Etobicoke Councillor Doug Ford is being taken to task by the city’s integrity commissioner for not apologizing for “intimidating language” he used in an encounter with a left-leaning civic activist.
Responding to a complaint, the city’s integrity commissioner, Janet Leiper, finds that the councillor violated council’s code of conduct and has yet to adequately apologize for his actions.
The Etobicoke councillor is not having any of that.
“It’s all a bunch of horse shit and you can quote those words,” Councillor Ford said when reached Wednesday after the report became public. “This is absolute nonsense.”
The case, which dates back to a July council meeting, centres around an encounter between Councillor Ford and Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, a former member of the library board who also challenged the financial statements from the 2011 campaign of both the councillor and his brother the mayor.
Ms. Leiper, who received a complaint from Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler, reports that at the July meeting Councillor Ford approached the complainant to ask if he was the person challenging his campaign expenses. After discovering his identity, the report says the councillor replied,“What goes around comes around.”
According to Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler’s account to the commissioner, he asked if that was a threat and the councillor walked away.
Councillor Ford said in an interview the statement reflects his philosophy of life.
“In general I believe if you go around and you are screwing around with people and you are messing around with people’s lives it is going to come back and haunt you one day,” he explained. “I am not a super religious guy, but I believe the guy upstairs is going to come back and haunt you one day. That’s my belief.”
Reached Wednesday, Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler said the entire episode could have been avoided if the councillor had let him go about his business and if he had apologized as requested. He felt compelled to file the complaint, he said, because he does not believe those in positions of power such as councillors should be able to bully and threaten people.
A letter sent by the councillor in October to the complainant at the request of the commissioner states: “I believe there was a misunderstanding and apologize if you took anything I said the wrong way.”
Both Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler and the commissioner say that is not enough. The report asks that council request a written apology from the councillor.
“I am not going to hold my breath,” Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler said about his expectations for that letter.
Councillor Ford said he has done enough. “What does he want, a full page song and dance?” he said. “That’s not going to happen. That’s just not going to happen.”
In a separate report, the integrity commissioner also found that the mayor has not provided proof that he has complied with a council order that he repay lobbyists for $3,150 in charitable donations to a private football foundation that were solicited using his status as a councillor and city resources.