Last December, it was reported in several mainstream media outlets that Richmond Hill councilor Karen Cilevitz, and her spouse, Derek Christie, were both facing criminal charges. Cilevitz was charged with fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust by a public officer; Christie was charged with fraud over $5,000 and possession of proceeds of crime.
That sounds serious. Yet, the nitty-gritty details behind the alleged fraud went unreported. Until now.
Rebel News was able to track down the victim of the fraud to get her side of the story. And what a story it is.
Patty Burton Garcia was hired by Cilevitz to work as a part-time assistant for the Ward 5 councilor beginning in the summer of 2019. Her salary was $25,000, with Patty being paid about $900 every two weeks. But starting from the day she received her first paycheque, things took a perverse twist. Namely, Patty says Cilevitz informed her that she’d be taking the lion’s share of Patty’s paycheque (typically about $800) which she would share with her spouse, Christie. Eventually, Cilevitz and Christie allegedly dinged Patty for some $21,000, or more than 80% of her earnings.
Incredibly, Patty agreed to the drastic pay cut as she had a desire to contribute to public service and she was able to get by with her pension. But things came to an ugly head around tax time the following year. Patty was informed by her accountant that because on paper she was earning that full salary, she owed the Canadian Revenue Agency about $4,000. She was stunned. And Patty says when she told Cilevitz about the impending tax hit, the councilor allegedly responded with three words: “Not my problem.”
Alas, it soon morphed into a very big problem indeed for Cilevitz when police began investigating. Fraud charges soon followed.
Alas, this isn’t the first time Cilevitz has found herself in trouble. Rebel News reported that Cilevitz was docked 90 days’ pay after an investigation by the city’s integrity commissioner. It was determined that she had bullied a constituent, Steffi Goodfield. In an angry voicemail, Cilevitz for Steffi, the councillor warned that only she could use the term “Ward 5.” The unhinged voicemail must be heard to be believed…
We reached out to Cilevitz for her side of the story but she declined to comment.
In the meantime, check out Patty’s unbelievable story of how she was swindled out of more than $20,000. In the meantime, the Cilivetz matter continues to wind its way through court. Her next appearance by her is scheduled for July 11. Stay tuned.