Let judge decide,’ Ford says on conflict of interest case
Published Wednesday, August 29, 2012 12:55PM EDT
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he is not concerned about his court appearance next week, when he will be cross-examined in a conflict of interest case that could remove him from office.
Ford will take the stand on September 5 to face questions over whether he improperly used city resources to help fund a personal charity, and on how he handled the fallout.
The lawsuit launched by lawyer Clayton Ruby on behalf of Toronto resident Paul Magder, accuses Ford of violating the Municipal Conflict of Interest act by speaking and voting on a matter in which he had a financial interest.
If found guilty, Ford could be forced to resign and banned from running for city council for seven years.
The call for Ford's ouster stems from allegations that he used city resources to seek donations for the Rob Ford Football Foundation, which raises money for school football programs.
“I am going to say what I said at council and let the cards fall where they will. I am never going to stop helping the kids,” Ford told reporters on Wednesday. “We’ll let the judge decide.”
His brother, Coun. Doug Ford, called the suit “politically motivated” and suggested Rob Ford would remain in power until at least the next municipal election.
“We will let the people decide in two years,” Doug said. “That’s the real court date, in two years. People will decide if we have run the city property, have been prudent fiscal managers with the people’s money.”
The issue dates back to a 2010 ruling issued by Toronto's Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper, who found that Ford used the City of Toronto logo, his status as city councillor and city resources to solicit donations for his private football foundation.
Ford, at the time a councillor and frontrunner in the mayoral election, was ordered to pay back $3,150 in donations to various lobbyists and a corporation that had business dealings with the city.
Ford then participated in a council debate to discuss dropping the case against him. Council voted 26-10 to accept the integrity commissioner's recommendations.
In February 2012, council voted to rescind the integrity commissioner's decision and directed no further action be taken in the matter.
Ruby claimed in March that Ford's participation in the original council debate violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.
"If he was a brand new councillor, a novice, I would say maybe there was some misunderstanding," Ruby said at the time. "But he has declared a conflict of interest on issues from time-to-time. Just not this time."