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Ford urged to allow forensic review of campaign finances

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and members of the Executive Committee listen to a long list of deputations from Toronto citizens at City Hall on Sept. 19, 2011.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

An election-reform coalition has renewed calls for Rob Ford to stop legal action aimed at blocking a forensic review of his campaign finances after revelations that the mayor held three fundraisers in June to help defray more than $55,000 in lawyer's bills.

Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, spokesperson for Fair Elections Toronto, also said his group is reviewing the new campaign-disclosure filings, submitted to the city on Sept. 30, to determine whether the scant information provided about the three fundraisers warrants further action. "Right now we are looking at our options," he said, adding that it is "disappointing that [Mr. Ford]would insist on filing such shoddy-looking paperwork."

Mr. Ford's campaign documents only indicate that he held three events in June, netting $71,500 in contributions at the door. No tickets were sold in advance and there are no expenses listed for any of the events, raising questions about who paid for food, beverages, catering and venue rentals.

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Council's three-person compliance audit committee ordered a forensic review of the mayor's campaign expenses in May in response to allegations about unorthodox finance techniques, following a Globe and Mail investigation.

Citing the pending court appeal of that compliance audit order, Adrienne Batra, Mr. Ford's spokesperson, declined to respond to questions about the June fundraising events. One of the three events appears to have been held at Harbour Sixty, an upscale steakhouse in the Toronto Harbour Commission building.

Joe Vaccaro, the acting president of BILD, the GTA's development industry association, confirmed that the group's chairman, Paul Golini Jr., a senior executive at Empire Communities, hosted one of the fundraisers at his home.

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