Last week Ford told the Toronto Sun "There is nothing to hide so let them audit all they want".
This week, he asked his lawyer to ask the court to halt the audit of his campaign finances.
Ford’s lawyer Tom Barlow filed notice alleging the compliance audit
committee “erred in its interpretation and application of the
provisions” of the Municipal Elections Act and “in determining that the
application satisfied the threshold for granting a compliance audit.”
The committee’s three citizen appointees, all with expertise in election rules, voted unanimously to launch the audit based on a detailed request by Toronto residents Max Reed and Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler.
Reed and Chaleff-Freudenthaler
focused on questions about Ford’s family company, Doug Ford Holdings
Inc., paying more than $77,000 in early campaign expenses. The campaign
cut the company a cheque for the full amount one year after the current
mayor declared his candidacy.
If that was a loan, Ford may have
broken a provincial law stating candidates can borrow from banks and
other recognized lending institutions, they said. If the no-interest
terms constitute a donation, Ford broke a city ban on corporate
Barlow argued at the meeting the
holding company was merely one of the campaign’s many “suppliers” of
goods and services, including the salary of the campaign’s policy
But committee member John Hollins, a
former chief executive of Elections Ontario, said that, without interest
or a markup, payment coming that long after the initial outlay “looks
like it’s just a throughput of cash.”
He also agreed there were questions
about whether some events listed by Ford’s campaign as fundraisers, and
therefore exempt from a legislated $1.3 million spending cap, had
fundraising as their primary purpose.
In his four-page appeal notice to the
Ontario Court of Justice, Barlow repeats an argument the committee
rejected — that Ford’s extension from the city until June 30 to file
campaign documents makes an audit order now premature.
Chaleff-Freudenthaler, a Toronto
Public Library board member who has challenged Ford’s spending cuts,
said an appeal on the last day possible shows the mayor “fears greatly
what’s going to come out in an audit.
“He’s pulling out all the stops, after saying the contrary.”
If the court allows the audit to
proceed, and the findings lead to a successful prosecution, possible
penalties for breaching the Municipal Elections Act range from a fine to
removal from office.
The committee declared at the May 13 hearing that a similar request from another resident, Ted Ho, was moot because it raised the same issues.
Since then, another Toronto resident, David DePoe, has filed another request, which the compliance audit is scheduled to hear June 6.
And, you'll never guess what Ford's response was when asked about this:
Ford could not be reached for comment.
"This Stinks to High Heaven" - Ford's disrespect for taxpayers.
Torontoist: Citizens call for an audit of Ford's campaign finances