Most Money Is Made On “Re-Zoning”: Former Clarington Mayor John Mutton aka Mr. X

Without a beat, former Clarington Mayor John Mutton outright said that most money in real estate is made on “re-zoning.”

In an episode of The Highest And Best Use Podcast with Ryan Carr, the eponymous host asked the former city mayor, who’s been recently and infamously labeled as Mr. X in the ongoing Greenbelt fiasco, where he thinks the most money is made.

“I have to say: in the re-zoning end first, and on the market advancement second,” Mutton replied.

He added that “most developers [he knows] don’t build,” characterizing that developers mostly develops real estate assets rather than build on it to increase property valuation.

Carr even added that most people don’t know that developers and builders are two different skill sets.

The interview, published in June 29, comes before a scathing special report was published by Ontario’s auditor general Bonnie Lysyk, revealing a troubling connection between developers and the province’s decision to extract Greenbelt lands. The report highlights what appears to be preferential treatment afforded to developers, with indications that they exerted direct influence over the decision-making process.

This revelation follows a rigorous six-month investigation that involved interviews with key figures, including Premier Doug Ford, who staunchly denied any impropriety.

In the course of the investigation, Greenbelt developer Peter Tanenbaum was described to have enlisted the services of two consultants, each with their own unique background and roles. One of these consultants was Nico Fidani-Diker, who had previously served as an executive assistant to Ford and had transitioned into a registered lobbyist, with multiple developers on his client roster.

The other consultant, however, operated without registering as a lobbyist, despite indicating in emails to his client that he was actively engaging with political staffers through invitations to golf outings and Raptors games. His contract even included a substantial $1-million bonus contingent upon the removal of the land from the Greenbelt and obtaining the necessary development approvals.

This enigmatic consultant, referred to as “Mr. X” by the integrity commissioner, has been recently identified as Mutton, who currently presides over the consulting and business development firm Municipal Solutions. Mutton adamantly asserted that his role was not that of a lobbyist, but rather as a provider of comprehensive development services encompassing planning and engineering.

The integrity commissioner’s report disclosed details from Mr. X’s contract with Tanenbaum, outlining a $6,000 monthly payment along with a $225,000 “Greenbelt fee” in the event of Greenbelt removal and an additional $775,000 for obtaining zoning approvals. Fidani-Diker emphasized that such contingency fees were not part of his usual practices, as they violate Ontario’s lobbying act, which prohibits compensation tied to the success of influencing decision-makers.

Mutton declined to respond to specific findings regarding Mr. X in the commissioner’s report and was not interviewed by the commissioner. His social media presence included photos with Premier Ford and Housing Minister Steve Clark, where he described his company’s role as “cutting the red tape for all land use development.”

Information for this briefing was found via the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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