After lawsuit dismissed, Ford eager to fight for 'Toronto taxpayers'
Published Friday, December 28, 2012 11:18AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 28, 2012 1:46PM EST
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he is eager to continue “fighting” for Toronto taxpayers after a judge dismissed the $6-million defamation suit brought against him.
However, the mayor’s legal battles are far from over.
Ontario Superior Court Justice John Macdonald ruled Thursday that plaintiff George Foulidis, owner of the Boardwalk Café, failed to meet the “essential aspects” required by a libel claim.
Foulidis sued Ford for comments he made during a 2010 meeting with the Toronto Sun editorial board during his mayoral campaign.
During the meeting, Ford commented about a sole-sourced, untendered, 20-year lease deal between the city and Foulidis’ Boardwalk Café.
The restaurant is located near Ashbridges Bay on city-owned land. It is operated by Foulidis’ company, Tuggs Inc.
During the meeting, Ford said the deal “stinks to high heaven,” suggesting it was corrupt. He was later paraphrased in an article published in The Sun.
Throughout the trial, Ford testified in court that he wasn’t suggesting the renewed lease was illegal, just that the proper tendering process wasn’t followed.
Following the judge’s ruling, Ford’s lawyer said the mayor is ecstatic with the decision.
“We’re very pleased with the decision, obviously. It’s the decision we had hoped for, worked for,” said lawyer Gavin Tighe. “We believe it is the right decision.”
Foulidis’ lawyer said his client is disappointed with the ruling.
In his 16-page ruling, Macdonald wrote that Foulidis could not prove that the comments made by Ford were directed at him or that they were defamatory.
He wrote: “Nothing which [Ford] said to the Sun editorial board, and nothing of what he said which is quoted or paraphrased in the article mentioned Mr. Foulidis.”
Macdonald also said that Ford was quoted in the article as saying that “I can’t accuse anyone…,” which would lead a “reasonable person reading the article to conclude that the defendant could not, and therefore was not blaming or charging any person with fault.”
The mayor said in a statement that he welcomed the decision and would continue fighting on behalf of Toronto taxpayers at City Hall.
However, Ford’s legal battles aren’t over yet.
He is due back in court on Jan. 7 to appeal a case where a judge ordered him out of office for violating the municipal conflict of interest act.
Three judges will hear Ford’s appeal. If they uphold the decision of the lower court, city council will have to decide whether or not to appoint someone in Ford’s place or hold a byelection.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson
File photo: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford talks to media at city hall in Toronto, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)