A Toronto judge has denied Mayor Rob Ford’s request for a new trial to decide whether he will undergo the forensic audit of his election campaign expenses that was ordered by a City Hall tribunal last year.
In January, Ford sent a team of lawyers to Old City Hall to argue that the City of Toronto’s Compliance Audit Committee decision should be thrown out and the process started from scratch at the Ontario Court of Justice. Citing cases from the Supreme Court of Canada, Mr. Justice Richard D. Schneider rejected all of Ford’s arguments.
“Today’s decision makes it clear that Ford never had a legal leg to stand on,” said Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, spokesperson for Fair Elections Toronto, the group that is seeking the audit of Ford’s campaign. “The more this goes on, the clearer it is that all Ford wants to do is delay, delay, delay.”
On May 26, 2011, Ford told the Toronto Sun, “I have nothing to hide so let them audit all they want.” Nine months later, Ford continues to refuse to open his books to independent auditors.
Fair Elections Toronto urges Ford to live up to his promise and not appeal Justice Schneider’s decision. Should Ford appeal, the process could be delayed by a full year, making it increasingly unlikely that Torontonians will know if their mayor broke the rules to get elected when they next go to the polls in 2014.
Fair Elections Toronto was skillfully represented by Robert Centa, a partner at Paliare Roland LLP who praised the decision as “thoughtful and reasonable.” “This should quickly become the leading case on the proper scope of compliance audit appeals,” Centa added.