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Mayor Rob Ford Won’t Face Charges for Apparent Campaign Spending Violations

For the third time, Ford escapes legal penalties.

Mayor Rob Ford’s legal winning streak continues: first he beat his libel rap, then he won his conflict of interest appeal, and now, as of a few minutes ago, he’s off the hook for apparently violating campaign spending rules during the 2010 election.

The Compliance Audit Committee—a panel of three citizen experts who decide, on the City’s behalf, whether or not to pursue campaign-finance violations—has just determined that the mayor should not be prosecuted for his alleged lapses.

The campaign spending allegations against Ford stem from a complaint by Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, an activist, and Max Reed, a lawyer. The pair alleged, in May 2011, that Mayor Rob Ford’s campaign had violated the Municipal Elections Act by, among other things, exceeding a legally-mandated spending limit. (Chaleff-Freudenthaler also played a quiet role in bringing about Ford’s conflict-of-interest suit.)

Froese Forensic Partners, an auditor appointed by the City to look into the complaint, released a report, at the beginning of the month, that more or less agreed with Chaleff-Freudenthaler and Reed. The report said that the mayor’s campaign had exceeded its $1,305,066.65 spending limit by $40,168, and that it had also committed other violations of campaign finance law, like accepting improper contributions from corporations.

At its meeting today, the Compliance Audit Committee’s task was to decide whether to press charges against the mayor, which would have required paying a special prosecutor to prepare a case against him. (They decided to press charges against Ward 7 Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti for similar, but arguably more severe, offences earlier this month.)

According to the Star, one committee member did vote to press charges, but the other two outvoted him, meaning the mayor has dodged another potentially damaging legal imbroglio.

[Disclosure: Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler is Torontoist editor-in-chief Hamutal Dotan's partner; she was not involved in the writing or editing of this article.]

Comments

  • Jacob

    Good news for everyone who wants to run for Mayor in the future! There are officially no campaign rules now!

    • Testu

      Well, there are no campaign rules as long as you win. Since nobody wants to deal with the potential political ramifications of ousting a sitting mayor for anything less than murder. Regular folk who don’t hold a high-profile political office would probably be nailed to the wall over this stuff. So if you’re going to break the rules, make sure you get elected before anyone catches you.

      • andrew97

        Just wondering how your theory explains Mammoliti getting busted.

        • Testu

          Mammoliti is a small fish, he’s a city councillor. If he gets removed from office it doesn’t make national/international news and the only people that really care are his constituents. The mayor of Canada’s largest city is a bigger deal in the press. There was a lot of backlash from the public over removing the mayor and potentially triggering an election over a “technicality”, a municipal by-election for a councillor doesn’t cause the same kind of fervour.

          The cases aren’t the same but it’s not surprising that people are unwilling to push for another high-profile scandal.

    • dsmithhfx

      You mean everyone who is independently wealthy and/or bent. Everyone else can go pound sand.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    What. The. Fuck.

    Why do we have these rules if they can be ignored or escaped or voided on a case-by-base basis?

    • Jacob

      To give the illusion of transparency.

      If this had been Miller, Rob Ford would have been red-faced and screaming, calling for his head on a pike.

  • Melissa

    I like how one of the two “don’t prosecute” votes from the former chair of the Ontario Municipal Board. Not exactly the kind of credentials that make me think that this person has sound judgement when it comes to good governance and supporting the public interest.

  • dsmithhfx

    It’s hilarious that Rob has cultivated this image as a penny-watcher that nobody can put anything past, but when he fucks up his own campaign finances (because what — he’s too busy coaching? fielding calls about potholes?) it just proves his CPA designation is, like pretty much everything else, a fraud. It would be instructive to do a forensic audit of Decco’s books, assuming he’s ever been let near them.

    • bittman

      What? Rob Ford is a CPA? I somehow doubt this.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Is the CAC the only body able to decide whether this gets prosecuted?

    • dsmithhfx

      Apparently any citizen can proceed with a private prosecution (with all that entails).

  • andrew97

    This is great news. Finally Ford is free and clear from legal entanglements, so there’s nothing to distract from his abject incompetence as mayor, nothing to fire up his base, and nothing to play to his ludicrous sense of persecution. Adam C-F, are you paying attention?

    • dsmithhfx

      Robocall script: “Rob Ford beat the lefty, gravy-sucking downtown elites at their own game. Trust Rob to reduce your taxes while protecting the services you folks in the suburbs love and cutting everything else (meaning downtown stuff). And there’ll be a great new Las Vegas Theme Park right downtown so we can build all those subways to nowhere that you’re jonesing for. Bring the kids!”

  • AllanG

    Let the spending begin immediately for 2014. That’s the lesson the Fords have learned. In any case, they already have a radio show which they’ve been using as political advertising for the past year. Deco labels advertises on the station. Was that part of the deal for giving the Fords their own show? Well, I guess these issues are too complicated for the compliance auditors so don’t bother trying to complain. Nobody’s listening anymore.

  • Francisco

    Here is a non-partisan comment:

    all elected council members should be audited after every election. Voters still do not know how Adam CF obtained specific finance information on certain campaign events by Mr. Ford.

    IF I — as a citizen– wanted to check the spending on, let’s say, one of Adam Vaughn’s campaign events, where would I start? Who will I have to contact? Is an inside source in City Hall or some other official election body required?

    I some how doubt there were no other spending violations by any other council member.

    If Mr. Adam CF has an enabler within an official government body, let him reveal it. If he does have an inside source, is that not an unfair advantage versus me? Does one need to be well-connected to start this process? I am just a Joe average guy.

    I have nothing against Mr.Ford nor did I vote for him. However, let us not use a system for selective prosecution. I know…other members were charged…it seems those other members are window dressing to just go after the big fish.

    • http://twitter.com/AdamCF Adam C-F

      Francisco, all the information used was publicly available. For the financial statements of candidates visit toronto.ca/elections and for the detailed financial records anyone can view them by visiting the City Clerk’s office on the main floor of City Hall. If you’d like to see the legal arguments we used so you can use them yourself, build upon them, etc, visit http://www.fairelectionsto.ca (the Ford documents are at http://fairelectionsto.ca/?page_id=49).