“It’s up to legal staff to give that answer why, many different reasons,” Mr. Ford says.
“So am I being fair to you in saying that is true, but in the end what happens is you don’t think about it? It goes to your staff. You do what they tell you?” Mr. Ruby asks.
“Yes,” Mr. Ford replies.
Howard Moscoe, a colourful long-time councillor who retired in 2010, submitted an affidavit refuting that. According to a draft he provided to The Globe and Mail, “The role of the City of Toronto City Solicitor is to advise the City of Toronto as an institution – not its councillors as individuals … By chance, the clerk or solicitor might point out obvious conflicts of interest if they identify them. However, it would be reckless to rely on them doing so.”
Mr. Lenczner declined an interview request for this story. The mayor’s office declined to comment Sunday, but said Friday that Mr. Ford is “looking forward to his day in court.”
Ford on why he decided to speak and vote Feb. 7:
Clayton Ruby: What was it about this speech or this vote that in your mind made it inadvertent?
Rob Ford: I spoke because I had to explain to the councillors how my foundation works. I thought I was quite clear on what I said, and how I have helped out hundreds, if not thousands, 1,000, 2,000 kids over all in the last few years.
Ruby: So your speaking and voting were deliberate acts, correct?
Ford: I’m voting because I know my foundation ... it’s a fantastic foundation.
Ruby: You deliberately chose to make the speech you did and vote the way you did?
Ruby: And you don’t regret for a moment having done that?
Ford: Absolutely not.
Excerpts from the June 28 cross-examination of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, which took place at a downtown Toronto law office. Lawyer Clayton Ruby acted for the plaintiff, Toronto resident Paul Magder, who alleges the mayor broke the Municipal Conflict-of-Interest Act when he spoke to and voted on an item related to his personal football foundation. Lawyer Alan Lenczner acted for Mr. Ford.
In the first excerpt, Mr. Ruby asks Mr. Ford to explain his understanding of his responsibilities under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.
Clayton Ruby: Going back to section 5(1), take a look at that, of the [Municipal Conflict-of-Interest] Act? You will agree with me that it’s the member who has an obligation under this Act, not anybody else? Is that your understanding?
Rob Ford: For what? I don’t understand.
Ruby: Take a look at it, and see. The Act puts an obligation on the member to ...
Ford: “...the member either on his or her own behalf or while acting for ...”
Ford: “... prior to any pecuniary interest ... so what is your question?
Ruby: My question is you agree with me that the obligation is placed here on the member. You understood that?
Ford: It’s up to you to inform or ask question of the city clerk or legal ...
Ruby: And no obligation is put on anybody else but the member by this legislation, correct?
Ford: Sometimes you’re in a conflict, sometimes you’re not. You may think you are, and sometimes you’re not. So it’s more about ... to get legal advice.
Ruby: And the obligation, whatever it may be, is placed on the member of council, not anybody else, correct?
Ford: It’s up to you to ask the questions or find out.
Ruby: Thank you. So far as you’re aware, did you receive legal advice? Did you see it from an outside lawyer or anybody else?
Ruby: No, you’re shaking your head no?
Ford: And I said no.
Ruby: You’re sometimes very soft spoken and I want to make sure she gets it. Did you seek advice from anyone who is not a lawyer?
Ford: With respect to what?
Ruby: Whether you should vote, take part in these two debates?