Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford said he was shocked and floored when he found out he was named in a lawsuit filed by his late brother’s widow just days before the Ontario election, alleging he breached Rob Ford’s estate and denied money to his children.
“We’re shocked and I just want to let you understand and I hope our opponents understand, that this is about two children,” an emotional Ford said during a campaign stop in Toronto Tuesday morning.
“We’ll always be there, which we have been every single day, and also for their financial future. That will never change, ever.”
The lawsuit filed by Renata Ford seeks more than $16 million from Rob’s brothers, Doug and Randy Ford, alleging breach of trust as it relates to the management of her husband’s estate. The suit also claims the loss of millions of dollars in the running of the family business, Deco Toronto.
Rob Ford, who had two children, died on March 22, 2016, after a lengthy battle with a rare form of cancer.
According to the statement of claim, it’s alleged – among other claims — that Doug failed to administer Rob’s estate, sold Rob’s shares in a family business for “nominal consideration” and withheld assets “in an attempt to keep his misconduct secret.”
The lawsuit also said the Ford family’s business suffered financial losses between 2010 and 2017 when Doug and Randy had control of the company.
The document goes on to say that after Doug Sr. died, Doug and Randy arranged to receive “very significant compensation” from the Deco Companies, including “extravagant” salaries, bonuses, travel and car allowances.
Martin Henderson, one of two lawyers representing the plaintiff, told Global News in an email statement that they will not be making any public statements about this matter.
VIDEO: Claims that Deco is struggling financially categorically untrue, Ford says
The allegations have not been proven in court.
“Those claims are false and without merit. I can tell you this is going to be proven in court,” Ford rebuked on Tuesday.
“We have an incredible company for 55 years. I’m proud of it.”
The PC leader also said he has always supported Renata and his late brother’s two children and doesn’t understand why these allegations are coming out just days before the provincial election.
“I’d do anything for those kids and it’s heartbreaking she wants to go down this avenue with three days before the election and as her lawyers say, ‘pay up or we’ll go to the media?’ I’ll leave it up to the public to decide that,” he said.
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During a campaign stop in Brampton on Tuesday, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said a lawsuit accusing Doug Ford of mishandling the estate of his late brother raises questions about his lack of a fully costed platform.
“If these accusations are the case, then one would ask the question about why he isn’t putting a fully costed platform forward,” Horwath said.
“If his business dealings have been unsuccessful, what would we expect then for a premier who refused to be upfront and transparent and honest about the cuts he’s planning on making or the fiscal plan he has in mind.”
The Tory leader defended his party’s decision last week to quietly release a compilation of campaign promises on its website without saying how they’d be paid for.
Ford has promised to hire an auditing firm and find billions of dollars in “efficiencies” if elected premier, but the PC plan doesn’t indicate what those would be.
VIDEO: Doug Ford ‘can’t figure out’ where Renata Ford lawsuit ‘came from’
Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne told reporters at a campaign event in Toronto on Tuesday that it would be fair to ask Ford to release audited financial statements on how his company is run to prove to the public he has the business acumen to lead the province of Ontario.
LISTEN: Kathleen Wynne joins The Morning Show on Global News Radio 640 Toronto
“He needs to be open about the situation with his business because if this is the credential he is running on, that he’s a businessman, and he knows how to run a business and somehow that qualifies him to be the premier of Ontario, and if that’s under question, because there really isn’t anything else that he says qualifies him or that we can see qualifies him — he better be clear about the business,” Wynne said.
“So I think it’s perfectly legitimate that he be asked to lay out exactly how he’s run the business and how it’s going.”
— With files from Nick Westoll and The Canadian Press