December 8th, 2020

NDP calls for investigation into PC insiders benefitting in majority of fast-track development approvals

Ford government has signed 38 Minister’s Zoning Orders, at least half of which benefit PC insiders

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Municipal Affairs critic Jeff Burch says Doug Ford is rolling out the red carpet for well-connected PC Party insiders, and putting communities, the environment and the Greenbelt at risk. An analysis by the NDP shows at least 19 of 38 Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) signed by the Ford government benefit PC Party insiders, leading Burch to call for a review.

“Municipalities and local leaders are the closest to local environmental concerns as well as the concerns of people and families that live in the community — they should be calling these shots. Instead, they’re being disrespected, bypassed or even coerced by the Ford government,” said Burch.

In just over a year, Doug Ford’s government has issued a whopping 38 MZOs to sign off on development plans requested by developers and quash any potential opposition. Ford’s 38 MZOs are more than were issued in the entire decade prior. At least 19 of them will benefit influential PC Party donors and allies.

“Something stinks here,” said Burch. “People deserve an explanation for why Doug Ford’s allies and political backers are getting ahead with these MZOs, while everyday working families are paying the price, having the environment around them destroyed. This is about our children and grandchildren’s future.

“MZOs are a nuclear option that ignores local decision-making processes. We need a government that will offer a new deal to municipalities. A deal based on partnership and respect.”

MZOs have historically been used where there are no local planning authorities or existing zoning rules — but Ford is using them throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe, overriding the procedures and authorities in place.

Burch is calling for the Committee on General Government to undertake the review of all 37 orders.


Top PC insider beneficiaries from Minister’s Zoning Orders

Silvio De Gasperis

Who he is:

  • Silvio DeGasperis is President of TACC Construction Ltd. and TACC Developments
  • The DeGasperis family, TACC Construction and TACC Developments have donated $55,236.43 to the Ontario PCs, with Silvio personally contributing $23,960.
  • TACC’s lobbyists include PC insiders Peter Van Loan and Amir Remtulla, who recently worked in Doug Ford’s office

What he got:

  • On April 24, 2020 the Ford Government signed a Minister’s Zoning Order, which was requested by the TACC Holborn Corporation (DeGasperis) to enable a big mixed use development to be located at 8863 The Gore Road in Brampton. The MZO shuts down an ongoing LPAT appeal (Case# PL170678).
  • On Nov. 6, 2020 the Ford government signed another Minister’s Zoning Order enabling the Block 41 secondary plan development on greenfields and farmland just west of Highway 400. The plan allows development right up to the Greenbelt boundary, and requires a new access road through protected lands. The MZO was requested by the Block 41 Landowners Group including Silvio De Gasperis and other Conservative donors.

Carmine Nigro

Who he is:

  • Carmine Nigro is president of Craft Development, who is also the Vice-President of the PC Ontario Fund.
  • In 2018, Nigro hosted an invitation-only PC party fundraiser for the Development Industry with Minister Steve Clark as the guest of honour.
  • In 2019, after being appointed Chair of the LCBO, Nigro organized a fundraiser for Finance Minister Vic Fedeli, the minister in charge of the LCBO.
  • Nigro has personally donated over $8200 to the PC Party and Doug Ford’s leadership campaign.

What he got:

  • On July 8, 2020 the Ford government signed a Minister’s Zoning Order enabling the residential portion of the massive Walmart development on the corner of Hwy 35 and Colborne Street West in Lindsay.
  • In a Dec. 2 2019 letter, former Lindsay mayor Marty Stollar said the residential project was “directly contrary” to the city’s official plans, the provincial growth plan and the provincial policy statement.

Mario Cortellucci

Who he is:

What he got:

  • The Ford government signed a Minister’s Zoning Order on Nov. 6, 2020, enabling development of greenfields at the southeast corner of Rutherford Road and Jane Street.
  • The MZO was requested three weeks earlier on Oct. 13, 2020 by Cortelucci’s Cortel Group.

James Schlegel

Who he is:

  • James Schlegel, CEO of Schlegel Villages, is a major PC Party donor.
  • Schlegel and his companies have donated $37,290 to the PC Party and PC Leadership candidates.

What he got:

Steve Apostolopoulos

Who he is:

  • Steve Apostolopoulos is CEO of Triple Group.
  • Steve Apostolopoulos has donated thousands of dollars to the PC Party and its candidates since 2018, including $1,222 to Pickering-Uxbridge MPP and Treasury Board president Peter Bethlenfalvy.

What he got:

Background on 38 MZOs.