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.]