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Audit finds Rob Ford breached Municipal Elections Act

Posted by Chris Bateman / February 1, 2013

toronto rob fordA detailed audit of Rob Ford's campaign finances has found the mayor's 2010 election team overspent by $40,168, roughly three per cent more than government rules allow. The investigation also found Ford accepted corporate donations, which aren't allowed under the Municipal Elections Act, from holding companies associated with his family business, Deco Labels and Tags.

In a damning exposé of the the Ford team's financial management, auditors also identified spending on promotional t-shirts, signs, and the rental of an RV before the official start of Ford's run for mayor that should have counted toward his campaign total, but was left out.

Elsewhere, a section of the report titled "Excessive Amount Spent on Victory Party" reveals that a $71,167.40 invoice for lighting, sound, and media facilities was slashed in half after Doug Ford deemed it "unreasonable." The service provider, Wexler Productions, was forced to write off the remaining unpaid portion of the bill.

The campaign's RV, covered in decals and used as a backdrop during promotional events, was also provided at below the normal going rate, according the 42-page document. Other examples of "preferential treatment" included "generous credit terms" from Deco Labels and Tags and a discounted rental price on a bus used at the kick-off event.

The Municipal Elections Act counts the price difference between services provided below fair market value and the normal, everyday rate as contributions.

The year-long long audit stems from two Toronto men, Max Reed and Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, who co-direct advocacy group Fair Elections Toronto, a "non-partisan, not-for-profit organization" that has requested similar investigations of other councillor's election finances.

The pair alleged Ford exceeded the strict $1.3 million mayoral campaign spending limit in 2010 by more than $150,000, an amount auditors did not agree with. They also said prior to the successful run for office, Ford's team racked up expenses that should have been counted against his quota and used a family holding company to lend money to his campaign, which is against the rules and seems to be confirmed by Froese Forensic Partners.

In a statement, the layer for Max Reed and Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler said that due to the "extraordinary number and severity of the apparent contraventions of the election law by Rob Ford, the applicants will be requesting the Compliance Audit Committee proceed with prosecution in a timely manner."

Doug Ford, who acted as his brother's campaign manager and is referenced throughout the document, told reporters that his team was "compliant," "organized," and have "nothing to hide."

The results of the audit will now be considered on Feb. 25 by the city's compliance audit committee, a three-person team comprising a lawyer, an accountant, and an electoral expert. The group will decide whether or not to pursue non-criminal charges against Ford that could result in a $25,000 fine or even removal from office.

Here is the full report:

Rob Ford Campaign Audit by chris9863

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

Photo: Chris Bateman/blogTO.

Discussion

40 Comments

EarlyElection / February 1, 2013 at 05:19 pm
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Doug Ford at Queens Park.
HAHAHAHA / February 1, 2013 at 05:25 pm
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no politician in Ontario has ever been removed for this, if you think ford will, you are wrong. Let him pay the fine and we can get back to running the city.
Oh Ford / February 1, 2013 at 05:32 pm
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Here we go again..

Can't wait for 2014 when he will be out for sure. After all he's done there is no way he will be re-elected.
michael / February 1, 2013 at 05:49 pm
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Get Back to running the city? Ford lost Council over a year ago now and they have been running the city just fine without the Mayors Frauds-
Trigger replying to a comment from michael / February 1, 2013 at 06:02 pm
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His budget went through almost drama-less expect for the fireman part. Seems like running the city to me.
jameson / February 1, 2013 at 06:08 pm
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It amazes how Canadians are very willing to accept unethical practices in their politicians. Whether it's conflict of interest, drunk driving, overspending on campaigns, or egregious unbased character defamation. As long as the politician is going to put your conservative interests first, your very willing to accept their poor character traits.
If replying to a comment from jameson / February 1, 2013 at 06:13 pm
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If it was adam vaughan that was in this situation would you be calling for him to get the boot, I doubt it.
Joe / February 1, 2013 at 07:07 pm
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...wow, so instead of spending 1,300,000 he spent 1,340,168.

I'll try and control my outrage...if I can. I mean in terms of campaign finance this is the equivalent of finding that a homeowners has a few bootleg DVDs - basically if you looked in everyone's house you would likely find some. Similarly few politicians are likely abiding by the bright line rules of campaign finance. I mean ArGGG!!! So angry!

Let me add that it was totally worth the 250,000 this audit likely cost the City. That added to the cost of reimbursing Ford for his considerable legal fees after his last victory should bring the tax payers cost to well over a million dollars for all these worthwhile investigations/court proceedings.

