Loading articles...

Trending: McGuinty aide and Sunshine List member is crowdfunding legal bills

Last Updated Jan 5, 2016 at 12:39 pm EST

Laura Miller testifies at a gas plant hearing on Aug. 6, 2013. Screen grab via Ontario Parliament.

There’s no question that legal bills can be expensive.

But are they so high that even a woman who was on the Sunshine List can’t afford them?

The Sunshine List is a list of public service employees that make over $100,000 a year. In 2014, Ontario Power Generation CEO Tom Mitchell topped the list with $1.55 million. (Figures for 2015 have not yet been disclosed, as the numbers are not usually available until March of the following year.)

Laura Miller took home $154,469 in 2013, the year she was Premier Dalton McGuinty’s deputy chief of staff. Her full title and salary, plus bonuses, can be found here. She then left the job to work for the British Columbia Liberals, but stepped down when she was charged in relation to the gas plant scandal.

Miller, as well as McGuinty’s former chief of staff David Livingston, are each charged with breach of trust, mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system to commit the offence of mischief.

Ontario Provincial Police allege that Miller’s boyfriend, Peter Faist, had access to computers in the premier’s office and possibly deleted files just before McGuinty relinquished power.

Miller, who had been promoted to executive director of the B.C. Liberal party, is now out of a job. Is that why she needs help paying for a lawyer?

Miller put out the appeal on crowd-funding site FundRazr and her friend, political strategist Warren Kinsella, tweeted about it. By Tuesday morning, donors had contributed $18,445, about 18 per cent of her $100,000 goal.

In a blog post that he linked to the Tweet, Kinsella added that Miller had retained the services of his “great friend Clay Ruby.” Clayton Ruby is a high-profile Toronto lawyer who previously argued against Rob Ford in a conflict-of-interest case, and against the province’s pit-bull ban.

Miller has said she would “vigorously” defend herself against the charges, and said police had a bias against her because of a complaint she filed with the Ontario Independent Police Review Director.

Kinsella agreed, calling the OPP “discredited” and adding Miller “will prevail in the end – but it’s going to be expensive. Please help out – all donations all gratefully accepted, once again, here.”

Update: In an email to The Canadian Press, Miller wrote, “It was never intended to be a public campaign. I am deeply grateful for the kind notes of encouragement, the generous  contributions in support, and everything in between.”