Rob Ford OUT as Mayor
Rob Ford is no longer the mayor of Toronto.
Ford was booted from office after being found guilty in a conflict of interest case against him.
It all started when Ford was a city councillor and had solicited donations for his Football Foundation using City of Toronto letterhead.
Since that's against the rules, in August of 2010, council and city integrity commissioner Janet Leiper suggested the mayor pay back the 31 hundred dollars raised, out of his own pocket.
But when the mayor took part in a council vote on February 7th, 2012, that rescinded that suggestion, a complaint was lodged by Toronto resident Paul Magder.
During the trial Ford argued that he didn't understand the conflict of interest rules, and had he known he was in the wrong, he wouldn't have voted.
He even admitted to never reading the Conflict of Interest Act.
Justice Charles T. Hackland said because the decision means changes to the administration in the City of Toronto, the decision will be suspended for a period of 14 days.
In his judgement, Hackland said, "In view of the respondent's leadership role in ensuring the integrity in municipal government, it is difficult to accept an error in judgement defence based essetntially on a stubborn sense of entitlemeny (concerning his football foundation) and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the Integrity Commissioner and the Code of Conduct. In my opinion, the respondent's actions were characterized by ignorance of the law and a lack of diligence in securing professional advice, amounting to wilful blindness. As such, I find his actions are incompatible with an error in judgement.
In summary, I find that the respondent has failed in his burden to show that his contraventions of the MCIA were the result of a good faith error in judgement".
He went on to say, "For the reasons set out above, I have concluded that the respondent contravened s. 5 of the MCIA when he spoke and voted on a matter in which he had a pecuniary interest at the meeting of Toronto City Council on February 7th, 2012, and that his actions were not done by reason of inadvertance or a good faith error in judgement. I am, therefore, required by s. 10(1)(a) of the MCIA to declare the respondent's seat vacant. In view of the significant mitigating circumstances surrounding the respondent's actions, set out in paragraph 48 of these reasons, I decline to impose any further disqualification fron holding office beyond the current term.
Accordingly, I declare the seat of the respondent Robert Ford, on Toronto City Council, vacant."
There are a number of things that could happen now. First, is Ford's possible next steps. He can appeal, but he must request a stay of the decision to stay on as Mayor. That would then move the case onto a three judge panel, who can uphold the original decision, order a new trial, or come to their own decision.
Second, council will be in charge when it comes to selecting a new leader of the city. They have two options to do this: They could call a by election or they could appoint a new mayor. That person does not have to be a member of council.
Newstalk1010's legal experts say it appears Ford will be able to run again, if there is a by election called.
Ford says he will appeal the decision.