Fords Helped Client of Family Business Lobby City for Contract
Internal document reveals that RR Donnelley has indeed subcontracted out work to Deco Labels.
Back in June, it was discovered that Mayor Rob Ford and his brother and campaign manager Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) had lent a helping hand to Chicago-based printing company RR Donnelley and Sons. They arranged meetings, for example, and made phone calls in order to connect Donnelley with those deciding who would get a contract to carry out a strategic review of the City’s in-house printing division. What the Fords didn’t do was inform City staff was that Donnelley was also involved in matters related to the Deco Labels and Tags, the Ford family business. At the time, Doug insisted that Donnelley has referred “zero” business to Deco.
But interviews with Deco employees and the contents of an internal company client list obtained by the Globe and Mail have revealed that Deco has indeed carried out work—including the printing of baggage tags—for Donnelly. And staff have indicated that employees, including the Ford brothers, get a commission when an order comes in.
Mayor Ford maintains that helping clients of his family business is entirely aboveboard—and the law does not demand that Rob or Doug make Deco’s client list public. The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act does require that councillors declare a conflict it they are voting on or speaking to a matter in which they have a financial interest—but Rob and Doug did not urge the benefits of Donnelley at council. “I help out everybody, said Mayor Ford during a recent scrum. “I help out everyone, and I’ve never [taken] one dime of taxpayers’ money. Just be careful what you write. I’ve never taken a dime of taxpayers’ money and I never will.”
Democracy Watch filed a complaint affidavit with the City’s integrity commissioner last month, asking that she investigate the Ford brothers’ “inside government lobbying.” Janet Leiper is currently looking into Fords’ efforts on behalf of both RR Donnelley and another company, Apollo Health and Beauty Care—and rival mayoral candidate John Tory is calling on Leiper to release publicly the results of her investigation before October’s election.