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|Ford faces legal move to oust him from office||| Print ||
|Written by Elaine Anselmi and Emily Innes|
|Monday, 12 March 2012 13:03|
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was served Monday with a court application that could lead to him being evicted from office.
Prominent lawyer Clayton Ruby, handling the case on behalf of Toronto resident Paul Magder, cited Ford’s violation of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council.
The application seeks to have the mayor forced from his seat on council and be disqualified from running for office for up to seven years.
The alleged violation took place in a city council meeting on Feb. 7, when Ford faced allegations he illegally got $3,150 donations for his Rob Ford Football Foundation private charity.
At the meeting, Ford spoke in his own defense. The issue was voted on and Ford was among those who cast their ballot.
Council defeated the motion that would have forced him to pay up.
On Monday, Ruby called that unacceptable.
“The object is clear, to avoid corruption, to make certain that city councilors vote and speak on public matters only, in the public interest and not in their personal interest,” he said.
Ruby quoted a part of Ford’s speech from the Feb. 7 meeting in which the mayor said there was "no sense" in his paying back the money in question. "The money is gone, the money has been spent on football equipment," Ruby quoted the mayor saying at the time.
The city’s integrity commissioner has also investigated the issue.
The inquiry began before Ford became mayor, and in August 2010 council acted on the commissioner's report and ordered Ford to reimburse the donors and provide proof he had done so.and
Ford responded in Oct. 2011, by providing letters from three donors, stating that they were not interested in being reimbursed.
The disputed amount of donations is not the issue said Ruby.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about the principal and the importance of keeping clear of conflict of interest.”
Magder got involved in the issue last October when he wrote the mayor urging him to pay back the donations, accusing the mayor of breaching the Lobbyist Code of Conduct.
On Monday, Magder said he is just a regular citizen who, “cannot stand by and do nothing while our councillors ignore their duties for whatever reasons. I believe that respect for the taxpayers means respect for the law."
During the 2010 election Magder said he volunteered on the school trustee campaign of Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler who then put Magder in contact with lawyer Ruby, who is pursuing the case on a pro-bono basis.
Chaleff-Freudenthaler has previously been involved in election compliance requests against Ford.
Ruby and Magder confirmed Chaleff-Freudenthaler had no other involvement and that the case was not politically motivated.
The case heads to court on March 23.
Thedailyplanet.com reporter Elaine Anselmi spoke with Humber Radio 96.9 from Toronto City Hall.
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