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40 Comments

politics

Rob Ford Faces Another Apparent Conflict of Interest

A fundraising event held for Rob Ford in 2011 created the appearance of "special access to the Mayor," says Lobbyist Registrar.

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In June 2011, a fundraising event for Mayor Rob Ford was held at the home of the Toronto Chapter Chair of BILD. BILD stands for “Building Industry and Land Development Association,” and it’s a registered lobbyist organization for, you guessed it, the building and land development industries. The organization happened to be in the midst of lobbying the City on a number of matters related to those industries when this event occurred.

In a report dated February 11, 2014, which will be considered by council on February 19, Lobbyist Registrar Linda L. Gehrke reviewed the case and determined that various factors “placed the Mayor in an apparent conflict of interest by creating the appearance of special access to the Mayor, a special relationship or a personal obligation by the Mayor to BILD”:

  • The event was held by BILD specifically for the mayor, and so that its members could meet him.
  • After the fundraiser, attendees received thank-you notes that made it clear BILD had seen it as part of a larger strategy to achieve its lobbying objectives at the City, which include the signage bylaw, the Sheppard subway extension, and the elimination of the land transfer tax.
  • BILD had lobbied Ford before the event and continued to do so afterward.
  • BILD collected personal contributions from attendees and then passed them on to the Ford campaign.

Gehrke does not recommend that BILD be sanctioned, as “political fundraising by lobbyists is a relatively new issue,” and the organization was fully cooperative with the inquiry. She does, though, present a number of other recommendations: BILD shouldn’t lobby the mayor or his staff until the end of this term, BILD should confer with the Lobbyist Registrar before planning political fundraisers, and the organization’s lobbyists should receive some additional training in the the Lobbying By-law and the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct.

Gehrke notes, though, that this will be the second report submitted to council that finds BILD has breached the Lobbying By-law. A 2012 report found that BILD had failed to register a 2010 “Meet the Mayoral Candidates” event for its members at which it lobbied then-deputy mayor Joe Pantalone and then-councillor Rob Ford.

Comments

  • Gordon Yarley

    Throw the damn book at these idiots. Fine them!

    • Dawna Tracey-Armstrong

      Jail them!!

  • Tedhealey

    We all know his response:

    “I didn’t read the manual!”

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    ‘Gehrke does not recommend that BILD be sanctioned, as “political fundraising by lobbyists is a relatively new issue,”‘

    Because the last thing we want is lobbyists thinking they’ll be punished for breaking the rules?

  • playtheguitar

    Rob Ford’s likely response: ‘What’s a lobbyist?’

    • Lasher500

      Hey, Pavlov, you scoring cookies over here too? You’re gonna get chubby wolfing down all dem dog treats.

  • Steven Eaton

    Now we know why Rob Ford blindly supports the subway when the majority of the population doesn’t. He is getting paid directly by the companies that will benefit from the larger dramatically more expensive construction option!

    • DavidPylyp

      Toronto needs MASS Transit and a HUGE investment in moving people. Growth will occur at the transit nodes.
      What source do you have that people do not support subways? Please cite the claim that Ford is getting paid.

      • dsmithhfx

        “a fundraising event for Mayor Rob Ford “

      • torontothegreat

        Protip: Read the f’n article before you comment!

        • vampchick21

          Words are hard.

      • ByronK

        Yet again, wrong. The growth predicted along the Sheppard line has not happened.

        • OgtheDim

          I would disagree.

          The growth predicted along that line did occur.

          But not because of the Sheppard line but because of the proximity to the 401 and the DVP and the 404.

          Nor did that growth result in massive amounts of people taking that line.

          • ByronK

            The point is the the growth fell well below what was predicted and those predictions were based on the theory that it would be driven by the subway which would be better utilized. Growth from other factors are irrelevant. The Sheppard line is a white elephant.

          • torontothegreat

            This was my observation also, I’d love to see if the city has collected any statistics to prove this point correct or not.

            People moved to that area in droves, the Sheppard line definitely made buying a condo more attractive as there is a premium for living so close to it.

            But I really don’t believe that it got people out of their cars.

      • DaveWilliamscheemissManana

        Can you read? From the article above.
        In a report dated February 11, 2014, which will be considered by council on February 19, Lobbyist Registrar Linda L. Gehrke reviewed the case and determined that various factors “placed the Mayor in an apparent conflict of interest by creating the appearance of special access to the Mayor, a special relationship or a personal obligation by the Mayor to BILD”:The event was held by BILD specifically for the mayor, and so that its members could meet him.

        After the fundraiser, attendees received thank-you notes that made it clear BILD had seen it as part of a larger strategy to achieve its lobbying objectives at the City, which include the signage bylaw, the Sheppard subway extension, and the elimination of the land transfer tax.

        BILD had lobbied Ford before the event and continued to do so afterward.

        BILD collected personal contributions from attendees and then passed them on to the Ford campaign.

