LONDON, Ont. – Mayor Matt Brown spoke with Postmedia reporter Patrick Maloney late Tuesday, addressing the scandal engulfing city council amid the mayor’s inappropriate relationship with Coun. Maureen Cassidy, who’s quit as deputy mayor. Here’s a transcript of the interview:
LFP: I guess I’ll start with this: (Deputy mayor) Paul Hubert suggested he would be acting mayor Wednesday. Fair to conclude you’re taking something of a hiatus or a leave?
BROWN: I intend to spend more time with my children and my wife in the coming weeks. I’m taking some time away over the next little while and I’ll return to my duties when we’re ready.
LFP: I think you have a three-month grace period (before your seat is declared vacant). You’re talking about less than three months, I guess?
BROWN: I’m going to take the next few days with Andrea (his wife) and the boys. My primary focus will be on my family over the next little while and I’ll return to my other duties when we’re ready.
LFP: So there’s no part of you that’s even considering the possibility of resigning as mayor.
BROWN: I love my family and I love my work as mayor of London. I do look forward to continue that work over the next number of years and I’m going to find a better balance between the demands of my job and the needs of my wife and my family.
LFP: These sorts of workplace affairs, workplace relationships, this happens. What would you say to people who are sitting in judgment?
BROWN: I’d say that I’m deeply sorry for the pain this has caused for my wife, for my family, for everyone involved. I make no excuses for my behaviour. I make no excuses for my poor judgment in my personal life.
LFP: I hate to even ask this, but when you ran for office there was a lot of talk about restoring integrity to the mayor’s office. Would you agree this sets that effort back?
BROWN: I want to be as transparent as possible. I want to talk about this grave error that I’ve made, and I need to own that. That is an important thing to do and I recognize that this is something that occurred in my personal life but I also recognize that it gets treated differently because I’m a public figure.
LFP: Although it is a personal matter it does cross into the professional arena. Can you and Maureen Cassidy still work together on council?
BROWN: I believe that is entirely possible. My commitment first and foremost is to my family. To ensure I’m focused on repairing the damage I’ve caused in my marriage and I will continue to work in a very professional way, in a very respectful way, with all of my council colleagues.
Written statement from Mayor Matt Brown, released at 8:33 p.m. Tuesday
Statement from Mayor Matt Brown:
In recent days there have been rumours circulating about my private life. Out of fairness for my colleagues and my family, I believe the best course of action is to address them directly.
I can confirm what some have speculated. Over the past many months, during a period of intense workload, I developed a close working relationship and ultimately an inappropriate personal relationship with Deputy Mayor Maureen Cassidy, for a brief period of time. This was a grave error in judgement on my part. The relationship ended sometime ago.
I am deeply sorry for the pain that this has caused – for my wife, my family and everyone involved. I make no excuses for my behavior and my poor judgement in my personal life.
Justifiably, my wife Andrea was extremely angry with me when I told her of the affair. My actions have put a tremendous strain on our relationship. Despite this, she has committed to working through this together and doing what we need to repair the damage I have caused to our marriage.
I love my wife, and we are working through our private issues together, with the help of marriage counselling and the minister of our Church, who has been a true friend to us.
I realize there will be many questions related to my personal and my professional life. In light of that, I will sit down with the integrity commissioner on Thursday. While I do not believe my relationship with the Deputy Mayor resulted in any breach of my professional responsibilities as Mayor, I nonetheless want to obtain his opinion to ensure that there are no issues. I will abide by any decisions or recommendations of the Commissioner.
I want to be as open and transparent as possible. I have made a grave error and I need to own that.
But, I also ask that members of the media and our London community respect the need of my wife and children for some privacy as we work through this difficult time.
I love my family and I love my work as mayor of London. I look forward to continuing that work over the next number of years, even as I find a better balance between the demands of my job, and the needs of my wife and family.
My primary focus must always be to earn the love and respect of Andrea and my family.
I intend to spend more time with my children and my wife in the coming weeks. I’m taking some time away over the next little while and I will return to my other duties when we’re ready.
Statement from Maureen Cassidy, to reporters at city hall Tuesday afternoon:
Over the past year and a half, my work as deputy mayor has involved long hours working closely with the mayor under conditions that were frequently extremely stressful.
Over time, we developed a very close and highly productive working relationship.
Unfortunately, the relationship between the mayor and me for a brief period of time crossed a professional boundary, and this is something which I regret immensely.
I’ve caused my family horrible pain and embarrassment, and for this I could never apologize enough.
I know this has also hurt the Brown family deeply and for this I am very sorry.
I apologize as well to my council colleagues for the disruption and distress that this announcement is bound to cause for them. It was never my intention to disrespect either them as individuals or the office we hold.
I am extremely proud of my work both as city councillor and deputy mayor. I’ve always endeavoured to serve my constituents and the citizens of London to the best of my abilities. And I have always maintained a high degree of professionalism in my work.
Nothing I have done has ever compromised that.
My family and I are now working through this together. We are working together to rebuild the trust that has been broken. Thank you for respecting their privacy at this time and for understanding that for us this is a very personal matter.
I won’t be taking any questions and I won’t be issuing any further statements.
“She gave her statement. It’s an intensely personal matter for her and Matt. Let’s give them time to focus on their families and I look forward to their continued service in the future.”
Deputy Mayor Paul Hubert
“I think everybody’s surprised. I think the families need privacy at this time. I think what people need to know is we may be down a couple (of) players, but we’re a strong team and the business of the city will continue.”
Coun. Josh Morgan
“It’s a sad day for London.”
Former mayoral candidate and city politician Roger Caranci, who ran against Brown
“I hope the families recover. This is the third mayor that’s taken us down a path we didn’t really want to go. I just don’t know how the mayor is going to take time off (with his family). To me, you’ve lost a mayor and you’ve lost a deputy mayor.”
Former city politician Cheryl Miller
Compiled by Dan Brown