A Toronto man has filed a formal complaint against Mayor Rob Ford because of letters that were sent from the mayor’s football foundation to registered lobbyists.
Frank Trotz, an artist and teacher, filed the complaint with the integrity commissioner Tuesday. The commissioner will now consider how to proceed.
Mayor Ford’s office said last week that the letters were “inadvertent” and pledged to return any donations received because of the error. Mark Towhey, the mayor’s chief of staff, said at the time “every attempt” is made to remove registered lobbyists from the football foundation’s mailing lists.
Andy Manahan, executive director of the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario, said last week that he received a fundraising letter on January 28. Mr. Manahan met with two councillors and city staff at various times this year and last, according to the city’s lobbyist registry.
The fundraising letter, which includes a photo of the mayor, arrived just days after Mr. Ford won his appeal on conflict-of-interest charges. Asking lobbyists for money for his private charity was the very thing that got the mayor into trouble in that case.
In that instance, the city’s integrity commissioner took Mr. Ford, then an Etobicoke councillor, to task for asking for donations and accepting money from lobbyists. In that instance, Mr. Ford got into further trouble when he spoke and voted at council on a motion to let him off the hook.
A long legal battle that ensued placed Mr. Ford’s job in jeopardy and only ended last month when he won his appeal.
Several councillors said last week that the mayor should know better than to continue to ask lobbyists for money.
Councillor Gord Perks had said if nobody else took action, he would complain about the letter to the integrity commissioner.
Mr. Trotz, in an interview, said Mr. Perks’s comment is what prompted him to file the complaint, something he said he had never done before.
He said he is sick of the mayor’s “disregard for rules and any code of conduct.”
Mr. Trotz said he was especially frustrated because the letters were sent just after the conflict-of-interest case wrapped up.
The mayor’s press secretary did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
With files from Elizabeth Church