Coun. Doug Ford says his brother is an honest, genuine man who “obviously made a mistake” and is now paying consequences that are politically motivated rather than served by justice.

Ford defended younger brother Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in an exclusive sit-down interview with CP24 Monday evening.

He said council’s left-leaning faction was against the mayor from day one and did what they could to bring him down.

“It is clear my family is being ganged up on,” he said during the live interview held inside the Ford family home.  “We said it would happen as soon as he was elected. They can’t go after his policies because they’re great so they are going after him personally.”

Ford was legally removed from office Monday morning after a judge ruled he acted with “willful blindness” when he didn’t declare a conflict of interest on a particular council vote. The vote was based on whether Ford should have to pay back $3,150 in donations he solicited for his private football foundation using official city letterhead.

Ford has since said he would appeal the decision and failing that, would put the matter into the hands of voters by running in a byelection.

“He obviously made a mistake, he regrets that mistake in voting,” Doug Ford said. “Absolutely the sentence is harsh but we will let the people of Toronto decide.”

Ford went on to list the many accomplishments of his younger brother, and pointed out that the football foundation that was the subject of the conflict of interest vote supports underprivileged kids.

“Rob has raised thousands (of dollars) over the years,” he said. “He has started 10 football programs in high priority neighbourhoods.”

“Rob would give the shirt off his back for a person on the street,” he said.

Doug Ford also pointed out that his brother has made himself available to voters in a way few other politicians have.

“Rob is the most unique politician I’ve ever seen,” he said. “He’ll give out his home phone number, he’ll meet with people, he’s down to earth. He’s not phony.”

‘Canadians vote for their mayor, judges don’t’

Doug Ford said he was in a budget committee when he heard the news. Someone pulled him out of the meeting to tell him and he was in shock.

“I went over the decision with my brother and it was shocking to say the least. I was shocked. We live in a democracy. Canadians vote for their mayor, judges don’t.,” he said.

Ford said his family is trying to stay focused despite the controversy and the negative attention from their colleagues on council.

“They’re coming after us but we’re going to continue moving forward,” he said. “We are determined to do that.”