A source who volunteered for Brampton North Liberal candidate Ruby Sahota in 2015 says Sahota personally stapled illegally donated campaign cash to membership applications in the lead-up to her nomination.
The source, who spoke to True North on the condition they not be named due to fear of retribution said that thousands of dollars in $5 and $10 bills were attached to Liberal Party of Canada membership forms by Sahota and a volunteer. Sahota’s campaign then submitted these applications to the Liberal party.
Sahota won the nomination, then went on to win her seat for the Liberals in 2015. She’s now seeking re-election.
True North has also obtained court documents alleging Sahota’s 2015 nomination and general election campaigns illegally received $50,000 in cash from a restaurant owned by Sahota’s family, as well as $17,000 in undeclared expenses incurred on the restaurant’s credit card.
The allegation appears in a divorce application filed by Sahota’s former sister-in-law, Satinder Kaur Johal, against Sahota’s brother, Rajveer Singh.
Also named as respondents in the file are Sahota’s and Singh’s parents, Harbans Singh and Surinder Kaur Singh, because of their involvement with the restaurant and other commercial ventures.
Johal and Singh, who are now divorced, owned a Brampton Fionn MacCool’s franchise with Harbans Singh.
“In or around 2014, my husband’s sister, namely, Rabinder Ruby Sahota, decided to run as a nomination candidate for the Liberal party in Brampton-North (sic),” Johal alleges in the court filing.
“My husband, without my consent gave her $10,000.00 for her nomination membership and spent $40,000.00 for her election. This money came by way of cash transactions at the restaurant as well as payment through his father’s MBNA Credit Card in the amount of $17,000.00. Even that amount was paid from the restaurant during the marriage.”
The case never went to trial and these allegations have not been proven in court.
Sahota won the Liberal nomination at a March 2015 meeting that saw more than 3,700 Liberal members of Brampton North show up to vote. Reports at the time said this set a new record for the most members to vote at a nomination meeting in Ontario.
While the Liberal party removed its membership fee in 2016, at the time of Sahota’s nomination it cost $10 to join the party: all membership forms required would-be members to affirm they were paying with personal funds and would not be reimbursed.
Donations to nomination campaigns are capped at $1,600 per person. Corporate donations are illegal, and all contributions over $200 must be publicly disclosed.
Sahota’s 2015 nomination campaign’s return filed with Elections Canada says the campaign spent $16,827. Most of this went towards advertising and bulk mailing, though a $3,616 payment to Sahota’s father, Harbans Singh, is listed only as “VARIOUS.”
The campaign claimed just under $22,000 in monetary and non-monetary contributions from 17 donors.
True North has chosen not to publish the entire court record because it contains a number of family details not relevant to Sahota or her campaigns.
Numerous inquiries to Sahota’s personal email address and campaign media representative went unanswered, as did text messages, phone calls and an email to Sahota’s brother.
Johal, who works as a lawyer in Brampton, declined to comment.