After thinking about this for a couple of days, I’m confident my [father] would have expected better of me.
–Paul Calandra explains sniveling grovel to the House of Commons, Sept. 26.
It’s become standard procedure for politicians to exploit their families whenever they need hair shirts (skirts, shurely?!—ed.) to hide behind in the daily shit show of Question Period.
But Paulie “Walnuts” Calandra has taken this unseemly tactic to new lows over the past year, not only dragging his helpless children into the pages of Hansard, but also his late mother, father and wife.
Last week it was pater, before that, his daughters were the props in Paulie’s lecture on the merits of hard work and thrift. And last November, when he got up to invoke his sainted father working 18-hour days in the family pizzeria, well, there wasn’t a dry seat in the House.
“I can tell you what my father would not have done if he saw somebody stealing from his cash register. He would have said, ‘You are fired, leave,’ and he would have called the police.”
Calling the cops is precisely what Paulie’s siblings had in mind when they took him to court in 2005, amid accusations he stole money from their mother’s $5-million estate.
According to his sisters, Connie Calandra and Milva Gehring, Paulie abused his power of attorney to manage their mother’s affairs by taking out a $240,000 mortgage on her farm at Ballantrae, Ont., wrote himself a $25,000 cheque and racked up $7,800 on one of her credit cards—all without the old doll’s knowledge or consent.
The sisters also claimed that Paulie, in a ploy to win support from constituents, donated 40 acres of his mother’s land to the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust, a land preservation group in GTA.
Connie and Milva argued that since he’d falsified power of attorney, the land was not Walnuts to give.
Ma Calandra, sick in the hospital, wised up to Paulie’s maneuvers and removed him as POA and appointed one of the sisters. According to the sisters, Walnuts ignored his siblings and simply carried on spending mom’s money with the old POA papers.
“Our brother acted in such a manner that he left us feeling both sad and bewildered,” the sisters said in their statement of claim.
Paulie denied the allegations, saying it was sour grapes, and that his sisters—and brother, Joe, in a separate suit–were driven by self-interest.
Mrs. Calandra died in August 2005, leaving her four children an estimated $5 million.
The dispute was still smoking in the spring of 2007 as Paulie campaigned to be the Tory candidate for Oak Ridges-Markham. When his sisters took their story to the local Whitchurch-Stouffville newspaper, Walnuts went apeshit.
He phoned Milva’s home and left a recorded message, calling her, among other things, a meddling “cunt!”
“This is how evil he is,” Milva later told friends.
The dispute was settled out of court in 2008, but as far as Paulie’s siblings are concerned, he’s dead to them.
Milva told Frank last November that she had “nothing to say” about her brother.
“Just dig deeper,” she said, before hanging up.