I guess since they can't waste tax money directly they are determined to do it indirectly.
steve replying to a comment from If / February 1, 2013 at 07:08 pm
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Explain to me again why this guy is the best mayor Toronto has ever had?
MrsPotato / February 1, 2013 at 07:15 pm
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Rob Ford looks like a walking specimen of death.
HIS SKIN IS YELLOW.

this guy should seriously remove himself from this high stress position and address his obvious health issues. at least, for the sake of his young children. ugh.
Robert replying to a comment from Joe / February 1, 2013 at 07:49 pm
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Let him off and he will feel it was OK to break the law and spend an extra 100K next time, why not an extra 500K

There is no monetary scale to breaking a law, there is no sliding scale for the law. The law is the same for all people you cannot have a fair democratic society otherwise. This was all hashed out last time he broke the law.
Andy replying to a comment from Oh Ford / February 1, 2013 at 08:23 pm
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You Torontonians are SO STUPID !!! These Phuckers Max Reed and Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler don't have any respect for the Tax PAYERS of ontario. They think they are being "So" smart be dragging Rob Ford through more CRAP !! This COST ALL OF US you DumbA$$es. When are these Parasites going to BACK OFF trivial $hit that ends up costing US the Taxpayers more money. See, these are the kind of guys that are in our political system, and they have NO problem screwwing the public purse. In fact, they LOVE IT !! This is EXACTLY what ROB FORD is trying to STOP !! STop letting people like these two goofs (Max Reed and Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler ) control the system. They are only abusing the system as all of the previous council members did. That is what ROB is trying to STOP !! You Pukes think FORD is wrong??? WHAT?? GET A BRAIN YOU FOOLS !! These twats are laughing at the Tax Payers. I HATE THE PEOPLE OF TORONTO BECAUSE YOU ARE ALL "STUPID" IF YOU DON'T GET BEHIND ROB FORD AND SUPPORT HIM, YOU DESERVE THE NEXT SOFTSPOKEN THEIFS THAT STEAL FROM THE TAX PAYER AND LINE THIER OWN POCKETS AND THE POCKETS OF THIER FREINDS AND FAMILIES. WAKE UP !!!!!!!
Andy / February 1, 2013 at 08:45 pm
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LOOK, I'm SORRY I lost it, but I just get SO MAD AT TORONTOIANS when they don't see what's PLAIN TO EVERYONE ELSE IN CANADA. Look, if we finally abolished taxes (like we SHOULD HAVE DONE YEARS AGO), EVERYONE OF US WOULD HAVE MORE MONEY IN OUR POCKETS. IT DOESNT TAKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST TO FIGURE THAT OUT. And Rob Ford is trying hard to make that happen. So when you DUMP ON HIM UNFAIRLY, it makes me MAD. Give the guy A CHANCE !!!! Mark my words, you WILL THANK ME AND ALL PEOPLE LIKE ME when you too no longer pay any taxes anymore. And if you don't then you really ARE STUPID FOOLS!!!!!
Jason / February 1, 2013 at 08:58 pm
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Andy, wow great post. I took a lot out of it, mainly that you're an immature (potentially slightly retarded) fella. Try making a point without caps lock and childish insults next time and maybe you'll be taken seriously.
Christopher King / February 1, 2013 at 09:34 pm
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Andy, did your mom drop you repeatedly on your head as a child, or was someone prevented from strangling you at birth, because I really account for all the brain-damaged half-wit BS you just posted
Sam / February 1, 2013 at 09:37 pm
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Yes we know Rob Ford has faults. EVERYBODY knows Rob Ford has faults. But I don't see anything significant or justified in spending all this time and money to let us know that Rob Ford has faults. I for one do not think it is worth all this money to take him out of office or to start a bi-election. We elected him, let him finish. Lets minimize the damage. We can pick someone else the next time around.

In the meanwhile I want to know who are the main players behind all this Rob hunting. These people are worse that Rob Ford. These are the people that do not care for the well being of Torontonians and care only for their political control. We need to segregate the source and make sure that these people are not elected or given power again.

Lets stop all the fighting and get back to work. I want to see things done just for the sake of Toronto.
chrisjemery / February 1, 2013 at 09:46 pm
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*sigh* This is so sad. He really keeps being an embarrassment not only to the city, but to politics in general. All the way through his campaign he pounded his chest promoting fiscal responsibility and eliminating unnecessary spending, and here he's shown overspending on his own campaign! How is that responsible? How is it unnecessary? How is it that so many people still support him??

