Rob Ford alleged business deal was corrupt to get votes, lawyer suggests

TORONTO – The lawyer for a businessman suing Toronto’s mayor for defamation is suggesting in court that Rob Ford alleged corruption to help himself get elected.

Restaurant owner George Foulidis alleges in a $6-million lawsuit that Ford defamed him when the mayor suggested a leasing deal between Foulidis’s company Tuggs Inc. and the city was corrupt.

Ford told a Toronto newspaper in the middle of his 2010 mayoral campaign that a sole-sourced, untendered, 20-year contract the city gave Tuggs for a restaurant on public land “stinks to high heaven.”

Foulidis’s lawyer, Brian Shiller, is telling court in his closing arguments that Ford jumped on brewing controversy around the Tuggs deal to illustrate his main campaign plank — stopping the so-called gravy train at city hall.

Shiller says Ford didn’t have any concrete evidence of corruption by Foulidis, city councillors or city staff, rather it was about “seeking votes and winning elections.”

The mayor is arguing that he was talking about the company, not Foulidis himself, and that companies can’t be defamed.