Ford testifies in defamation lawsuit
Chris Fox, cp24.com
Published Friday, November 16, 2012 5:15AM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 16, 2012 7:50PM EST
An audio recording of comments Rob Ford made to the editorial board of the Toronto Sun was heard in court today, as a $6 million defamation lawsuit against the mayor continued.
Boardwalk Cafe owner George Foulidis is claiming that his reputation was sullied when Ford told the Sun that a deal to extend his restaurant’s lease of public land without entertaining other offers "stinks to high heaven.”
The interview was conducted with the Sun’s editorial board during Ford’s 2010 mayoralty campaign.
On the tape Ford is heard saying “If Tuggs isn't an example of corruption; I don't know what is.”
After hearing an audio recording of the tape Friday, Ford said he found it to be “accurate”, though he added that he can’t say for sure that Tuggs Inc. acted improperly.
“I've always said I want the police to investigate but no one can do anything because of this trial,” he said.
Upon further questioning, Ford clarified that he isn't suggesting he'll request police investigate at the conclusion of his defamation trial.
Ford on stand
Ford’s lawyer Gavin 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.
On the stand Friday, Ford said he didn’t even know who owned Tuggs Inc. when he made the comments.
"I wasn't aware 100 percent. I've heard the name,” he said. “I didn't connect the two.”
In his cross examination of Ford, Foulidis's lawyer Brian Shiller suggested that by mentioning that someone one could have went to jail over the Boardwalk Pub deal Ford was implicating his client.
“A company wouldn't go to jail if an investigation ensued,” he said. “It's the person or people behind it.”
“It doesn’t have to be the person who owns the company,” Ford replied. “There are many different variables.”
The original Sun article also paraphrased Ford as saying that the deal to extend the Boardwalk Pub’s lease smacked of “civic corruption.”
Speaking in his defence, Ford said those comments were in reference to the in-camera meeting held to make that decision.
"Not following process is corrupt," he said. “If a couple of politicians went to jail it would end scandals at city hall.”
Ford was originally expected to testify on Thursday, but told Judge John Macdonald that he was not available.
Ford was eventually spotted on the sidelines Thursday as his Don Bosco Eagles won an important high school football playoff game.
His testimony is expected to continue through Friday afternoon.
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