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Disney World, gym membership: Hampstead mayor responds to scathing report on tax dollar spending


Hampstead city council was asked to answer to questions Tuesday night about town spending after a recent provincial report revealed the city's director general had expensed tens of thousands of city dollars for personal expenses, including a gym membership and a trip to Disney World.

Residents of Hampstead took part in a council meeting to ask questions about tax dollar spending, seek clarification and call on the mayor for transparency.

Mayor Jeremy Levi opened the council meeting by addressing the report from the Commission municipale du Quebec (CMQ).

He repeatedly defended the director general, Richard Sun, claiming he did not engage in any wrongdoing and that the council has no grounds to suspect foul play or improper conduct.

"Our administrative framework incorporates rigorous checks and balances, underscored by annual external audits that have consistently revealed no evidence of fraud or mismanagement," he said at the meeting.

He also repeatedly accused the media of sensational reporting on the director general, saying they were "dragging him through the mud."

Levi claimed there are justifiable explanations for the expenses highlighted in the report. For example, the Disney World trip cited in the report presented an incomplete picture, he said, because there was no visit to the theme park or its attractions. Instead, he said, it was for a social media conference in Orlando about PR, marketing and corporate communications. Levi said this wasn't a vacation, and the DG was there for town business.

The mayor also explained Sun has now retired, praising him for what he called "18 dedicated years of dedicated and exemplary service to the Town of Hampstead."

Levi said it was a planned retirement, and the timing is coincidental.

"It is regrettable that these circumstances have cast a shadow over the impeccable record of our director general, especially as he approached his previously announced retirement that took effect yesterday," said Levi.

Levi is promising to go above and beyond the recommendations in the CMQ report, and said the Town of Hampstead will be launching its own independent external investigation into the matter, and will make the findings public as soon as possible. Top Stories

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