EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on The Trillium, a new Village Media website devoted exclusively to covering provincial politics at Queen’s Park
A cabinet minister in the Ford government has resigned and left the Progressive Conservative caucus after admitting to giving Ontario's integrity commissioner incorrect information about a Las Vegas trip with a Greenbelt developer.
Kaleed Rasheed, formerly the minister of public and business service delivery, and the MPP Mississauga East—Cooksville, resigned on Wednesday afternoon.
Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake expanded his recent Greenbelt investigation to look into the Vegas trip, which The Trillium first reported on June 29.
On Sept. 11, The Trillium reported new information challenging the accounts that Rasheed, the developer Shakir Rehmatullah, Amin Massoudi, a former close aide of Ford's, and Jae Truesdell, the premier's current director of housing policy, gave to Wake about the trip.
New information that The Trillium reported included that Massoudi had booked an 80-minute "Good Luck Ritual" massage at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel — where they stayed — on Feb. 1, 2020. He, Rasheed and Truesdell had told the integrity commissioner that they went to stay at the Wynn Las Vegas in December 2019.
Rasheed and Massoudi had said they only "briefly encountered" Rehmatullah, who they said was visiting Vegas separately from them, in the lobby of the Wynn in December 2019.
CTV News then reported on Tuesday that Rasheed and Rehmatullah had gotten massages at the same hotel spa at the same time as Massoudi on Feb. 1, 2020.
Also on Tuesday, Rasheed's spokesperson said in a statement that he had "mistakenly" shared incorrect information with the integrity commissioner "based off the original itinerary of the trip."
In a statement on Wednesday, Ford's office said, "Premier Ford and MPP Kaleed Rasheed have agreed that Mr. Rasheed would resign from cabinet and the Ontario PC caucus, effective immediately."
"If Mr. Rasheed can clear his name through the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, he will be provided an opportunity to return to caucus," Ford's office statement continued.
More to come...