Mayor Rob Ford has broken his silence on reports he lobbied the city on behalf of clients of his family business, saying “I help out anyone that calls me.”
The mayor was asked Monday afternoon at a playground opening in North Toronto about a Globe and Mail investigation, and responded by saying that he’d done nothing wrong – though he stopped short of denying that he’d helped clients of his family business.
A Globe and Mail report in June revealed that the mayor and his brother Doug Ford helped R.R. Donnelley and Sons, a large commercial printing company, lobby for a city contract at the same time the Ford family business, Deco Labels & Tags, was negotiating a referral agreement with the company. Doug Ford has said that Deco in the end received no clients from R.R. Donnelley.
“When you’re in business like Deco Labels has for 52 years, we’ve dealt with everyone in the city,” the mayor said Monday afternoon. “Like being in politics since 1995, you deal with everybody.”
He continued to say “I help out everybody, and I never took one dime of taxpayers’ money.”
The mayor, who is running for re-election in October, has been repeatedly criticized for mixing public and private interests.
The Globe also revealed earlier this year that the Fords arranged meetings between Apollo Health and Beauty Care – another Deco client – and the city in order to obtain a $2.5-million property tax grant, a stop sign designation and assistance with a building permit.
Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper began an investigation after the Apollo revelations into allegations the mayor violated council’s code of conduct by using city-paid staff and resources for personal benefit. Since then, she has received requests that the probe be expanded to include Councillor Doug Ford and the allegations around their dealings with R.R. Donnelley.