Read through Edward Keenan’s article in The Grid yesterday, Troubled by the mayor’s apparent rule bending?, and tell me something there doesn’t ‘stink to high heaven’. I don’t care if you are an ardent supporter of Mayor Ford or not. Something’s just not right with that picture.
…in June 2011, half a year after the election, while Ford was the sitting mayor, he attended a party in the home of Robert DeGasperis, who is president of a development company called Metrus Properties. Doug Ford, the chair of Build Toronto, the city agency that sells public real estate to developers, also attended. We do not know who else was there or what was discussed. The result of that meeting was that an envelope containing $25,000 in cheques from 10 donors was passed from DeGasperis to former premier Mike Harris, and on to Ford’s campaign to help settle his outstanding election debt.
The same week, Paul Golini, an executive with developer Empire Communities, had a Ford fundraiser in his home that was attended by the mayor and about 40 members of BILD, the Toronto developers’ association. The $2,450 catering bill was picked up by a former CEO of BILD. Those at the party gave the mayor’s campaign $19,500.
Earlier that month, yet another private party was held for the mayor at Harbour 60 restaurant. We don’t know who attended, and we don’t know what they discussed. The tab for the 28 people in attendance came to just over $9,000, and was picked up by the owners of the restaurant. After meeting with the mayor, guests at the event saw fit to donate $27,000 to his long-finished campaign.
So in June 2011, as outlined in the audit report, a bunch of unknown people, many of whom appear to be developers, gave a total of $71,500 to retire Rob Ford’s outstanding campaign debt after private meetings with him. That was the same month that Ford proposed a massive selloff of TCHC properties and killed the Jarvis bike lanes. It was during the period when Doug Ford was shaping his proposal to radically change and speed up the plan to develop the Port Lands. It was the same period when Ford was studying how to get the private sector involved in building subways.
As Mr. Keenan points out, no one’s laid a glove on the mayor about this so far, the audit report only suggests ‘apparent violations of rules’. These will be hashed out in further detail at the February 25th Compliance Audit Committee meeting. The optics, though, scream a Rob Ford scream of outrage.
Trace the pattern.
A candidate mulling over a run for the mayor’s office takes a flyer, goes into debt to finance their campaign with the hope that, once victorious, the hole can be filled by supporters wanting to be helpful. I imagine nothing opens hearts and wallets like access to a newly installed mayor. I would’ve loved to chip in earlier but, you know, I was hedging my bets.
But please. Envelopes stuffed with cheques? $9000 restaurant tabs picked up by the owner? Fundraisers at the home of the executive of a development company?
And before you get all m’eh on me, shrug your shoulders and insist it happens all the time, everybody plays the game, don’t. Just don’t. It’s a fucking cop out.
I am so sick of the response coming from the mayor’s defenders to any accusation made about his seeming nonchalance toward adhering to laws, rules, regulations, guidelines that it’s nothing new. Municipal politicians before him did it. Municipal politicians coming after him will do it. It’s no big deal. It’s the way the world works. Move along, nothing to see here.
David Miller did [fill in alleged wrongdoing here] too.
Well firstly, prove it. You can’t just brush everything off with a wink and a knowing nod of the head signifying that there are lots of bodies buried if you know where to look for them. Casting baseless assertions that sully everyone who’s ever run for office. It’s lazy and it’s cynical. If all politicians are corrupt in one way or the other, why bother trying to change anything, why bother getting involved? A pox on all their houses. I’m going to watch the How I Met Your Mother marathon. (Do we not know the answer to that yet?)
It’s a convenient embrace of apathy that makes no demands on those in public office and even less on citizens.
Regardless of whether or not Mayor Ford violated any campaign financing rules, there has to be a better way for politicians to run for office that precludes accepting envelopes stuffed with legal currency and depending on moneyed special interests to turn your bottom line red to black. How could that not be a corrupting influence? It’s the very definition of backroom deals politicians like the mayor rail about. We should all be irate, and not just at Rob Ford but the whole system that could allow him (and any others who play like that) to operate on such a shady level. It makes every one of their political motives and actions suspect.
And if you don’t find that at all troublesome, you just don’t give a flying fuck about democracy.
– indignantly submitted by Cityslikr