Why didn’t the new 2015 Springwater Township council fire the old CAO and Clerk and change law firms?

May 16, 2017

In Oct 2014, (l) Mayor Bill French and Deputy Mayor Don Allen were elected to change the direction of Springwater Township.

To, specifically, try as much as possible to defeat the Midhurst Secondary Plan.

What new experts have they relied on?

Robert Brindley

John Daly

They kept on Chief Administrator Officer Robert Brindley and Clerk John Daly.

And they then stayed the course even further by keeping Mr. Barnet H. Kussner of WeirFoulds LLP as counsel for the Midhurst Secondary Plan.


Are Springwater Township Council members & staff competently managing their own developer-originated, litigation-derived contingent liabilities?

March 18, 2014

Every corporation must disclose and protect against material risks and executives must manage and disclose something called contingent liability.


From their initial response, this does not appear to be happening by the Corporation of the Township of Springwater

Request for Information
from: Les Stewart les.j.stewart@gmail.com

to: Mayor Linda Collins <linda.collins@springwater.ca>
cc: Deputy Mayor Dan McLean <dan.mclean@springwater.ca>,
Jack Hanna <jack.hanna@springwater.ca>,
Perry Ritchie <perry.ritchie@springwater.ca>,
Dan Clement <dan.clement@springwater.ca>,
Sandy McConkey <sandy.mcconkey@springwater.ca>,
John Daly <John.Daly@springwater.ca>
date: 18 March 2014 09:10
subject: Contingent Liability provision: Litigation risk to Corporatino involving in the Midhurst Secondary Plan

Without Prejudice but Not Confidential

Mayor Linda Collins
Corporation of the Township of Springwater
Minesing, Ontario

Mayor Collins,

This is a follow-up from my verbal question at the March 17, 2014 general council meeting.

From their response, it is my conclusion that your senior staff will not be booking any financial liability whatsoever on their 2013 or 2014 audited financial statements having to do with this controversial, unprecedented activity by corporations that are on the public record as being extremely litigation-prone to those that do not yield unconditionally to their will.

Q1: Will you be instructing your senior staff to investigate and report back to Council in open session the range of potential financial loss(es) that may accrue to the Corporation of the Township of Springwater having to do with the initial cost of defence and potential final claim (trial and appeal) of a lawsuit(s) by a single or multiple parties?

A yes or no answer would be be appreciated, please. Other questions may arise from your answer or non-answer.

It is my understanding, that you, Council members, and senior staff have a professional and personal fiduciary duty to protect the Corporation from harm by acting in a commercially reasonably, fiscally prudent manner to protect future taxpayers’ interests.

I reserve distribution and publication rights to this document and unreservedly offer the same to the Corporation and individual members of Council. Clerk Daly; please formally record this correspondence and acknowledge such to me.


Mr. Les Stewart MBA
1201 Bayfield Street North
Midhurst ON L0L 1X1
705 737-4635 Tel
705 627-2242 Cell

Is Shame-humiliation a professional treatment of a taxpayer during a Springwater Township budget meeting?

March 13, 2014

I did not expect to see a fellow citizen bullied and publicly shamed in a municipal Council meeting.

Springwater News, March 15th article Two Simple Words (click here for pdf copy):

…To my surprise a staff member’s burst of an angry response, to my distaste, became a threeway use of “outside voices”, the third party being the mayor, when the feeling of being bullied and cornered brought out the worst in me. For that I am sorry.

At the next coming meeting, I intend to verbally apologize to all council members plus I took the time to write each individual person on council a hand-written note of an apology. My slate will be clean and everyone, I hope, will feel better, with the grave exception of this lowly soul who did not get one in return. I feel I also deserve an apology for the mismanagement of the situation. A simple apology would have aided in making me feel the same as my apology made those two feel. I did this all behind closed doors with an appointment that I made to rectify this unfortunate position my mouth caused.

So maybe I did not deserve an apology but did I deserve for that staff member to abruptly shove his chair, leave the meeting and the office and ask the clerk to take his place at the table and leave me sitting in the office?

