TORONTO – The mayor of Canada’s largest city could be kicked out of office today if a court ruling doesn’t go in his favour.
A decision in a conflict of interest case against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is due today at 10 a.m.
If Ontario Superior Court Judge Charles Hackland finds Ford guilty, he can order him out of office and ban him from running again for up to seven years.
However, if Hackland finds that Ford committed a conflict of interest without realizing he was doing so or through a simple error in judgment, the mayor would get to keep his job.
Ford is 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.
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.
The lawsuit was launched by Toronto resident Paul Magder.
Ford 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 is 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.