Markham councillors call for investigation of arena backer

The Markham arena deal continues to fall apart: Now two city councillors are demanding a financial probe of developer Graeme Roustan, who’s proposed the $325 million arena project, half of which would be paid for by the city government via possibly illegal fees on future development. (The other half would be borrowed by the city and then repaid — hopefully — by Roustan and his private partners.)

Given that Roustan hasn’t revealed anything about his personal finances, and was found guilty of statutory fraud in an arena case in Texas in 2009, and apparently lied about being a finalist for purchase of the Montreal Canadiens, plus that this is the NHL, which historically tends to attract some dubious characters, yeah, maybe some due diligence might not be a bad idea.

For the record, Mayor Frank Scarpitti still loves the arena deal, and argues thatit doesn’t matter how much money Roustan himself has, since he’s only being relied on to bring together the actual money men, and “I’ve been impressed with who he has brought in as partners.” The city council, though, looks to be growing less and less enthused. This deal could still happen, but it looks a hell of a lot less likely than it did a few months ago.

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