Group behind surveillance of city inspectors reaches out to Bowman

On his private line, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman says he got an unexpected call on Easter Monday.

“I can let you know, got a call from a lawyer on my private phone on the weekend,” said Bowman.

That lawyer is representing the group who hired a private investigator to follow city property inspectors around. The city has launched a probe into the allegations the workers were caught on video doing personal activities during business hours. The city does not have the video footage and other materials. The mayor says the lawyer offered to turn it over to him.

“There was a desire to provide me with the information,” said Bowman.

Instead, Bowman says he told the lawyer to give everything to city officials in charge of the investigation.

“I suggested that they provide that information to the public service that is conducting the investigation.”

The lawyer is John Prystanski, and he agreed to speak to CTV News.

“Our anonymous citizens group, they want the City of Winnipeg to have their report,” said Prystanski.

Prystanski says he told the mayor they’ll only turn over the evidence if the city is willing to hold an independent inquiry, because the current internal probe is not good enough.

“There’s a large trust issue and history has proven that sometimes you got to take and make extreme measures to see change,” said Prystanski.

Bowman told Prystanski the group could also go to the provincial ombudsman.

“There is an independent organization in the Office of the Ombudsman that could be utilized so that we could all collectively get to the bottom of the allegations,” said Bowman.

Prystanski says that option is up in the air following a conversation he had with the ombudsman’s office.

“I responded to them with one question, ‘Do you have the authority to make corporate systemic change?’ I’ve yet to hear back,” said Prystanski.