No investigation into Ford's interactions with Ont. developers at daughter's wedding due to 'insufficient evidence'
Ontario's integrity commissioner said Thursday there are “insufficient grounds” for him to conduct a full investigation into a stag-and-doe event for Premier Doug Ford's daughter, though he noted an “interesting” finding about ticket sales for the gathering.
The report from Commissioner J. David Wake landed just hours before Ford announced a reversal of his decision to open several parcels of protected Greenbelt lands for housing development, following months of public outcry.
- Download our app to get local alerts on your device
- Get the latest local updates right to your inbox
NDP Leader Marit Stiles had asked the integrity commissioner to issue an opinion on the pre-wedding event for Ford's daughter, which was attended by some developers ahead of the decision to open the Greenbelt in November 2022.
She asked him to look at whether Ford breached ethics rules on furthering someone's private interests and accepting a benefit connected with the performance of his duties.
Wake said in a report Thursday that the evidence doesn't meet the threshold for a full investigation.
“I have explained previously the 'reasonable and probable grounds' threshold that the (Members' Integrity) Act requires for me to commence an inquiry,” he wrote.
“It is a higher bar than many members of the public and many members realize, requiring more than having a 'reasonable suspicion.”'
A related report last month from the integrity commissioner found that the process of selecting lands for removal from the Greenbelt favoured certain developers.
Thursday's six-page report does reveal some new details about the Aug. 11, 2022 stag and doe - an event typically held to raise money for an engaged couple - and the Greenbelt removals.
Developer Sergio Manchia, who owns a property in Hamilton that was ultimately removed from the Greenbelt, bought four tickets to the party, Wake said.
He gave the tickets to colleague Matt Johnston, who “said a quick hello” to the premier, Wake said.
“I found it interesting that Mr. Manchia stated that the tickets to the stag and doe were purchased from Tony Miele who is the Chair of the PC Ontario Fund, the fundraising arm of the Ontario PC Party,” Wake wrote.
“I interviewed Mr. Miele who told me that he is a friend of the Ford family and that he was approached by the premier's future son-in-law, whom he referred to by name, to assist in selling some tickets to the event.”
Miele sold about 20 tickets, Wake said, though he doesn't note who bought the remaining 16. Ford has said the tickets were $150 each.
“Mr. Miele insisted that he did this to help the couple and that his involvement was wholly unrelated to his duties on behalf of the Fund,” Wake wrote.
Representatives for Miele did not immediately respond to questions about who else bought tickets from him, but Ford came to his defence Thursday.
“Tony has been a friend of the family for many, many years and he did it on his own accord,” Ford said at a press conference
Johnston - Manchia's associate who received the stag and doe tickets - also acted as a planner for a client who owned a 78-acre piece of land in Grimsby, Ont., Wake said, and on Oct. 6 he requested that parcel be removed from the Greenbelt. He made a similar request for Manchia's property. Both were among the 15 land removals from the Greenbelt.
The leaders of Ontario's three opposition parties said the Miele revelation raises more questions. Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said it further bolsters his call for a public inquiry.
“What the heck is the head of the PC fundraising arm doing selling tickets to Doug Ford's wealthy elite developer friends to a stag and doe party for his children?” Schreiner said.
More than 90 per cent of the Greenbelt land removed was in five sites passed on to then-housing minister Steve Clark's chief of staff, Ryan Amato, by two developers Amato met at an industry event, the auditor general found in her own Greenbelt investigation.
The Integrity commissioner said in his August report that he had no evidence of developers being specifically tipped off that the government was considering Greenbelt removals, but that Amato's actions and conversations with them had that effect. Clark failed to oversee his staffer, the commissioner found.
Clark and Amato have both since resigned.
A second cabinet minister, Kaleed Rasheed, resigned this week after news reports raised questions about his connections to developer Shakir Rehmatullah and a trip to Las Vegas.
Rasheed, Ford's principal secretary at the time Amin Massoudi, and Jae Truesdell - at the time in the private sector but who served as Ford's director of housing policy starting in January 2022 - told the integrity commissioner they went to Las Vegas in December 2019. Rasheed and Massoudi “briefly encountered” Rehmatullah there, they said.
Truesdell has now resigned, Ford said Thursday without offering further details.
Massoudi told the integrity commissioner he had only met Rehmatullah a handful of times, including at the wedding of Ford's daughter, but Rasheed said he and Rehmatullah are close friends and Rasheed's wife worked for the developer.
Rehmatullah said he was in Las Vegas in December 2019 and late January to early February 2020 and recalled seeing Rasheed in a hotel lobby on one of the trips.
CTV News reported this week that Rasheed, Rehmatullah and Massoudi got massages on Feb. 1, 2020 at the same Las Vegas hotel spa. A spokesperson for Rasheed told the outlet the trip was originally booked for December 2019 but got rescheduled and Rasheed “mistakenly” shared incorrect information with the integrity commissioner based on the original itinerary.
Rehmatullah attended Ford's daughter's wedding, Wake said in his stag and doe report.
“Although he maintained that no one in government alerted him to the fact that the government was considering changes to the Greenbelt boundary I found his evidence questionable,” Wake wrote.
“However any suggestion that Premier Ford alerted Mr. Rehmatullah, on the basis that he was a guest at his daughter's wedding, I found to be fanciful.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2023.
The Shopping Trends team is independent of the journalists at CTV News. We may earn a commission when you use our links to shop. Read about us.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
A Minneapolis store clerk died after a customer beat him and impaled him with a golf club, police said. The 66-year-old clerk was attacked Friday at the Oak Grove Grocery, a small neighborhood store in a residential area near downtown Minneapolis. A 44-year-old suspect is jailed on suspicion of murder.
