UPDATE: Judge orders Toronto mayor removed from office over conflict of interest case

The Canadian Press
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A Toronto judge has ordered the mayor of the Canada’s largest city removed from office, finding Rob Ford broke conflict-of-interest rules.

TORONTO — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been ordered out of office after a judge ruled Monday he broke conflict of interest rules.

Ford was accused of not declaring a conflict of interest when he participated in a council vote to recommend he repay donations that he solicited for his private football foundation using official city letterhead.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland said Ford’s actions were characterized by “ignorance of the law and a lack of diligence in securing professional advice amounting to wilful blindness.”

“In view of the respondent’s leadership role in ensuring integrity in municipal government, it is difficult to accept an error in judgment defence based essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement (concerning his football foundation) and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the integrity commissioner and the ’code of conduct’,” Hackland said in his ruling.

The mayor testified at the trial in September and told court he believed he did nothing wrong, while lawyer Clayton Ruby argued Ford acted in bad faith by not familiarizing himself with the city’s conflict of interest rules.

Hackland said Monday that Ford’s actions “were not done by reason of inadvertence or a good faith error in judgment.”

The lawsuit was launched by Toronto resident Paul Magder.

“Rob Ford did this to Rob Ford,” Ruby, who represented Magder, told reporters after the ruling.

“Today’s decision shows that when you break the rules there’s a price to pay. It’s important for the courts to assert that nobody is above the law, Rob Ford included.”

Ken Garnum, a Toronto resident who was carrying a sign outside city hall reading “worst mayor ever, goodbye,” said he was “thrilled” at the news.

“I don’t think he’s evil,” Garnum said.

“He just can’t tell the difference between right and wrong so it’s best he says goodbye.”

Ford had said he didn’t remember receiving or reading a handbook for municipal councillors that outlines when to declare conflict of interest or the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, which he was accused of breaking.

In 2010, Ford used his staff to help send out donation requests for his football fund and mail them out to donors who had officially lobbied the city government.

The city’s integrity commissioner found Ford’s actions broke the conduct code for councillors and recommended he pay back $3,150 to the donors from his own pocket.

Council adopted the commissioner’s findings and sanction in a resolution Ford voted against — but he never made the repayments, despite several reminders from the commissioner.

Council later voted to overturn the integrity commissioner’s penalty. Ford voted in favour of the motion that would allow him to keep the money.

Hackland said Ford contravened the act when he spoke and voted on a matter in which he had a pecuniary interest.

The judge disqualified Ford from running again during this term of office and put his declaration on hold for 14 days to give the city time to make plans to deal with the situation.

Ford can appeal the ruling.

 

Geographic location: Toronto, Canada, Ontario

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Recent comments

  • JohnW.A.Curtis
    November 26, 2012 - 20:02

    A citizen brought the complaint against Mayor Ford. Only an MLAcan file acomplaint against a provincial MLA not a citizen. Some Summerside City Council voted to lose 1.3 million dollars and then voted not to fully release the Hopping Report. The people of Toronto have rights to challenge their politicians while ordinary Islanders can't challenge municipal or provincial politicians.

  • former ont citizen
    November 26, 2012 - 15:54

    I know it sounds nonsense but there will never be another mayor like Rob Ford ......He has quite a few people mad at him because of him cutting back all the spending and going nose to nose with all the lazy overpaid city workers(true story) read up on it before you comment without knowledge.The whiners are watching every move he makes and when he was just worked as a council he had no budget period ,he spent his own money so now that hes in charge all eyes are on his every move......have a great day

  • Concerned Taxpayer in Summerside
    November 26, 2012 - 13:17

    Bring that process, Judge and Clayton Ruby to Summerside. Watch the Old Boys Club run now after reading this decision. Justice was done and there are more situation like this. I refer everyone to the case in London Ontario, the Mayor has been charged by the RCMP for Conflict of Interest matter whereby he paid a portion of his sons wedding with taxpayers money. Like I send bring them to Summerside and lets have that Forensic Audit Mayor Stewart and Deputy Mayor MacDougall.

    • dm
      November 26, 2012 - 15:24

      Take them to Charlottetown as well.

  • Justin Flontek
    November 26, 2012 - 12:34

    Justice has been served!

  • Joe Citizen
    November 26, 2012 - 12:04

    Ouch, Mr. “stubborn sense of entitlement” and a “dismissive and confrontational attitude”,...welcome to the EI line, ha ha.

    • HA HA HA
      November 26, 2012 - 14:06

      He wouldn't get EI because it was his own stupid actions that cost him his job. Mr. Stubborn sense of entitlement!