Toronto integrity commissioner Janet Leiper has ruled that Mayor Rob Ford did not breach council’s code of conduct and policies regarding the disclosure of office expenses, as alleged in a complaint filed by resident Jude MacDonald last July.
The Globe and Mail has obtained a copy of Ms. Leiper’s report, dated Feb. 9.
According to affidavits filed by Ms. MacDonald last year, Mr. Ford appeared to be under-reporting his office spending in quarterly reports posted on the city’s website. The complaint arose from a Globe report that revealed that Mr. Ford’s disclosed spending for the first quarter of 2011 did not include routine office expenses such as staff cellphones and business cards.
But Ms. Leiper concluded the discrepancies were the result of delays in reconciling office invoices and staff turnover in the mayor’s office in the early months of last year. She also found that Mr. Ford’s staff was able to make use of some supplies left over from David Miller’s administration.
A Globe and Mail access to information request had also revealed that Mr. Ford did not disclose publicly the purchase of business cards worth almost $1,600 and printed by Deco Labels and Tags, the family-owned printing company.
Ms. Leiper’s report noted that a new member of Mr. Ford’s staff last summer realized the Deco order “had not been supported by an invoice” after receiving the access to information request. The staff person ordered a replacement invoice from Deco, Ms. Leiper explains, and submitted the paperwork to the City Clerk’s Office.
Mr. Ford subsequently declared he would personally reimburse the city for not only the business cards, but also newspaper subscriptions and vehicle expenses, totalling $4,000. Those outlays are now posted on council’s expense website.
Ms. Leiper lauded Mr. Ford’s office for co-operating with her investigation and concluded that his staff have reported the outlays “accurately” and “adjusted those expenses, when called for, in the appropriate circumstances.”
In Ms. Leiper’s previous report of August 2010, she took the mayor to task for his practice of asking lobbyists to make donations to the Ford family’s football foundation. Council last week voted to rescind the ruling requiring him to reimburse the almost $3,000 in donations.
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