Mammoliti quits executive committee after Ford found guilty
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti speaks to the media about the decision in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s conflict of interest case in Toronto on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012.
Published Monday, November 26, 2012 7:18PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 26, 2012 10:35PM EST
Hours after a provincial judge found Mayor Rob Ford guilty of breaking conflict of interest rules and ordered him to leave office, one of his biggest supporters on council, Giorgio Mammoliti, announced he’s resigning from the executive committee.
Mammoliti told reporters Monday he was inundated with calls from constituents urging him to leave the mayor’s inner circle.
“There's only one boss that I have and it’s the electorate in my ward and they're telling me to resign off the executive,” he said, adding that while he still supports Ford, he felt he had no choice but to leave the top committee.
Mammoliti said there is a lot of work to be done on council in the wake of the judge’s ruling and that councillors need to put partisanship aside.
He also accused Ford’s detractors of setting out “to create chaos” that led to Monday’s ruling.
“They achieved it and they’re celebrating it today,” he said. "I say to them congratulations, the City of Toronto is now in turmoil and it probably will be for the next few months if not years."
Justice Charles Hackland ruled Monday morning that Ford broke the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act by improperly soliciting donations for his football charity and then voting at council to relieve himself of repaying the $3,150. Hackland put his ruling on hold for 14 days to give Ford time to make his next legal move.
Ford responded by saying that “the left wing” is trying to oust him, but he will fight “tooth and nail” to appeal the decision and keep his job.
Meanwhile, councillors were divided on the judge’s decision.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said he was surprised by the “severe” outcome of the conflict-of-interest case and didn’t think Ford would be thrown out of office.
Ford’s brother, Coun. Doug Ford, said the mayor is “the most honest politician” in the country who has been unfairly targeted.
“There’s a lot of people that don’t like Rob and they’re used to the gravy train at city hall for decades…they’re after us,” Doug Ford told CP24 Monday night. He said his brother “obviously made a mistake” when he voted in council on a matter that directly affected him, but removing him from office is too harsh of a punishment.
“We live in a democracy and Canadians vote for their mayor, judges don’t,” Doug Ford said, noting that the mayor was simply raising money for disadvantaged children and that he has done good work for the residents of Toronto, saving the taxpayers “a billion dollars” and holding bureaucrats accountable.
But others said breaking the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act is a serious matter and the court’s ruling was warranted.
“The judge’s language was quite stern. “A stubborn sense of entitlement”, “dismissive” and “confrontational” – these are the words that can’t be ignored,” said Coun. Janet Davis. "If the mayor had chosen to restore that $3,000 last year, then he wouldn't be where he is today. I think, sometimes, he is stubborn and pig-headed and this is where he's landed himself because of it.”
Coun. Josh Matlow said it’s time to “put an end to the constant reality show” at city hall.
"This is no longer a left versus right, or this versus that, it's just thoughtfulness versus silliness,” he said. “I feel like some days it's ‘Survivor’ here and some days it's 'Big Brother.' And Rob Ford is the star of the show."
Many are wondering how council will deal with daily city business as Ford’s appeal is processed. If the courts don’t allow Ford to remain in office while the appeal is heard, Toronto could be left without a mayor for months.
Coun. Adam Vaughan said Monday that business will go on with or without Ford.
“Council is still capable and will continue to provide good, strong leadership in the absence of a strong mayor,” he said.
"I think that Rob Ford owes it, not just to taxpayers, but to citizens and residents of the city, to get his affairs in order. But I also think it's important now for council to provide the leadership that quite clearly is not being provided by a vacant mayor's chair."
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Zuraidah Alman