News / Calgary

'It's an abuse:' Terrigno lawsuit asks Farrell to pay her own legal bills

The lawsuit is over Coun. Druh Farrell's handling of a rejected Kensington development request

After getting new information, the legal counsel representing the Terrigno family in a lawsuit against Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell has added more requests to its claim, including a request that she pay her own legal bills and bow out of running in the municipal election if she's not able to.

In May, Farrell was slapped with a lawsuit asking for more than $200,000 in damages for her "targeted malice" in scuttling the Terrigno family's Kensington development plans along with other bad blood allegations between the family and politician concerning an annual Stampede party.

"The greatest issue of this claim is the fact that Ms Farrell was too closely attached to this issue," said Donna Gee, counsel to the Terrigno family. "She lives literally metres away from the restaurant and would have been personally affected by this development."

Farrell's statement of defence adamantly denied the lawsuit's claims, asked for it to be dropped and stated she would seek an elevated level of costs given its political timing and duplication of claims, which the Terrigno response denies.

These claims, along with the new claims outlined in Guardian Law Group's reply to Farrell's statement of defence, have not been proven in court.

When Metro asked Farrell about the updated reply last week, staff said she was unable to reply because she had not been served with the newest legal document.

"The fact that the information was sent to the media at least a week before it was sent to us, shows that the lawsuit is politically motivated and an abuse of the court," said Farrell in a written statement. "It is a flagrant attempt to influence the election and to prevent me from representing my constituents."

She wrote that the use of the courts to silence democratic representation is "deeply troubling."

In the reply to the councillor's statement of defence, the suit now unearths allegations of wrongful dismissal which the applicant claims were brought about by Farrell after Stan Schwartzenberger allegedly refused to shut down the family's Stampede party. He was the city's director of Development and Building Approvals.

In 2012, Schwartzenberger launched his own lawsuit against the City of Calgary seeking more than $600,000 with allegations he was wrongfully dismissed. His claim was settled.

Gee said the plan is to use both Schwartzenberger and Stanley as witnesses in their lawsuit.

Farrell didn't respond directly to the latest claims but again highlighted that the Terrignos have three separate lawsuits with similar allegations.

"I strongly deny all allegations set out in this vexatious law suit and I will not be intimidated," Farrell wrote. "I was doing my job, the community association was doing its job, and I am more determined than ever to fight for the constituents of Ward 7." ​

The latest documents claim Farrell isn't entitled to be covered by the City of Calgary for the lawsuit at hand. Gee said her clients are asking that Farrell pay her own way through court. If she can't, they want the Ward 7 councillor to bow out of the 2017 municipal election.

"What our clients are saying is they take issue with Druh Farrell using our taxpayer's dollars to fund lawsuits when they may have done things improperly," Gee said. "It's an over abuse of power."

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