Mayoral candidate John Tory has written to the city’s integrity commissioner, asking whether her investigation involving Mayor Rob Ford will be completed in time for the October election.
David S. Young, the lawyer for the John Tory campaign, sent a letter to integrity commissioner Janet Leiper Thursday inquiring about the status of an official complaint filed against the mayor. That complaint, by watchdog group Democracy Watch, involves allegations detailed in The Globe and Mail that the mayor lobbied city staff on behalf of firms connected to Deco Labels and Tags, the Ford family business.
“The allegation of mixing up public duty and private interests – that goes to the heart of the question of integrity, and the questions that people focus on a lot in electing governments and watching governments perform,” Mr. Tory said in an interview.
“I think having those questions answered by an objective person – especially in light that the Fords don’t really seem willing to answer those questions – are very important to the system.”
Mr. Tory said he’s leaving it as a question to Ms. Leiper on whether she will wrap up her investigation in time for the Oct. 27 election. But if her answer is no, he said, “I would then perhaps have further communication to see if there was a way in which she could do that.”
Ms. Leiper had previously indicated that she planned on resuming the investigation after the mayor returned from his leave of absence in late June. Ms. Leiper was unavailable for comment late Thursday afternoon, and it is not yet known whether her investigation has resumed.
In June, The Globe reported that Mayor Ford and his brother Councillor Doug Ford lobbied the city on behalf of RR Donnelley, a printing firm that was in negotiations to do business with Deco Labels around the same time. The Globe also reported on the mayor’s attempts to get city staff to help Apollo Health and Beauty Care – a Deco Labels client.
As a result of these reports, both Democracy Watch and Toronto resident Ray Fredette filed complaints with Ms. Leiper alleging the mayor broke the council code of conduct.
In response, Mayor Ford did not deny helping the firms, but said he did nothing wrong. “I help out anyone that calls me,” he said. earlier this week. “When you’re in business like Deco Labels has for 52 years, we’ve dealt with everyone in the city. Like being in politics since 1995, you deal with everybody.”
The letter from the Tory campaign to Ms. Leiper also asks whether the findings of her investigation of the mayor will be made public.
“Will you issue a public report or statement regarding your investigation once completed?” the letter reads.“Does your office recognize that the timely issue of a report respecting these matters is essential information that the public deserves to have in advance of this year’s municipal election on October 27?” the letter reads.
On Friday, the Tory campaign also launched an attack website questioning the Fords’ dealings with the city and Deco.
Citing the ongoing Apollo and RR Donnelley investigations, the site asks “Do the Fords have their own gravy train going on?”
Jamey Heath, a spokesperson for the Olivia Chow campaign, said that “Mr. Ford’s apparent mixing of public and private is of absolute concern.”
But, he added that Mr. Tory “also has to explain why he sat on his radio show and said that Mr. Ford would never be involved in this kind of an ethical scandal” – a reference to a January 2013 incident in which Mr. Tory defended the Ford family on his radio show.