Welcome Mayor Savage — The Coast deals Kelly a fatal blow

[See update/correction below] The Coast, a Halifax weekly paper, has produced a devastating account of Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly’s mishandling of the estate of  a family friend who had named him as executor and sole trustee of her modest fortune.

In a prodigious piece of reporting, News Editor Tim Bousquet lays out the complex story in relentless detail, layering  fact upon devastating fact through 5,000 words, illustrated with cancelled cheques and sketchy legal and financial filings. It’s too complicated to summarize here, but please read it yourself, especially if you are a resident or voter in HRM.

Bousquet’s work sometimes suffers from his habit of wearing his heart on his sleeve, but this time he wisely eschews umbrage and lets the facts of the late Mary Thibeault’s seven-year probate debacle speak for themselves. The accumulated evidence, Kelly’s refusal to comment, and his apparent effort to enlist wronged benefactors in a secrecy pact add up to an indictment of the scandal-plagued mayor. It’s impossible to imagine Kelly surviving an election in light of The Coast’s revelations.

Politically, His Worship is a dead duck.

It will take a lot of work for other Metro news organizations to catch up with Bousquet’s reportage, but I was surprised to see most of them ignore the story in their Friday editions. The ethical thing would have been to run a short creditor piece — “The Coast weekly reported Thursday that…” with comment from the Mayor and Savage — and the get their top reporters on the job in earnest Friday.

They chose instead to pretend Bousquet’s shocking revelations did not exist. The free tabloid Metro was an exception, as was were the Rick Howe Show and CTV-Atlantic, both of which interviewed Bousquet.

No doubt these news organizations are embarrassed that The Coast, known mainly as a free circulation entertainment paper and a vehicle for syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, scooped them so badly on a story that was already in the public domain. But ignoring their competitor’s accomplishment, and their mayor’s shenanigans, only makes them look small. (Yes Caroline, Andrew, Sarah, and Steve, I’m looking at you.)

[Update/Correction] Contrary to my initial post, CTV-Atlantic did cover the story by running an interview with Bousquet. Apologies for the mistake, and thanks to Greg Beaulieu for the correction.