Seriously! Someone from Ford Nation please explain this to me; how can you still support him? Without throwing out insults, I'm begging you to please explain this to me! Serious answers only please!

Like you, Andy. How can you support him when he keeps pulling these stunts? You write "When are these Parasites going to BACK OFF trivial $hit that ends up costing US the Taxpayers more money." Well, the removal of those Jarvis bike lanes was trivial, unnecessary $hit that cost us, and you (assuming you are from Toronto, I apologize if I am incorrect), our taxpayer money; how can you back that? And for the record, if there are no taxes, how you do expect to have garbage collection or road repairs in this city?

Please explain this, I just need to understand.
jimmy replying to a comment from chrisjemery / February 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm
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If Ford removed all bike lanes, he would be number 1 in my book.
chrisjemery replying to a comment from jimmy / February 2, 2013 at 12:04 am
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Why is that jimmy? Did a bike lane ruin your life?

Well, he built a bike lane on Sherbourne and is considering other dedicated bike lanes in the city, despite his hate on for bikes, so there goes that argument. But thank you for that rude and useless comment.

Again, serious answers only please.
Sousedbergin / February 2, 2013 at 12:07 am
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Salary cap works in successful sports as it ensures a level playing field. People who have no qualms with Ford cheating are essentially saying that it is okay for elections to won by the richest. There is a reason irrespective of political leanings that we want a democracy instead of a plutocracy.
McRib replying to a comment from Andy / February 2, 2013 at 07:34 am
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great parody!
steve replying to a comment from chrisjemery / February 2, 2013 at 08:04 am
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Actually the bike lanes on Sherbourne already existed. It was just rebuilt at a large expense for little gain. Kind of like removing the Jarvis bike lanes, removed and a huge cost for no real reason.
@Jimmy if you want exclusive use of roads you should be paying for that privileged. Such as tolls on the Gardener and the DVP But as long as we all pay for city roads we all have the right to share them.
Sam / February 2, 2013 at 10:10 am
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If the audit finds Ford at fault he should be fined. But lets make sure we audit all other election teams using the same methods.

Bike lanes? Stop wasting money. This goes for everybody, not just Ford.

Garbage collectors? Are they overpaid? Has this not been an issue that needs to be addressed?
Road repairs? Does anybody think we do not have a problem with road repairs in Toronto? Especially the Gardner.

We need to address these issues and how we can channel the funds in the right direction. If you have an idea on how to deal with these issues, write to your mayor. As bad as Ford is, he reads his letters and emails and tries to follow what he hears. We need to stop complaining and start making some constructive suggestions.

Ford is not Toronto, we are.
Wow replying to a comment from Andy / February 2, 2013 at 10:38 am
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Retarded much?
Soren / February 2, 2013 at 11:01 am
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More dodgy behaviour from Rob and Doug Ford. Appalling that these goons are lording over Toronto.
Grant replying to a comment from jimmy / February 2, 2013 at 11:06 am
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Do people think removing all the bike lanes would magically remove every bicycle from the road? No, removing the lanes would just result in more conflicts with cars and bikes. Drivers should be big supporters of bike lanes, it contains the cyclists to a defined section of the road, and makes driving a car more predictable.
Grant / February 2, 2013 at 11:16 am
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Regarding the breach in the Elections Act, it seems that the media is focusing on the amount Ford overspent. In my opinion, that's the least serious wrongdoing. The Elections Act is very clear that you can't take donations from corporations: Ford broke this rule. The Elections Act says you must borrow money from a Bank, and payments must go through the campaign account: Ford broke these rules. The Elections Act says the candidate can't start spending money on the campaign before a specified date: Ford broke this rule.

Ford is likely happy people are attempting to make the story about the $40k he overspent. Like the conflict of interest case, where the Ford apologists railed about what the big deal is about $3k, these "taxpayers" define every principal in monetary terms. This isn't about the money, it's about being able to follow the rules - that are set out to make sure that all the candidates are playing by the same standards. Rob Ford apparently likes to cheat, get a head start, and not play by rules he doesn't like, and doesn't think apply to him. Not exactly the qualities that are becoming a person with the responsibilities of being the Mayor.
Jacob replying to a comment from Grant / February 2, 2013 at 01:26 pm
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Ford Nation is focusing exclusively on the most trivial aspect to divert attention away from the more serious aspects. Just like with the conflict of interest judgment. ("All this over $40,000?" "All this over $3,500?")

