Ford set to testify in defamation case later this week
Chris Fox, cp24.com
Published Wednesday, November 14, 2012 12:35PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 14, 2012 5:59PM EST
An audio recording of comments Rob Ford made to the editorial board of the Toronto Sun has been located and could be entered into evidence in a $6-million defamation lawsuit, a University Avenue courtroom heard Wednesday.
Boardwalk Cafe owner George Foulidis says his reputation was sullied when Ford told the Sun that a deal to extend the restaurant’s lease of public land without entertaining other offers "stinks to high heaven."
Ford made the comments in 2010 during his mayoralty campaign.
A tape of the interview, had not previously been available but on Wednesday morning, Foulidis's lawyer Brian Schiller informed Judge John Macdonald that it does exist and that he expected to receive a copy by Thursday.
Court previously heard that the tape had been deleted and all written notes detailing the interview thrown out, but on Wednesday Schiller said former Sun editor Rob Granatstein recently discovered that he had a tape and informed him through a lawyer for the Sun Tuesday night.
The tape could help settle the debate over what exactly Ford told the Sun.
The mayor has previously denied telling the paper that a deal to extend the lease "smacks of civic corruption.” The comments were paraphrased in the original article and were not put in quotes.
Foulidis continues testimony
As lawyers for both sides await the opportunity to hear the comments for themselves, testimony by Foulidis continued on Wednesday.
Speaking about the impact Ford’s comments had on him personally, Foulidis told the courtroom that he “felt humiliated,” saying the story had a different effect on him than previous stories which also questioned the process through which council extended his lease for 20 years.
“It was fine when it talked about my lease, but this article was talking about corruption,” he said. “It was a different ball game.”
At one point during his testimony, Foulidis fought off tears as he recalled his daughter asking him about the story and if he had done anything wrong.
Asked how he felt on that day, Fouldis said “worse than I feel right now.”
During cross-examination, Ford’s lawyer Gavin Tighe suggested the restaurant owner’s reputation may have been previously tarnished when he was named in a 2005 lawsuit alleging he completed a “fraudulent transaction” while in charge of his parents’ assets.
“Despite your claim that your reputation was sterling, a court of appeal found that you and your family participated in a fraudulent transaction,” Tighe said.
“That's what the court said. That's a finding of the court,” Foulidis replied.
Testimony is expected to continue throughout the day with Ford expected to take the stand in his defence later this week.
Tighe has previously contended that Ford’s comments were not libelous because they were made about Foulidis’s company Tuggs Inc. and not Foulidis himself.
"Corporations can't have hurt feelings," he told court Tuesday.
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