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Rob Ford's future as mayor now in judges' hands

Posted by Chris Bateman / January 7, 2013

toronto rob fordIt might have taken what feels like an eternity, but Rob Ford's conflict of interest case is finally nearing a conclusion. For roughly seven hours today, the mayor watched on as his lawyer delivered an appeal to a panel of three Ontario Divisional Court judges and listened as the opposing legal team worked to support his removal from office.

Speaking first, Alan Lenczner, the mayor's legal counsel, argued the city was outside of its jurisdiction when it ordered Ford to return $3,150 in donations to his personal football foundation that were solicited using civic resources, claiming the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act only applies when the city or a councillor personally stands to gain financially.

Lenczner followed that since the money was destined for sports equipment, Ford can't be seen to have profited from the situation.

Also in support of Ford, the judges heard the amount in question was too small to be considered a real pecuniary interest, an assertion the mayor himself seemed to contradict during the original hearing. Lenczner confidently declared before the packed courtroom that it wouldn't matter if the amount in question was "$5, $50, $1000, $10,000," Ford decided to speak and vote - entirely by "honest error in judgment" - based on principle.toronto rob fordWithout a formal role in proceedings, Ford - flanked by councillor Doug Ford, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday and speaker Frances Nunziata - looked bored and listless for much of the day, staring at the ceiling or rigidly straight ahead, appearing most alert during Clayton Ruby and Nader Hasan's submissions to the court.

Ruby and Hasan, working on behalf of complainant Paul Magder, spent their portion of the day supporting Justice Charles Hackland's original ruling and picking apart the mitigating claims made by the mayor's legal team, noting in particular that there was no legal challenge by Ford when council first ordered him to return the cash.

As the day wore on, the pair seemed to come under greater scrutiny by the judges and were asked to clarify several of their points, possibly giving some insight into the panel's thinking as they prepare their decision.

Addressing the media outside the courtroom, Ford vowed to "keep fighting for the taxpayers" and thanked "everyone for the outpouring of support" related to the case. He also took time to briefly thank Holyday, calling him "the best deputy mayor that anyone could ask for."

A final decision is expected to be delivered in the next few weeks. If the panel upholds Justice Hackland's decision, Ford will have no choice but to vacate the office of mayor. Watch this space. The court proceedings might be done but this one has a little way to go yet.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photos: Chris Bateman/blogTO



notahipster / January 7, 2013 at 08:34 pm
Doesn't matter what happens we the voters in the burbs will vote him right back into that mayors chair. Down town no longer holds the power in this city. thankfully.
David replying to a comment from notahipster / January 7, 2013 at 09:07 pm
Do you speak for everyone outside of downtown? You are what's wrong with this city. The fact that Ford supporters refuse to see how bad he is at being mayor. I guess you enjoy seeing Toronto turn to shit.
Johhny (Wad) Homes / January 7, 2013 at 09:27 pm
A few greased palms will get him back in office. That is how a democracy works.
Grimzeek replying to a comment from David / January 7, 2013 at 09:28 pm
This fool doesn't give a shit-they want Toronto to be shitty, and to be a laughingstock of the entire planet. And, as has been said before, it's all the fault of the neocon media that these idiots listen to, read, and watch.
scott replying to a comment from notahipster / January 7, 2013 at 09:29 pm
What a ridiculous thing to say. But even if it were true, don't you want to do better next time around? Can't you actually think of voting for someone who would actually be effective and do something to improve the city and the suburbs together? Obviously the city and suburbs both have problems that need to be addressed. Can't we find a mayor capable of imagining actual solutions? The past two years have been a circus, and we've all suffered because of it. There are better candidates, regardless of what your values and needs are.
Towndown / January 7, 2013 at 10:20 pm
It's funny, I always thought we couldn't do worse than Mel Lastman - and he was a friggin' sideshow of madness, but at the core, he loved Toronto. He got along with everyone in the city and wanted it to be the best city possible. Love him or hate him, he really did want the city to succeed.

Robbo on the other hand...well, he hates the city. He thinks it's all wrong, nothing but bloated budgets, union fuckery and downtown liberal elites. He doesn't like anyone in the city unless they're calling him 'round the clock to tell him how awesome he and Dougie are.

