Toronto Mayor John Tory says his involvement in resolving the ongoing battle for control of Rogers Communications, his former employer, always occurs in his “spare time” and that “the city always comes first.”

Tory told CP24 that he was once asked by Rogers founder Ted Rogers “to help look after his family and try to keep them in a position where they could have a good business going and keep thousands of people employed in the city of Toronto.”

So he has in recent weeks held and attended several meetings to mediate the dispute between Rogers’ son Edward, his mother, two of his sisters and senior company executives, over who actually controls the nearly $30 billion company.

“In my spare time really I have been to a couple of meetings and I try to settle something down that I think would be in the best interest of thousands of people who work for the company not to mention their customers,” he said.

When asked if he should be doing so while also leading Canada’s largest city, Tory said his duty to the city is always number one.

“If I was doing anything, in any meeting on any subject, if I was doing anything in my spare time and something came up that required my attention for the city, the city always comes first. People know that.”

He said the fact that he accepts television interviews regularly at 6:30 a.m. is proof of his work ethic.

“I am sitting here at my desk at 6:30 in the morning talking to you on television. I think people know that my work ethic is pretty well developed,” he said.

Citing Tory’s comments to CP24 late Tuesday night, Martha Rogers – one of Ted Rogers’ daughters – disputed his claim that the meetings only take up his free time and said a meeting last week took up the better part of a day.

“Tory says work to mediate Rogers dispute occurs in his 'spare time' − Actually no, that’s not the truth, John,” she tweeted. “We were there 9-10 hours, outside of you leaving for 45 mins to do a press conference. Unless the Mayor has Thursdays off…? #EdRogersSaga”

A spokesperson for Tory could not immediately be reached late Tuesday to respond.

Tory worked for Rogers in its early days in the 1970s and was CEO of Rogers Media in 1995, and later CEO of Rogers Cable in 1999.

The ongoing battle between Edward Rogers and the other members of his family has been the subject of numerous stories in the financial press, with Martha Rogers actively commenting on it  via her Twitter account.

“Rarely do they play themselves out in the media this way. That’s not helpful,” Tory said. “I think Mr. Rogers would be heartbroken.”