Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he will not ask the city to pick up the tab for his legal battle against conflict-of-interest charges.
Mr. Ford this week cleared the last of three legal challenges when a three-person committee decided not to begin proceedings on his election spending violations. While that case, as well as an unsuccessful defamation suit are now behind him, the awarding of costs in a third case involving conflict-of-interest charges is still before the courts.
Mr. Ford said if he does not recover the full cost of his legal bills through the courts, he won’t be looking to the city to pick up the tab.
“The last thing I’m going to do is go to the taxpayers and say, ‘Give me the $120,000,’” Mr. Ford said in an interview Tuesday with Sun News Network. “I’m not going to use [the city’s] insurance for that purpose.”
City councillors were advised at their meeting last week that the mayor could be reimbursed for any portion of his costs not awarded by the court if he files an application.
The Toronto mayor’s legal team says it cost more than $116,000 to fight his case, and after winning his appeal, they are asking the Toronto citizen that made the complaint, Paul Magder, to pay.
Lawyers for Mr. Magder say he should not be required to pay any of the legal costs because he was acting in the public interest and the rules require that only a private citizen can make a complaint.
“It would be an embarrassment to the administration of justice if a government official were awarded costs against an ordinary taxpayer in a public interest case that was brought in complete good faith,” they argue in a court submission filed this week.
They describe Mr. Magder as “an ordinary, hard-working individual, ” noting that, “A six-figure costs award against the respondent would be devastating.”
Mr. Ford’s lawyer, Alan Lenczner, filed his client’s legal bill last week with the Ontario Divisional Court, where the mayor won a reversal of a lower-court ruling that had ordered him out of office for violating conflict-of-interest rules.
The bill for $107,070 in legal fees and $9,335.12, including HST, for expenses such as photocopying, transcripts and phone bills, covers both Mr. Ford’s initial court fight, his request for leave to appeal, and his appeal.
During the interview, the mayor also characterized his violation of election rules, which included overspending, taking donations from corporations and loans from his family company, as “minor glitches.”
With files from Jeff Gray