Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is denying that he ever held a seat on the Waterfront Toronto board of directors – an agency he has been highly critical of in recent weeks – despite a letter from the city clerk and city council minutes confirming that he was on the board between 2010-2012.
Ever since his return from rehab, Mr. Ford, who is running for re-election in October, has made spending at Waterfront Toronto one of his key issues, including calling on the agency’s CEO John Campbell to step down. At a press conference Wednesday morning, he continued to rail against spending by the agency at Sugar Beach and Cherry Beach, calling it “a complete waste of money.”
He also denied sitting on the agency’s board of directors when some of these spending decisions were made – as reported by several media outlets, including The Globe and Mail.
“To correct a certain media outlet, I was not on Toronto Waterfront. I was on Harbourfront,” he told reporters at a press conference.
But minutes from a December 7, 2010 city council meeting show that the mayor was named a member of the board on that date. And a letter dated December 8, 2010 from City Clerk Ulli Watkiss to Mr. Campbell, also confirms Mr. Ford’s appointment to the board. Mr. Ford did not attend any meetings while he was on the board.
A separate letter from Ms. Watkiss to Mr. Campbell shows that Councillor Jaye Robinson was not named the mayor’s designate until December, 2012. This means the mayor was a member of the agency’s board when the $600,000 Cherry Beach washroom he’s frequently criticized first opened.
“Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars -- $600,000 on a washroom...this is absolutely ridiculous,” he said Wednesday.
Despite the mayor’s calls on Mr. Campbell to resign, he has not done so. The board issued a letter last week saying Mr. Campbell enjoys the “full confidence of the board.”
Mr. Ford’s mayoral rival Olivia Chow responded to the mayor’s criticism of Waterfront Toronto by pointing to his lack of attendance at board meetings.
“If I’m the mayor, I will show up to the meetings,” she said. “I will make sure I read my agenda and read my reports.”
And candidate John Tory called it "another example of Rob Ford ducking his responsibilities." In a statement, Mr. Tory said "not only did he not speak up when he had the chance, he didn't even show up.
"Toronto needs a Mayor who will work with council to get things done at city hall. Once again, Rob Ford has shown he's out of gas."
Mayor Ford denies sitting on Waterfront TO board. Here's a Dec. 2010 city clerk letter confirming his appointment. pic.twitter.com/x9c2E2fFSh— Ann Hui (@annhui) July 23, 2014
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