Politics
Audit shows Ford broke elections act

Credits: REUTERS

DON PEAT | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - Mayor Rob Ford's gravy train-derailing 2010 campaign broke the Municipal Elections Act, according to an audit of his books.

The long-awaited compliance audit on Ford's campaign by Froese Forensic Partners was released late Friday and concludes Ford breached the Municipal Elections Act and exceeded the authorized spending limit by $40,168 or 3%.

Mayoral candidates had a $1.3 million spending limit during the 2010 race.

Auditors concluded most of the over the limit spending was due to "unrecorded expenses and the reallocation of costs for certain events treated previously as fundraising costs."

The report also found "apparent contraventions in relation to contributions, campaign expenses and financial reporting" including $4,387 in interest relief from Doug Ford Holdings and Deco -- the Ford family firm, corporate donations that shouldn't have been accepted, an RV rented at less than fair market value and $5,805 in expenses incurred before Ford filed his nomination papers.

It will be up to the three-member compliance audit committee to determine on Feb. 25 whether the violations are serious enough to push ahead with a legal process that could lead to anything from a fine to Ford's ouster from office.

Coun. Doug Ford, who was his brother's campaign manager, was defending his brother before and after the audit came out Friday.

"What I'm saying is when we exceeded the limit by 3% (it) is because of the interpretation," Ford said.

Ford also slammed Fair Elections Toronto -- the group that pursued the audit of the mayor.

Toronto residents Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler and Max Reed who requested an audit of Ford's election campaign in 2011 called for Ford to be taken to court.

"Based on the extraordinary number and severity of the apparent contraventions of election law by Rob Ford, the applicants will be requesting the compliance audit committee proceed with prosecution in a timely manner," read the statement from their lawyer Heidi Rubin.

"The audit revealed more than 100 apparent contraventions of the Municipal Elections Act."

Mayor Ford spent most of Friday running away from reporters ahead of the audit's release.

"I haven't seen (the audit), I don't know, I can't comment on it," Ford said as he rushed away from a Toronto Fire graduation ceremony for new recruits. "I haven't seen any report yet so I can't comment on it but I fully co-operated with them."

Asked if he was confident his campaign did everything correctly, Ford said, "Absolutely."

--Files from Maryam Shah and Jenny Yuen

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