Mayor Rob Ford in court over $6M defamation suit
Published Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:23AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 13, 2012 7:31PM EST
Mayor Rob Ford was in a Toronto court Tuesday, to face a $6-million defamation lawsuit filed more than two years ago by a Beaches pub owner.
Ford is being sued by the owner of the Boardwalk Pub, George Foulidis, who claims some of Ford's 2010 civic election campaign-trail comments damaged his reputation.
In August of that year, then city councillor and mayoral candidate Rob Ford told the Toronto Sun's editorial board he thought the awarding of the sole-sourced, untendered contract extension to Foulidis's Tuggs Inc. was corrupt.
CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson reported Tuesday, that the court heard there was a tape of that conversation, but it no longer exists.
Some of his remarks were printed in the newspaper, however.
"I can’t accuse anyone, or I can’t pinpoint it, but why do we have to go in-camera on the Tuggs deal?" Ford was quoted as saying in the paper, referring to the deal that city council approved behind closed doors. "These in-camera meetings, there’s more corruption and skullduggery going on in there than I’ve ever seen in my life."
The comments touched off a heated campaign exchange between the Etobicoke councillor and then-mayor David Miller.
Appearing as a guest on a local talk radio station, Ford then added further fuel to the fire. When he was asked if the deal was the result of illegal activity, Ford replied: "If Tuggs isn't, then I don't know what is."
His remarks came after the business, located in a high-traffic area near Woodbine Beach, was awarded a 20-year contract extension.
Foulidis has said he agreed to pay for capital improvements and a rent increase as part of the deal, but has also said that no corruption was involved.
Ford had alleged that Foulidis's contributions to the campaigns of municipal politicians -- including Coun. Sandra Bussin, who had supported the sole-sourced contract in 2006 but recused herself from the final vote to approve the deal -- signalled wrongdoing.
In his statement of claim, Foulidis countered that Ford's allegations were unfounded and damaging.
"As a direct result of the false and defamatory statements of Mr. Ford ... Mr. Foulidis has been cast as a criminal and has suffered embarrassment and humiliation."
The trial is expected to last four days. FOrd is expected to be called to testify on Friday.
The City of Toronto has since changed its policies so that contracts of the type awarded to Tuggs Inc. are open to public tender.
With files from CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford watches the activity outside the Eaton Centre in Toronto, Saturday, June 2, 2012. (Victor Biro / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
George Foulidis, owner of the company that operates the Boardwalk Pub, addresses a news conference on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2010.