Amher­st­burg CAO was on town busi­ness when he missed court

Windsor Star - - CITY+REGION - TREVOR WILHELM twil­helm@post­media.com

Amher­st­burg CAO John Miceli was busy with town busi­ness — not on va­ca­tion, as a Wind­sor judge was told — when he didn’t show up to tes­tify in court last month.

Miceli, the for­mer head of Wind­sor’s parks depart­ment, was sup­posed to be in court June 29 as the fi­nal wit­ness to tes­tify at the fraud trial of for­mer city em­ployee An­gela Berry. Think­ing he was on va­ca­tion, Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Bruce Thomas threat­ened to is­sue an ar­rest war­rant if Miceli was a noshow again.

But dur­ing a July 9 court ap­pear­ance with Miceli’s lawyer, An­drew Bradie, Thomas learned what re­ally hap­pened.

“I re­spect the fact that he was at all times ap­pro­pri­ately en­gaged in busi­ness for the Town of Amher­st­burg,” Thomas said in court, ac­cord­ing to a typed tran­script. “And I re­spect as well the fact that he on June 29, par­tic­u­larly in the af­ter­noon, was in­volved in im­por­tant mu­nic­i­pal busi­ness in­volv­ing com­mu­nity part­ners which re­quired his at­ten­dance, and not as was sug­gested to me on any form of va­ca­tion or out of the ju­ris­dic­tion.”

Thomas also ad­journed the trial un­til Septem­ber so Miceli can go on an ac­tual va­ca­tion that has been planned for months. Berry, 59, is ac­cused of de­fraud­ing the city of about $37,000 between Septem­ber 2014 and Jan­uary 2015 by sub­mit­ting in­voices us­ing the name of a friend’s busi­ness.

Berry, who was a fi­nan­cial an­a­lyst in the parks depart­ment, al­legedly cashed the cheques af­ter the in­voices had been pro­cessed for pay­ment.

She tes­ti­fied she was work­ing on a “se­cret” project for Miceli and an­other for­mer city man­ager. Thomas has said that Miceli is a “ma­te­rial wit­ness” in Berry’s fraud trial.

Af­ter Miceli didn’t ap­pear in court, Berry’s lawyer, Linda McCurdy, said she had in­for­ma­tion based on a Face­book post that he might have been on va­ca­tion. The judge di­rected the Crown to serve Miceli with an­other sub­poena. Thomas also threat­ened to is­sue an ar­rest war­rant if Miceli failed to at­tend at the next sched­uled date in July.

Af­ter see­ing a story about the missed court date in the Wind­sor Star, Miceli re­tained Bradie to set the record straight, and re­quest that up­com­ing trial dates be moved so he won’t miss them while on a pre­paid va­ca­tion in July.

“He would just like to have the record straight for pub­lic perception, that he wasn’t on va­ca­tion (June 29),” said Bradie. “When Mr. Miceli saw the ar­ti­cle in the Wind­sor Star, he was con­cerned for the bad public­ity which he re­ceived, and for the fact that the con­tin­u­a­tion of the trial date had been set in di­rect con­flict with a pre­paid va­ca­tion that he had sched­uled with his fam­ily.”

I re­spect the fact that he was at all times ap­pro­pri­ately en­gaged in busi­ness for the Town of Amher­st­burg.

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