Guzzo continues to carry out her role as Oakville trustee at the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB). When asked whether she plans to recuse herself from Board business until her legal matters are resolved, Ms. Guzzo did not respond prior to deadline.
When asked to comment on the appropriateness of her continued participation in HCDSB business while facing serious charges, neither the Director nor the Board Chair responded prior to deadline.
This would seem a difficult position for anyone to be in, let alone a school board trustee with the municipal election just months away. Without prejudging the outcome of the case, a finding of guilt or conviction on any of the twelve fraud charges may require the HCDSB to find a new trustee.
According to Education Act (Section 228), a member of a school board shall vacate the seat if convicted of an indictable offence.
P. Pajdo is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter