Restaurateur demands apology from Rob Ford
Published Thursday, September 16, 2010 4:28PM EDT
The owner of a Beach restaurant has threatened to sue mayoral hopeful Coun. Rob Ford over the candidate's attacks on his dealings with the city.
George Foulidis’ company, Tuggs Inc., operates the Boardwalk Pub near Ashbridge's Bay. He’s demanding Ford apologize for suggesting that his lease deal with the city was corrupt.
"Mr. Ford, I'm challenging you here today to do what's right -- apologize to me and my family, and to come forth because it's the right thing to do," Foulidis told a news conference on Thursday.
"Mr. Ford, there is no corruption and there is no evidence."
If Ford doesn't apologize, Foulidis said he will proceed with legal action.
According to the Toronto Star, Ford has indicated he will not be apologizing.
Tuggs leases the pub from the city.
Back in mid-August, Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) told the Toronto Sun's editorial board: "If Tuggs isn’t (a corrupt deal), then I don’t know what is."
Ford was referring to the untendered, 20-year contract arrived at between the city and Tuggs.
“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 said.
“These in-camera meetings, there’s more corruption and skullduggery going on in there than I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Foulidis said there were no backroom deals in his negotiations with the city.
Tuggs agreed to spend $2 million on capital improvements and to pay the city an additional $2 million in rent than under its previous agreement, he said.
If Ford had evidence of any corruption, he should bring it forward to the citizens of the city, Foulidis said.
Ford issued a news release on Aug. 12 saying he couldn't come forward because the matter was dealt with in-camera. He had called on Mayor David Miller to make all of city council's "purple sheets" (in-camera documents) public.
Foulidis said that Ford has alleged that his business, by making contributions to the campaigns of politicians, has done something corrupt.
Foulidis has made political contributions to the campaigns of municipal politicians, including Coun. Sandra Bussin (Ward 32, Beaches-East York). She had supported the sole-sourced contract in 2006, but recused herself from the final vote.
"That is democracy, Mr. Ford," Foulidis said, noting that Ford has supported rezonings in his ward from developers who had contributed to Ford's campaign.
The city has changed its policies so that future deals such as the Tuggs contract are open to public tender.
Miller furiously attacked Ford in the wake of the controversy.
"It's one of the most irresponsible things I've heard an elected official say," he told an Aug. 12 news conference.
If Ford did have evidence to support his strong words, he should have brought it to the city's integrity commissioner, Miller said.
Reasonable people can disagree about whether a lease should be extended for someone who had made a major investment in upgrading a business versus opening up the process up to tender, the mayor told the John Tory radio show on Newstalk 1010.
But Ford's words attacked the integrity of an entire institution and demeaned all politicians, he said.