Judge allows Rob Ford to remain mayor until January
An Ontario Superior Court judge has granted Rob Ford a temporary stay of removal, allowing him to continue as mayor until a formal appeal against a court decision to oust him from office can be heard in the new year.
Alan Lenczner, Ford's lawyer, told Justice Gladys Pardu before an Osgoode Hall courtroom that removing Ford from office per Justice Hackland's original ruling would cause the mayor "irreparable harm" personally, and that on "balance of convenience" a stay would be beneficial to the city. Pardu, along with Clayton Ruby and Paul Magder, the lawyer and complainant that brought the original case, agreed.
Had the stay not been granted Ford would have been removed as mayor at the start of next week. That outcome could have lead to the bizarre situation of two legitimate mayors in Toronto if council had selected a replacement from within only to have an appeal restore Ford to office.
Lenczner also took time to outline the case he'll present at Ford's appeal. The lawyer will argue that council was outside its jurisdiction when it ordered Ford to bay back money gifted to his private charity, and that the overall sum, $3,150, was "insignificant" to the mayor, both of which are arguments that failed to convince a judge the first time around.
It's also possible he'll repeat his assertion that Ford made an honest mistake by participating in proceedings since he'd correctly declared a conflict of interest and excused himself on seven previous occasions.
Justice Charles Hackland, a Superior Court judge, ruled last Monday that Ford was in breach of provincial conflict of interest rules when he spoke and voted on an item at council in which he had a pecuniary interest, namely the repayment of donations to his football foundation that were deemed inappropriate, and was faced with no choice but to declare the mayor's seat vacant.
In a brief scrum with media at City Hall, Ford said he "can't wait" for the appeal to start and told press the cost of the process "doesn't matter" to him.
Here's the full text of the court's decision:
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
Image: "Hizzoner Rob Ford" by under the influence of dub in the blogTO Flickr pool.