September 19, 2010

Rob Ford's libel suit

CANADA - Toronto mayoral candidate Rob Ford is being sued (or at least threatened with a lawsuit) because he believes there was corruption and favouritism in Toronto City Hall and that a Toronto businessman (and his family) got a 20-year exclusive vending rights contract with the city of Toronto without it being openly bid on.

In other words Rob Ford is making accusations of nepotism.

And the target of his accusations is the Foulidis family, in which Ford alleges they may have bribed a city politician to get a 20-year exclusive vending rights contract with the city in the Eastern Beaches.

George Foulidis (the pub owner who operates the Boardwalk Pub near Coxwell Avenue and Lake Shore) is now threatening a libel lawsuit against mayoral candidate Rob Ford, but Ford is refusing to back down because he believes Foulidis is a criminal.

George Foulidis says Ford made "false allegations against me and accuses me of being a criminal." He is demanding an apology and threatening to sue for damages. Ford's allegations "are unfounded, they're irresponsible, they're reckless, they are false, they are lies and with a political agenda," says Foulidis.

Ford made comments to the Toronto Sun newspaper in August about the city's renewed contract with Foulidis's company Tuggs Inc. to run the Boardwalk Pub.

Ford said the contract "stinks to high heaven" and "smacks of civic corruption."

But what if Rob Ford is correct in his allegations? What if there REALLY is corruption going on?

We (the Lilith News) don't really like Rob Ford and in fact the only thing we do like about his mayoral campaign is the Old Spice Parody of Rob Ford on YouTube. So yeah, we're definitely not voting for Rob Ford... we think he's an idiot.

But we still support Rob Ford in his right to Freedom of Speech and to stand up against corruption. As a mayoral candidate he has a civic duty to warn the public about criminal activity and corruption in Toronto City Hall.

Rob Ford says he is standing by his earlier statements that the lease deal was handled in an unaccountable way and was not transparent.

Legally Rob Ford is protected by three things: #1. Fair Comment. #2. Responsible Communication (ie. warning the public). #3. Privilege (a politician can say things that a reporter cannot).

And I'd like to point out one final thing... George Foulidis' lawsuit will do more damage to his business than anything Rob Ford said. All Rob Ford did was give his opinion and at the time nobody really paid attention to it. Taking it to court and demanding a public apology, well that just turned the topic into a media frenzy and did far more damage than anything else.

Our opinion? George Foulidis must not have very much business smarts. If he did he would have just ignored it and went on his merry way.

Meanwhile if George Foulidis was hoping to hurt Rob Ford's mayoral candidacy, we believe his intent failed miserably. If anything it has sealed the deal by making Rob Ford look like a candidate who will actually be tough on corruption (despite his own history of DUI and assault).

A Nanos Research survey of 1,021 Torontonians pegged support from decided voters at:

Rob Ford — 45.8%;
George Smitherman — 21.3%;
Joe Pantalone —16.8%;
Rocco Rossi — 9.7%;
Sarah Thomson — 6.4%.

Three of the left wing candidates would have to pull out of the mayoral race and support the remaining one (likely Pantalone or Smitherman) just to have a chance to beat Ford.

In the meantime we'd like to remind Torontonians to actually register to vote. You must register in advance to vote.

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