Ex-Clarington Mayor Unmasked as ‘Mr. X’ in Ontario Greenbelt Land Scandal

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The enigmatic figure dubbed “Mr. X” in a recent, unflattering report by the integrity commissioner involving the extraction of land parcels from Ontario’s safeguarded Greenbelt, has now been identified as a former Clarington mayor. This individual has publicly bragged about his knack for furthering development via provincial orders.

The individual in question, John Mutton, was employed to assist a landowner in developing an 86-acre expanse of woodland and wetland located in Clarington. He allegedly achieved this by charming high-ranking officials within Ontario’s housing department, luring them with offers of Raptors tickets and golf games, actions all conducted outside his official capacity as a registered lobbyist according to the provincial registry.

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The report, penned by Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake, suggests that “Mr. X,” or Mutton, was poised to receive a $1 million reward if the land was excised from the greenbelt, converting mundane farmland into a profitable construction venture. This scenario could contravene rules that prevent lobbyists from receiving payment based on their lobbying outcomes.

Currently seated Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster has voiced his concerns about this incident, affirming it as a clear indicator lobbies should be controlled. He advocates for the implementation of a new municipal lobbyist registry, supplemental to the existing provincial one.

Mutton, however, has yet to respond to attempts of contact. He remained within his Bowmanville residence on a Friday when CTV News Toronto sought his presence, and neither Mutton nor his Oshawa-based company, Municipal Solutions, responded to inquiries. It is notable that Mutton’s company claims to employ a universal “fixer” and operates a division that cultivates fresh strains of cannabis and psilocybin, magic mushrooms’ active component.

Furthermore, Mutton’s social media platforms exhibit several photos in which he is taking selfies with high-profile conservative leaders, including Ontario’s Premier, Doug Ford.

Although the nature of these connections remains ambiguous, opposition leaders have expressed their concerns. Interim Ontario Liberal leader John Fraser hints at potential discomfort regarding Mutton’s link to the Premier, while Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles finds the connection to be of grave concern.

Mutton has openly expressed pride in his leadership role in overturning Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs)—a mechanism via which the provincial government can repeal local government regulations on land usage.

Worth noting is that the land discussed, an 86-acre plot in Clarington, was purchased by Peter Tanenbaum approximately 20 years ago for an estimated $2.7 million. Naturally, the land’s value will inflate with sanctioned development. According to the report, Mutton and Tanenbaum agreed on a contract in August 2022, entitling Mutton to a $6,000 monthly fee, a “Greenbelt Fee” of $225,000 following the land’s extrication from the Greenbelt, and a “Rezoning Fee” of $775,000 upon authorization of land development.

The integrity commissioner’s report notably calls attention to former housing minister Steve Clark’s violations of ethical guidelines and criticizes him for a “rushed and flawed” development process of the greenbelt area.

In light of these recent revelations, the lobbyist registry could not confirm Mutton as a registered lobbyist, which is now triggering a deeper investigation into potential violations of lobbyist rules by “Mr. X” by Wake.