Lawyers for Rob Ford have decided not to ask for yet another judicial opinion in the mayor’s continuing legal battle to reverse an April, 2011, compliance audit order of his 2010 election finances.
After Ontario justice Richard Schneider ruled last month that Mr. Ford is not entitled to an entirely new hearing with fresh evidence to consider a request for a forensic review of his campaign’s books, he had until Monday afternoon to appeal.
But George Christopoulos, his press secretary, confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Mr. Ford has decided not to appeal Justice Schneider’s decision, thus setting the stage for a long-scheduled April court date. At that session, the court will decide whether council’s three-person compliance audit committee decided appropriately last spring when it ordered a forensic review of Mr. Ford’s election finances.
If the court signs off on the committee’s ruling, a forensic accountant will begin scrutinizing all the expenses incurred during Mr. Ford’s upset campaign.
“We are pleased that Mayor Ford has accepted the wisdom of Justice Schneider's decision and hope he will work with us to expedite the audit process so the citizens of Toronto know once and for all whether our mayor played by the rules when he was elected,” said Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, one of the two Toronto residents who filed the initial complaint, in an e-mail comment.
They alleged that Mr. Ford violated both provincial and municipal election rules by relying on the family holding company, which owns Deco Labels and Tags, to cover $77,000 in early expenses. Mr. Ford has steadfastly insisted that his campaign abided by the rules.
Meanwhile, former North York councillor Peter LiPreti, who has been accused of violating the ban on corporate donations, is continuing to pursue legal means to stop a compliance audit ordered last fall.
Justice Schneider heard arguments for both politicians during an all-day session in January.
Special to The Globe and Mail