Ford says no deal made for Mammoliti's support
Mayoral hopeful Coun. Rob Ford accepted the endorsement of former rival, Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti, but told reporters Wednesday that he can't return the favour.
"Before he got in the race, I supported Nick Di Nizio. I gave Nick Di Nizio $750," said the frontrunner in the race to become mayor in the Oct. 25 municipal election.
"I'm a man of my word, and George knows that. And I do appreciate George's support, and we'll take it from there."
Di Nizio is running against Mammoliti in Ward 7 (York West). Mammoliti has held the seat since 1995.
Former provincial Liberal cabinet minister George Smitherman, the man polls say is in second place, expressed skepticism at the whole arrangement.
"I find it interesting that one of the conductors of the 'gravy train' at City Hall, one of the big spenders, jumped on board that campaign," he said.
Mammoliti, who pulled out of the mayoral race in July, only spent $46,059.63 on his $53,000 budget for office expenses in 2009. The average is either $37,700 or $38,500, depend on whether you include Fords claim for no expenses.
Mammoliti did volunteer that he would be open to a senior role on council in a Rob Ford administration, but Ford said he was making no promises.
However, Ford's team has been reaching out to sitting councillors running for re-election, trying to gauge their support for his policies.
Coun. Michael Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt) said Tuesday he will be supporting Ford, a 10-year council veteran.
On Thursday, Coun. Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York South-Weston) is expected to formally endorse Ford as mayor. Her ward is due south of Mammoliti's.
Nunziata is considered to be on the conservative side of council. Her brother John, a former federal Liberal MP, ran for mayor in 2003. He placed fourth.
Mayoral candidate and Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone claims the endorsement of Couns. Gord Perks (Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park).
Coun. Mike Feldman (Ward 10, York Centre), who is retiring, has endorsed Rossi, as has Coun. John Parker (Ward 25, Don Valley West).
Coun. Chin Lee (Ward 41, Scarborough-Rouge River) has told the Toronto Star he is supporting Smitherman.
Mammoliti described his former city council sparring partner as the candidate who can deliver a fresh start.
"Today I will be supporting Rob Ford for the next mayor of the City of Toronto," Mammoliti told a news conference.
"His ideas have captured the City of Toronto. His ideas are forefront with all the voters right now. He has tapped into anger of the city, the anger that people are feeling penetrates right into all parts of this city."
He said he spent several weeks speaking to candidates about their vision for the city of Toronto before deciding to support Ford.
"While I have nothing but wonderful things to say about all the mayoralty candidates … I think it is clear to me that this city is looking for absolute change. Change that is meaningful, and change that will be good for the city at the end of the day," he said.
Mammoliti said he was concerned about Toronto's dysfunctional "ballooning bureaucracy," and Ford is the only candidate who can right the ship.
He said people in Toronto, specifically in his constituency, have told him they are not looking for tinkering at City Hall.
"They want true change. They don't want us just to talk, they want us to make sure that it happens," he said. "There is only one that I believe can come to the table and make that meaningful change that everybody is suggesting."
Mammoliti and Ford have butted heads in their time on council. Mammoliti has told Ford to stay out of his ward's affairs, while Ford infamously called Mammoliti a "Gino boy."
"I will try and work with all involved at City Hall and certainly with Mr. Ford as he becomes the new mayor," Mammoliti said on Wednesday, adding that every city councillor will need to work with Ford and make his ideas work for the city.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Alicia Markson