  • Lord Thundering Jesus

    Man of the people? Yeah right.

    • Punned_It

      Well…some people…

  • DavidPylyp

    How much has Adam Vaughan collected from Builders and developers? How many other councillors have received sect 37 funds?

    • Johnson52

      Sect 37 funds go back to the city… not the councillors personal coffers… They go back to the communities that have allowed developers to go beyond the restrictions put into place re: building size, dimensions etc. Have you not learned by now to NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING ROB FORD says!! He is going on insane incoherent rants in council just go be heard as a voting strategy.. He has no concern over the well being and development over the City. He does not come prepared for council meetings, doesn’t attend any extra meetings and talks over the people that are and do attend and are prepared for the meetings.

      • DavidPylyp

        Correct and If Someone wants a 500 thousand dollar water fountain in Trinity Bellwoods Who overseas that spending? What about sidewalk business improvements. The money belongs to the CITY OF TORONTO and all the residents no one councillor.

        I am learning that the facts have little meaning here

        • A_Change_Has_Gotta_Come

          David, you are mistaken. The funds belong to the ward that is being negatively impacted by the city allowing developers to exceed height and or density restrictions. These moneys are put to good use to provide parks, community centres, etc. that allows residents in impacted wards to have similar amenities that other wards currently enjoy.

          • Lloyd_Davis

            Section 37 funds also provided Don Bosco’s football team with an upgraded locker room.

        • OpportKnocks

          The development agreement with the between the City and developer will specify the purpose of the s.37 money and can be as narrow or broad as they agree. I have seen some very broad wording that say the ward councillor and/or ratepayer group must be consulted, but most are project specific.

          Once the money is deposited, the authorization to spend is done through the annual Capital Budget and the work and expenditure is supervised by whatever department, frequently Parks and Recreation.

        • whatafoolbelieves

          David, if you review the 2014 Budget you will note A Vaughan had two amendments to it directing dedicated Section 37 funds for specific purposes the only ones who voted no to the amendements were V Crisanti, D Ford, R Ford and G Mammoliti for 100K in playground improvements at Ogden Public School (Acct220096) and D Ford, R Ford and G Mammoliti for 50K to the Factory Threatre (Acct 22096) as well as 2 amendments by J Filion and again the only ones voting no were D Ford R Ford and G Mammoliti on 265K+ Public Art in the North York Arts Park (Acct XR3036-300412) and 339K for a movie screen at Toronto Centre for the Arts (Acct XR3026-300028)….So you’ll note the vast majority of Council approved the use of those funds, there is nothing underhanded…

          • DavidPylyp

            “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket trying to lift himself up by the handles” Winston Churchill

          • dsmithhfx
          • OgtheDim

            WInston Churchill lost in 1945 to people that actually wanted to tax and spend and catch up to what the rest of the 1st World was doing at the time.

            If you don’t like health care….

          • torontothegreat

            When it comes to sound economic policy, the last person you want to be quoting is Sir Winston. He was an amazing wartime leader, but not an economic visionary at all. In fact he was quite horrible at it.

            “on the great economic questions of the day—unemployment, protection, recovery—he had little to say”

          • DaveWilliamscheemissManana

            “Taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society”. Oliver Wendell Holmes.

        • HotDang

          a 500 thousand dollar water fountain in Trinity Bellwoods

          If it sprays cheap wine and microbrews I think the community will be on board.

    • X_Mayor

      2 wrongs don’t make a right. You sound like Ford.

    • whatafoolbelieves

      Each and every Coucillor except Ward 1 (V Crisanti), Ward 8 ( A Peruzza) and Ward 31 (J Davis) has negotiated Section 37 for their ward….The numbers range from (as of 10/09/12 sorry I don’t have anything that is more up to date) Ward 12 (FDG) at 75K to Ward 20 (A Vaughan) at 51.5M, second Ward 23 ( J Filion) at 49.4M and third Ward 27 (K W-M) at 48.5M….

    • DaveWilliamscheemissManana

      If you think he’s broken the law, file a complaint. Until then, shut up.

    • Punned_It

      Section 37 has nothing to do with this – that goes to the city. The problem is that Ford accepted BILD funds for his campaign, and that BILD used the event to give members direct access to Ford.

  • Steven Eaton

    I think its also a conflict of interest for the mayor to declare a police investigation a waste of tax payer money when the investigation relates to his own crack smoking with drug gangs and the beatings and death of persons associated with the crack video.

    He also threatened to look into how much the police have spend on investigating him and expose it to the public. Clearly using his power as mayor to attempt to intimidate the police to stop investigating him.

    I believe the city council should take action on this matter. He should be removed from office for his code of conduct and conflict of interest violations.

    • X_Mayor

      If you wanted to list all the reasons he should be removed, you’d ware out your keyboard.

    • Punned_It

      If only he could be removed. He certainly has no shame, and no class.

  • baidi
  • Sugarlarry

    Rob Ford, always looking out for the little guy.