NOW Magazine has filed a complaint with the city's Integrity Commissioner against Mayor Rob Ford's office following an alleged order to remove the weekly's copies from all City of Toronto locations.
Last month, NOW claimed its magazines, featuring several photo-shopped photos of a scantily clad Rob Ford, were yanked from City Hall by order of the mayor's office. NOW said they have "solid evidence" in the form of an e-mail request to Lorraine Pickett, supervisor of custodial services, with directions to "remove all NOW newspapers from all City of Toronto locations/facilities asap. Please remove and dispose."
"This is a disturbing infringement on the right to free expression and speaks to a careless disregard for democracy in the highest office of city government," said CEO Alice Klein. "We have a right to know who ordered this infringement of our democratic rights and to see that there are consequences for those who are responsible for this outrageous act."
Responding to the complaint, Mr. Ford's press secretary Adrienne Batra said "there's not much information I can provide you because this is an ongoing matter."
Ms. Batra denied any such order went out from the mayor's office and stands by her comments made in March that 'it was all a misunderstanding." She suggested there might have been some miscommunication when the mayor's staff looked into policies of newspaper and magazine distribution at city facilities.
If Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper decides she has jurisdiction in this case, she will complete a report within 90 days and submit to city council with recommendations. If the report finds that Mr. Ford has violated the Code of Conduct, he could face a reprimand from council or the suspension of his salary for up to 90 days. The commissioner could also instruct the mayor to issue a formal apology to NOW magazine.