Mounties in Surrey, B.C., say the two-month-old child who was the subject of an Amber Alert Saturday afternoon has been found safe.
Shohei Ohtani has opted to stay in southern California, and the Toronto Blue Jays have missed out on landing a generational talent.
Severe storms that tore through central Tennessee killed six people Saturday and sent about two dozen to the hospital as homes and businesses were damaged in multiple cities.
Kate Cox, a mother of two in Texas, became pregnant again in August but soon after learned devastating news: Her baby has a fatal condition and is likely to either be stillborn or die shortly after birth.
Omar Mansour says every phone call with his family in the Gaza Strip might be the last.
A group of foreign ministers from the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia and Turkiye are in Ottawa today for a quietly planned meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly to discuss attempts to end the Israel-Hamas war.
A jury has found Ibrahim Ali guilty of killing a 13-year-old girl whose body was found in a Burnaby, B.C., park in 2017.
Nuclear fission may play key role in the creation of heavy elements when neutron stars collide: study
New scientific models are suggesting that nuclear fission may play a key role in the creation of heavy elements in the universe—which, if true, would be the first example of nuclear fission occurring in space.
After sitting through the night, early Saturday morning, members of the Quebec legislature finally passed Bill 15 to reform the health-care network, voting 75 to 27.
A Pointe-Claire naturopath has been ordered by the courts to pay $125,000 in fines for the illegal practice of medicine and for leading people to believe that he was authorized to perform acts reserved for members of the Quebec College of Physicians.
Quebec's English-language universities have made what they call an 'improved' proposal to the Legault government regarding tuition fee increases for new international students and students from other Canadian provinces.
A London, Ont. man is facing charges in relation to a hit-and-run investigation.
One by one, London Jr. Mustangs’ hockey players dropped off presents for those in need this holiday season.
One person is facing criminal charges in connection to an alleged attempted murder investigation at a home in Grey Highlands.
Police are investigating a shooting in a Kitchener neighbourhood that sent one person to hospital.
A truck hit an ION train on Saturday morning, shutting down a Waterloo street.
A Christmas tree farm in Cambridge, Ont. has developed a new type of netting that’s better for the environment.
A driver is accused of travelling more than 70km/h over the speed limit on Highway 11 on Friday, provincial police say.
Shohei Ohtani has opted to stay in southern California, and the Toronto Blue Jays have missed out on landing a generational talent.
A 65-year-old driver from L'Île-Cadieux, Que. is facing multiple charges following an incident on Highway 11 Wednesday evening.
Ontario Provincial Police say charges have been laid following a "major assault" early Saturday morning in Arnprior.
Pro-Palestine supporters gather in Ottawa to call for permanent ceasefire as bombing in Gaza continues
As the Israel-Hamas war enters its third month, pro-Palestine groups gathered in Ottawa for the ninth straight weekend to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
The holiday season is in full swing in the nation's capital with Christmas just over two weeks away.
Windsor Police Service held a RIDE check in Windsor and Amherstburg Friday night
Brian Masse, the NDP MP for Windsor West, participated in non-stop voting for more than 30 hours on a Liberal spending bill.
CTV News has learned the tower on the Canadian side of the Gordie Howe International Bridge has now reached its full height.
OPP seized a large quantity of hard drugs after stopping a vehicle in the wee hours of the morning in Orillia.
Thanks to the hard work of their snowmakers, Blue Mountain officially opened their ski hills on Thursday.
Ontario Provincial Police is seeking the public's assistance in solving a break-and-enter in Midland.
An early morning fire has shaken the homeless encampment at Grand Parade in downtown Halifax.
The Queens District RCMP has arrested a 20-year-old man after a fatal collision in P.E.I. left three people dead and three others seriously injured.
The New Brunswick government has given the American Iron and Metal Company (AIM) a deadline of December 22 to offer a response to the release of a task force review into a massive scrapyard fire that happened in Saint John this September.
On the second day of Hanukkah, Temple B’Nai Tikvah marked it by going green, lighting a menorah using its array of solar panels.
With just over two weeks to go until Christmas, Calgary small business owners are hopeful to cash in on much-needed sales to stay afloat.
Calgary police launched their holiday checkstop campaign Friday night.
With inflation still high and the cost of living skyrocketing, some vendors at craft and Christmas bazaars are struggling to market their markets. This is prompting many small businesses in Manitoba to make a plea to purchase locally.
A newly-created non-profit group is attempting to give out three times more holiday hampers this year, as the high cost of living leaves many Manitobans struggling this holiday season.
'Different ways they can support': Dream Book gives Manitobans the chance to make kids' dreams come true
The Dream Factory has launched its annual holiday campaign, offering Manitobans the chance to sponsor a dream for a child facing a life-threatening illness.
A winter storm brought a wind warning to B.C.'s capital and snowfall warnings for parts of its largest metro area Saturday.
The Union Gospel Mission served around 3,000 plates of turkey at its annual Christmas meal on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Saturday.
A winter storm that brought wind, rain and – in some places – snow to the South Coast led BC Ferries to cancel several sailings on major routes Saturday.
No Canadians made it to the podium at Saturday night’s FIS World Cup Big Air Snowboard event at Commonwealth Stadium. But the night saw some snowboarding history being made.
A pilot project dealing with problem properties in Edmonton has been made permanent due to its success.
Saturday, the woman's parents said their daughter's death was the result of "a complete mishandling of the tools available to law enforcement in the application of dealing with mental health issues."