When I left the meeting and returned home, I thought it all over again, thinking to myself, “Was I wrong in asking someone on staff to share the blame alongside me. How can I be the only one not deserving of an “I’m sorry”? Am I less of a person than the one who bolted out of the room? Did I not deserve to be heard? I did expect more from a person who receives a pay cheque from my taxes…

The Compass of Shame, Dr. Donald Nathanson, Affect theory

In my opinion, this citizen, has dealt with this unprovoked shame-humiliation attack in an appropriate manner.

Credence good experts tend to cheat because they have the opportunity and incentive to do so.

April 5, 2012

An economic analysis of expert credence good providers is useful for the layperson trying to understand the Midhurst Secondary Plan crisis.

Competent public administrators know about the risk of credence good experts and take action to militate the risk of opportunism (self-interest with deceit) foisted on themselves and the public.

Email from Springwater Township to Les Stewart:

From: Brad Sokach
Date: 24 Feb 2012
To: Brent, me, John, Council

Hello Mr. Stewart,

The firm we use for legal matters associated with the Midhurst Secondary Plan is Weir Foulds LLP (www.weirfoulds.com).   Mr. Barnet Kussner and Mr. Bruce Engell are the attorneys assigned to the file.

Outside of the OMB appeals I am not aware of the Township being a plaintiff or defendant on any matters related to the Midhurst Secondary Plan.  I have asked the staff member who tracks claims against the municipality for confirmation and will advise if there are any claims related to the Plan.


Brad Sokach, P.Eng.
Director of Planning and Public Works
Township of Springwater
2231 Nursery Road
Minesing, ON  L0L 1Y2
P. 705.728.4784 ext 2034
F. 705.728.6957


A. Credence Good

Legal advice is a credence good. To economists, credence goods are goods or services with the following 3 characteristics:

  1. the value is difficult or impossible for the buyer to determine accurately before they buy it,
  2. the buyer can’t know if it was useful [even after they did buy it] and
  3. the seller does know the value of #1 and #2 and therefore can exploit this ignorance for their own self-interest (ie. information asymmetry leads to opportunism risk). Wikipedia

Two academic references on credence good experts who cheat.
1. Dr. Gillian K. Hadfield, University of Southern California:

Economists refer to a good as a credence good if it is provided by an expert who also determines the buyer’s needs. Buyers of credence goods are unable to assess how much of the good or service they in fact need; nor can they assess whether or not the service was performed or how well. This puts buyers at risk of opportunistic behavior on the part of sellers: they may be sold too much of a service or billed for services not performed or performed poorly. Theoretical work on markets for credence goods predicts that markets for credence goods may be characterized by fraud (billing for unnecessary services or services not performed) and a price mark-up over cost…Legal services are credence goods… Free download: The Price of Law: How the Market for Lawyers Distorts the Justice System

2. Dr. Winand Emons, University of Bern:

With a credence good, consumers are never sure about the extent of the good that they actually need. Experts such as doctors and lawyers, as well as auto mechanics and appliance service-persons (the sellers) not only provide the services, but also act as the expert in determining the customer’s requirements. This information asymmetry between buyers and the seller creates strong incentives for the seller to cheat. Free download: Credence Good Monopolists

B. NPV (net present value) of Competing Clients

  1. An economically weak municipality in a minor county; next-to-zero repeat business potential


  1. Consortium of national-scale corporations that control thousands of acres of raw land within commuting distance of the largest residential market in Canada; 30 to 50 year time frame.

C. Conflict of Interest (reputation risk of real or perceived)

Conflicts of interest do arise in the business of practicing law. They just seldom arise in a public fashion such as here.

The dealers also named Cassels Brock & Blackwell as a defendant in the action, alleging the law firm was in a conflict of interest. The lawsuit alleges that at the same time Cassels was advising dealers of their legal rights during the wind-down, the firm was also representing the federal government during GM’s bailout negotiations.

Judge certifies class action against General Motors, Cassels Brock, March 2, 2011

%d bloggers like this: