So do you remember Rob Ford’s big court case where he came this close to being tossed out of office? He squeaked by on the technicality that City Council had no authority to force him to repay donations from lobbyists, and therefore the entire case was null and void?
As you may recall, the fact that Ford was using his position improperly was never at issue; all parties (with the exception of Ford and his buddies), agreed that what he did was wrong. To quote presiding judge Hackland, “…it is difficult to accept an error in judgment defence based essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement (concerning his football foundation) and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the Integrity Commissioner and the Code of Conduct.”
Being held to account obviously chafed the fat man something fierce because there was no end to his vitriol. Anyone who would dare question what he did (especially people who were competent and required by provincial legislation), MUST BE FIRED! After all, if the Fuhrer decrees it…
So I can’t imagine how Ford is going to deal with the fact that he was today found to be openly continuing to use his name to ask for donations from lobbyists, but he also once again ran away to his beloved American bosom to avoid any scrutiny or painful brow-furrowing (a.k.a. thinking). Second vacation in three months — just like any regular TV mobster waiting for the “heat” to die down.
Let me reiterate that in case you missed it: the thing that Ford got in trouble for and almost got him fired (were it not for a technicality), is exactly what he has continued to do since the case was dropped!
There’s no way in the universe he can still claim ignorance, or that it was some sort of decade-long bout of abject ineptitude — something that in any company would have been just cause for a firing a long long time ago.
Even the lobbyists being targeted know what the problem is:
Andy Manahan, executive director of the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario, said he received a letter on Jan. 28 — only three days after Ford won his appeal in the conflict of interest saga that began with his decision to solicit donations from lobbyists in 2009.
“You never know what a mayor’s office could do to put a monkey wrench into your dealings with the city.”
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to take those sort of lists and send out letters to people who have dealings with the city,” Manahan said. “Again, there could be repercussions. There’s potential.”
The second registered lobbyist asked not to be named for fear of alienating the Ford administration. He said, “I think it’s kind of suspicious. The only interactions I’ve had with him were on city business or as a lobbyist registrant.”
He added: “It goes back to: are you allowed to use names and contact information from business dealings to raise funds? Is that permitted? It sure seems strange.”
Ford also sent a fundraising letter in the past two months to a non-lobbyist who does business with the city and whose fortunes he could directly influence: Brian Ashton, president of the Canadian National Exhibition Association, which stages the annual fair.
As mayor, Ford is automatically a member of the association board; if Ashton seeks re-election, Ford could vote for or against him. Under its new governance model, the association will pay rent of more than $3 million to the city in 2013.
“It’s awkward because if you’re doing business with the city in any fashion, do you feel a sense of obligation?” said Ashton, a former centrist councillor who retired from politics in 2010. “If you don’t (donate), will that influence his impression or support of your organization?”
Ashton is currently urging council members not to put a casino at Exhibition Place. He said the fundraising letters are “unnerving” because “the Fords are very powerful in Toronto.”
“I just hope that (Rob Ford) separates the two and doesn’t allow fundraising efforts to influence decisions with respect to the casino or any other CNE business,” Ashton said.
Since Rob Ford seems completely incapable of defending himself or making any public comments on his own, someone on his staff had to step in with what is now the standard Rob Ford “but it was just a mistake!” excuse:
“It is our understanding that the Football Foundation makes every attempt to remove registered lobbyists from its mass mailing lists. If errors were made, they were inadvertent. The Foundation will review and look for ways to improve its processes,” the statement from Ford’s office reads. “In any case, it is our understanding that the Foundation has not received any donations from lobbyists and it is Foundation policy to return such donations if they were to be received in error.”
And, of course, brother Dougie has to include his customary addenda:
Ford told Leiper in 2010 that he did not check to see whether the people to whom he was planning to send letters were lobbyists or appointees to city boards.
Anyone can determine whether someone is a registered lobbyist by typing a name into the publicly accessible lobbyist registry. But Doug Ford said Wednesday that he does not think his brother does so, even today.
“No. I don’t believe it makes a difference who it is. Because there are so many companies that are registered in the City of Toronto; if you look, there’s probably a couple thousand of them,” Doug Ford said.
“It depends on what you call a lobbyist or not. Rob can’t stand lobbyists; he’s the guy who fights against lobbyists. But it depends on who you call a lobbyist. Do you call ‘ABC Company,’ that wants to open up, and they’re registered, and they need to talk to councillors — are they lobbyists? I guess they are.”
Depends on who you call a lobbyist? Only if you’re an illiterate drip who’s incapable of performing a simple web search, Dougie:
But despite all this, I have to admit that there’s a sick, twisted logic behind why the Fords would be continuing on their merry, law-breaking way; the last three cases have shown that the law doesn’t apply to them, and even if they’re questioned they can just shrug, claim they’re stupid, and off they go … go get ’em tiger, go rape the city for the Conservative dynasty!