Mayor Ford Testifies in Conflict of Interest Case
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford faced an Ontario judge Wednesday to defend himself against a conflict of interest allegation that could see him kicked out of office.
The mayor - speaking in a packed Toronto courtroom - said he does not believe he violated any rules when he used his office resources to solicit donations for his private football foundation in 2010, when he was a city councillor.
The city's integrity commissioner found these actions violated the conduct code for councillors.
Some of the $3,150 received was from lobbyists who often did business with the city and the commissioner recommended Ford pay back the funds.
Prior to the council decision, Ford gave a passionate speech about his charity, which buys football equipment for at-risk high school students in Toronto.
Ford said that meeting was ``confusing'' and added that the city solicitor, who governs the proceedings, usually points out when a motion may be a conflict of interest for a councillor. This was not done at this meeting, he said.
If found guilty of violating the act, Ford could be ousted from office and barred from running for city council for seven years.
However, there's a chance the mayor could hold on to his seat even if found to be at fault, provided the judge finds that Ford made a mistake or experienced a lapse in judgment.
Lawyer Clayton Ruby, whose client filed the lawsuit, has argued Ford's conduct was ``flagrant and deliberate.''