It's a well-oiled spin machine.
KNau / February 2, 2013 at 01:40 pm
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The only real solution is to abolish megacity.
Lee Zamparo replying to a comment from Trigger / February 2, 2013 at 01:53 pm
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Yeah, up until the point where he voted against it, favouring the Mammo-led gamble boat option. What a maroon.
Arnold / February 2, 2013 at 02:11 pm
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I am no fan of Ford's but this audit is hardly a damning indictment of Ford personally.

First, does anyone think Rob Ford is personally dealing with his campaign finances - the only math he likes to do is 0+0=0. Whoever is his campaign finance manager should be under the bright lights - although the candidate is ultimately responsible. This is like your accountant making some questionable decisions on your taxes that Revenue Canada laters disallows.

Second, Ford hardly needs to cook the books for money - I am sure when his campaign managers offer an explanation it will be that they wrongfully thought something was okay. Have you ever been in a room of actuarial a and accountants - they argue all the time about how to interpret/classify things.

This is less serious than driving around while on his cell phone potentially endangering people IMHO. The is another trip down te rabbit hole unfortunately.
glenn storey replying to a comment from If / February 2, 2013 at 02:44 pm
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the difference is that adam WOULDN'T be in this situation.
glenn storey replying to a comment from Andy / February 2, 2013 at 02:46 pm
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i before e, dude, i before e.
Alan replying to a comment from glenn storey / February 2, 2013 at 03:00 pm
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Well let's audit him and find out, no harm in doing so. But someone did make a point why is the centre and right being audit and not the left. let's audit everyone and see what is really going on.
TDOT / February 2, 2013 at 05:04 pm
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Ugh not again. Rob Ford's an idiot. Now that's one point that we can ALL agree on. :)
Andy replying to a comment from chrisjemery / February 2, 2013 at 06:40 pm
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It's simple: he targets the GRAVY and then ELIMINATES IT. What makes all of you SO MAD is the fact that he's a) VOCAL about it and b) FIRST SAYS WHAT HE MEANS then c) DOES WHAT HE SAYS and then d) then when it's eliminated, he says I TOLD YOU I WOULD AND I DID, and that BURNS YOUR ASSE$ more than anything because your aren't used to someone at City Hall being ACCOUNTABLE AND DOING WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL, END STOP. It's SIMPLE, maybe that's why YOU DON'T GET IT.

And Arnold, it's actually 0+0 = 1, because WE THE TAXPAYER WINS WHEN FORD TARGETS THE GRAVY. NOW THAT THE GRAVY IS FINALLY ON THE RUN, YOU'RE MAD, SO YOUR MOUTH AND BRAIN ARE ON THE RUN.
SamTheBrokenRecordPlayerMan replying to a comment from Sam / February 2, 2013 at 07:02 pm
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Sam,

You shill. You work directly in Ford's office, or are you on Sandra Pavan's payroll?? Oh, that's right, she's secretly on *his* payroll!

BURN!!
farthing replying to a comment from Andy / February 2, 2013 at 08:14 pm
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Andy, I think the CRASHING problem here is that he isn't actually going PEW PEW PEW to the gravy. If you analyze that gravy he's supposedly KABLAMMO-ing, it's more like he's going BAM and POW to integrity and law. I'm not saying the left-wing are beyond criticism - there's lots to ZING about their practices. But Ford is certainly not beyond reproach.

Incidentally, I have tried to use all-caps, the language of your people, in a more exciting context. Let me know what you think!
Sam replying to a comment from SamTheBrokenRecordPlayerMan / February 3, 2013 at 08:11 am
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No, I do not work for Ford or Pavan. I have never met either of them.

These kinds of false accusations gives us less credibility and make it difficult to voice real issues that we need to address. I know it's funny but Rob Ford and the anti Rob Fords are starting to hurt Toronto, OUR Toronto. Sorry for being so serious but all this starting to worry me.

Before you know it , they are going to sneak a casino into downtown Toronto, stop the transit development, someone is going to get hurt because of the Gardner and someone else is going to start making changes to the bike lanes again.

If you don't like Rob Ford, get serious and get more people to vote. That is where our power lies.
SamTheBrokenRecordMan replying to a comment from Sam / February 4, 2013 at 05:44 pm
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Oh Sam,

Bitching about bike lanes (then reversing your position in your next email to sound sincere), overpaid garbagemen, auto-auditing of other election candidates, the important of road maintenance (esp. the Gardiner...wtf?! Demo it already!).

Sammo, you're on the inside, you're a shill...and you aren't even very good at it. But a few more weeks at NeoconCamp oughta do the trick.

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