TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford has side stepped another potential legal scandal after a Compliance Audit Committee voted against prosecuting him Monday.
A forensic audit released Feb. 1 accused the mayor of over-spending by $40,168, or 3 per cent of the maximum stipulated by the Municipal Elections Act.
The audit specified over a dozen contrivances of the law made by Ford’s camp, ranging from wrongly attributed expenses to accepting corporate donations.
A three-person committee met Monday and voted against prosecuting the mayor.
Shortly after the decision, Ford faced the media and expressed his relief over the matter.
“I’m very pleased with compliant audit’s decision and happy the process is finally over,” said Ford. “It’s a great day for democracy, I’m happy the committee understands we ran a clean professional and above board campaign.”
Councillor Doug Ford, who was at his brother’s side during the press conference, also took to the mic stand to let his frustrations known about the constant attacks against the mayor.
“Why is it that they just focus on the right side of the council, why did they try to audit me?,” he said. “Why did they decide to audit another half a dozen people on our team, but not one person, if you want to call it this, this centre to left candidates never get touched.”
Lawyers representing Ford and complainant Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler met during a Compliance Audit Committee to argue their respective sides.
During the committee meeting, Ford’s lawyer Tom Barlow, suggested there was no “intentional misconduct” by the mayor’s campaign.
Barlow also said prosecuting the mayor was not in the public interest.
However, Heidi Rubin, the lawyer representing Chaleff-Freudenthaler, says the committee should implement a special prosecutor claiming there “must be some accountability” or campaign finance rules become “watered down and rendered meaningless.”
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti was also referenced during Monday’s session as he is facing his own penalties in regards to overspending during the 2010 campaign.
Barlow tried to differentiate Mammoliti’s case from Ford’s saying the allegations that Mammoliti overspent by 40 per cent are much more egregious than the mayor’s 3 per cent.