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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been accused of breaking election-finance laws. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been accused of breaking election-finance laws. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Mayor facing third audit request of campaign finances Add to ...

Mayor Rob Ford is facing three formal demands for a city investigation of his campaign finances after two voters filed a third audit request on Wednesday.

Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler and Max Reed lodged a 17-page submission with the city that alleges the mayor's campaign spent almost $70,000 more than the $1.3-million municipal expense limit.

Their filing, first reported in The Globe and Mail, outlines five specific instances where Mr. Ford's election efforts may have breached election laws.

None of the allegations have been proven and both men are forthright about their lack of accounting experience.

"We certainly aren't the experts - that's the job of the audit committee," said Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler.

The request alleges that Mr. Ford's campaign improperly categorized mail and phone charges as fundraising expenses to prevent them from counting against his municipal spending limit.

It also accuses the Ford camp of accepting corporate donations, using improper contributions from a family holding company and incurring campaign expenses before declaring Mr. Ford as a candidate.

Mr. Reed, a recent McGill University law graduate, and Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler, a fixture in left-leaning political circles who sits on the Toronto Public Library Board, insist their goal is clarity in financing laws, not political points.

"This is about making sure the rules were followed - there's no partisan motivation whatsoever," Mr. Reed said. "Free and fair elections require that everyone follow the rules to the letter, so that is our real intent."

The third request follows two previous submissions filed over the past two weeks. Ted Ho and Fred Berenbaum both cited a Globe and Mail article in asking for a probe of the mayor's finances. The article scrutinized an unorthodox financing arrangement whereby the family-owned Doug Ford Holdings paid almost $70,000 toward Mr. Ford's early campaign expenses.

The city committee will consider those two initial requests on Friday. The compliance audit committee can order the city to go ahead with a full investigation of Mr. Ford's campaign finances. If any intentional contravention is found, he could face penalties ranging from cash fines to removal from office.

Representatives for Mr. Ford's team will attend the meeting to defend the mayor's election efforts. Like most serious candidates, Mr. Ford had his finances independently audited before submitting them to the city in March.

"The campaign acted in accordance with the rules," said Adrienne Batra, the mayor's press secretary. "The mayor knows about the requests and will fully co-operate."

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