A Concordia journalism student has come forward, alleging that he was bullied by the mayor of Dollard des Ormeaux while he was working on a story.

Nicholas Di Giovanni reached out to mayor Ed Janiszewski for a comment about a proposed sports complex in DDO, but incidentally stumbled into a hotly contested mayoral race.

As a sports editor for The Concordian, Di Giovanni doesn’t normally cover politics.

But when mayoral candidate Alex Bottausci, a Concordia employee, adopted the idea of the sports complex as part of his electoral platforms, Di Giovanni thought it would be of interest to the newspaper's audience. 

Bottausci squares off with longtime mayor Ed Janiszewski in the upcoming municipal vote.

After interviewing Bottausci, Di Giovanni reached out to the DDO mayor for his take—but got more than he expected.

“He asked for a copy of the article before printing for approval. I said ‘no, I can’t do that,’” Di Giovanni explained.

“He said ‘don’t include personal comments about my competitors,’ [and] I said ‘no, I can't do that either, it was said on record. And then he said I was working with a conflict of interest—I said I’m not, at all.”

Further, the student alleged that the mayor told him that if the story he was publishing about his opponent was favourable, he would pull his annual alumnus donation to Concordia.

However, Janiszewski says he made no threats and that it was just a joke.

“I always joke. Why would I take away funding because this kid is calling me on the phone?” he told CTV Montreal.

He also defends his attempts to improve the content of Di Giovanni’s article.

Bottausci, on the other hand, said that the suggestion of conflict of interest is just political mudslinging.

“When someone wants to muzzle journalism, or journalistic reporting of whatever sort this is, is what our democracy and transparency is built on,” Bottausci said.

Although the article is yet to be published, Di Giovanni said he’s learned some infallible lessons.

“No matter who I’m working for, I’m a young journalist, but any journalist should be treated with respect and not to be controlled by any public official, much less an elected official who’s been in office 33 years,” he explained.