Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby
Credits: DAVE ABEL/QMI AGENCY
TORONTO - In his best imitation of a civil rights lawyer yet, The Great Man told court Thursday Mayor Rob Ford "wilfully" and "defiantly" disrespected the municipal conflict of interest rules during a council meeting back in February.
Clayton Ruby - in a rambling, repetitive submission that reeked of an almost visceral disdain for the mayor - said Ford's participation in a vote to rescind a 2010 council decision ordering him to repay $3,150 in donations to his kid's football foundation is "part of a pattern of deliberate indifference.
"This man thinks he can do what he wants when he wants without regards to the rules," contended the Great Man, while Ford sat there stone-faced.
In fact, The Great Man puffed, the mayor admitted in his testimony that he speaks to everyone he meets about his football foundation - and even went so far as to solicit a donation from him, Clayton Ruby, when he gave his initial testimony on June 28.
Ford's lawyer, Alan Lenczner, reminded Ruby that it was he, not Ford, who invited him to donate.
But that little interlude speaks to character. Ruby's not Ford's.
Why not give just $100 and be a mensch? After all, it probably represents about one-seventh of his hourly rate.
Instead he used the exchange from June 28 to score cheap political Brownie points.
But I digress.
The Great Man accused Ford of failing to read the municipal Conflict of Interest Act and of either not getting legal advice or if he did, ignoring it.
Ruby contended that the mayor even exchanges his city of Toronto business card with potential donors to his foundation, proving, by extension, that he had a pecuniary interest in the $3,150 at the heart of this case.
"He (Ford) is driven by stubbornness and a righteous belief that the cause is worth the risk," pronounced The Great Man.
Horror of horrors.
Lock up the mayor now and throw away the key - for his, uh, crimes against humanity and for being tenacious about what he believes in.
The usual suspects sat there licking their chops for two days and lusting for more - the Twitterati, the leftist bloggers, the complainant Paul Magder and his partner in crime, that Tubby Little Twerp and the union's best friend, Adam Chaleff-Freundenthaler.
If Ruby and Co. wanted to prove the mayor doesn't do his homework, doesn't understand nuance, can be awfully stubborn and that they are smarter, more articulate, wear suits better, love culture, drink wine and mingle with the A listers - they did that.
Of course we already knew that.
We know that Ford is tenacious. We know he is a lone wolf.
We know that he has mind of his own, but then so did David Miller. He was just smoother about it.
We also know that Ford has been the only mayor during my time at City Hall with the guts to take on the powerful unions.
We know that has poked the downtown crowd in the eye not just with his win over George Smitherman two years ago but with his attempts to cut off their public teat-sucking.
Long-time lawyer Gary Clewley said while there's a "kernel of legitimacy" to the case, there's no proof these guys "didn't act out of altruism.
"The money went for helmets and jock straps," he said.
Clewley said this is nothing but an effort to "unseat" Ford because they think he's vulnerable.
"This is the revenge of the Annex," he said.
If The Great Man wants to talk about patterns, let's talk about the pattern of bullying and non-stop harassment of Ford virtually from the moment he became councillor by council's left-wing, that poor excuse for an Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper and their friends in the left-wing media, most especially the Toronto Star.
No wonder Ford paid Leiper no mind.
She has made mockery of her role at City Hall.
Still, let's ask who is the greater fool?
A man who wastes $40,000 worth of court time according to Clewley (two days X $20,000) on a frivolous, vexatious case to get even with a man who doesn't fit with his elitist image of a mayor?
Or a man, who as his lawyer Lenczner so articulately stated, is "not motivated by pecuniary interest" and didn't believe the conflict of interest rules applied in this situation because his foundation has nothing to do with city business.
"He has a principle and he sticks to his principle," Lenczner said of Ford. "He may not have articulated it well."
In other words, Ford's fate is not to be decided by this poor excuse for a lynching or his leftist inquisitors.
Let's leave that to the court of public opinion in two years time.