I never thought it possible, but I miss Mel. He was mad, bad and fun to know. Robbo and Doug - they're just mad.
notadouchelikeu replying to a comment from notahipster / January 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm
Honestly, what is it exactly that has been so great about Mr. Ford's tenure as mayor so as to deserve re-election?

It's impossible to be unbiased, but really... we can do SO much better. Conservative, liberal, who cares. Everyone.. burbs or downtown deserves no less than an intelligent adult in the mayor's seat.
Josh / January 7, 2013 at 10:49 pm
The PEOPLE decide who should be mayor of this city!!! NOT the law, not a judge.
notajudge replying to a comment from Josh / January 7, 2013 at 10:58 pm
If the people decide who should be mayor, what happens when the mayor doesn't do his job or shows contempt for the office he holds? Are we just supposed to take it and wait until the next election while the city stalls?

There are rules in place for a reason. If the mayor breaks those rules, we have the courts to take care of him until it's legal for us to recall our politicians.

If your post was just a troll post, then try harder. Troll posts are only fun when they are actually funny.
Bubba Gump / January 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm
Time to get rid of these rat bastards out of office, he and his brother are
a diseased appendages that need to be cut off and tossed into the trash!
Stanley replying to a comment from notahipster / January 8, 2013 at 01:48 am
OK troll...assuming you even live in the burbs, what you really need is your own mayor. You're not part of Toronto. You just drive on our roads and work in our businesses, taking advantage of living in the proximity of what should be a great city, but contribute nothing. You probably voted for Mike Harris who started this whole shit storm in the first place.
steve replying to a comment from notahipster / January 8, 2013 at 07:20 am
You made you statement, time to qualify it. I have a few questions.
What has the suburbs been missing out on?
How do you figure city hall is a power struggle dominated by city Councillors?
What do you hope to gain by stripping the city core?
What has Rob Ford as Councillor then as Mayor done to make life better in the suburbs?
GOFORDGO / January 8, 2013 at 08:10 am
Ford has my vote for the bi-election if it happens, it is refreshing to have mayor that cares for the taxpayers and not downtown special interest groups.
hahahahaha replying to a comment from Stanley / January 8, 2013 at 08:11 am
love seeing down towners cry, it means ford is doing a good job!
TRG / January 8, 2013 at 08:50 am
I'm surprised at all the Rob Ford supporters on here. It's amazing how knuckle draggers have figured out how to use the internet, read, type, and post comments. Congrats to you all!
Arrow / January 8, 2013 at 09:13 am
What the hell was Doug doing there? Doesn't he have a day-job?
Grimzeek replying to a comment from GOFORDGO / January 8, 2013 at 09:22 am
The only thing that's Ford's done is make Toronto a laughing stock of the planet. When the frack are people like you going to grow the frack up and THINK about city issues in greater depth than you do now? WHEN? Is your only outlook on life FYIGM (Fuck You, I've Got Mine)? Or can you think about anybody but yourselves?
Anne R. Keye replying to a comment from Josh / January 8, 2013 at 09:25 am
I totally agree! The people and the mayor should be above the law!
Grimzeek replying to a comment from Anne R. Keye / January 8, 2013 at 09:45 am
Now there's a fine showing of intelligence at work! Tell me, Anne, does any kind of thinking exist in your family?
Alex / January 8, 2013 at 10:11 am
Wow, try not to be so easily baited people. There are a bunch of obvious troll and/or sarcastic posts.

Ford is corrupt. It was obvious when he was campaigning for things that would only benefit a select few, and that the city didn't need, and it's been made only more obvious by all the decisions he's made as mayor since then. I know it might be a lot to ask for, but can we please vote in a non-corrupt mayor either in the byelection or the next regular election? Remember people, if someone promises something too good to be true, it's because it is.
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from TRG / January 8, 2013 at 10:13 am
"I'm surprised at all the Rob Ford supporters on here."

I wonder if the Toronto Sun's paywall has anything to do with it....
nosubstance replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / January 8, 2013 at 09:23 pm
Considering the lack of substance in all of the Ford supporter posts, I wouldn't be surprised if it's Mark Towhey typing one-handed making fake accounts to troll the site.

nosubstance replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / January 8, 2013 at 09:27 pm
Or... it's just paid trolls. I just came across this on Twitter:

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