Libel case against Rob Ford dismissed
It's a legal victory for Rob Ford.
The $6-million defamation lawsuit against the mayor of Toronto has been thrown out of court.
Ontario Superior Court Justice John Macdonald has ruled that the suit filed by Boardwalk Pub owner George Foulidis, didn't meet the "essential aspects" of a libel claim.
In his 15-page decision, Macdonald says Foulidis didn't prove that Ford's comments to the Toronto Sun editorial board in 2010 were directed at him or that they were defamatory.
Foulidis sued Ford, alleging that the then mayoral candidate had suggested a sole-sourced, untendered, 20-year lease deal between Foulidis's company, Tuggs Inc. & the city was corrupt &"stinks to high heaven".
Speaking with Joe Warmington as he guest-hosted Newstalk 1010's Friendly Fire, Foulidis' lawyer says he's still digesting the decision. Brian Shiller says Foulidis' team presented their case in a very straightforward manner& the judge felt the facts didn't support their point of view.
Rob Ford has released a statement:
"I welcome today’s decision by the Court to dismiss the Foulidis lawsuit against me. I will continue fighting to represent the best interests of Toronto taxpayers at City Hall. There is still a lot of work to be done and I will continue to focus on this."
Foulidis has 30 days to file an appeal but as of Thursday night, no decision had been made about whether he will.
The Boardwalk Pub owner argued in court that his reputation had been hurt by Ford's comments.
In the ruling, Justice Macdonald suggests a reasonable person wouldn't have linked them to Foulidis, rather than the company. The judge also points out that Ford didn't know Foulidis by name.
Justice Macdonald has some harsh words for George Foulidis in his ruling, saying that he had "attempted to mislead" the court "about his past fraudulent conduct". Macdonald writes that he was left with "serious doubt about the credibility and reliability of his testimony".
Brian Shiller didn't want to comment on the judge's words with an appeal still possible but he did leap to his client's defence. He says Foulidis is a "hard-working, honest businessman" who "has taken a lot of cheap shots" in recent years. Shiller says describing the Boardwalk Pub agreement as a "cushy deal" just isn't true.
Despite the win, the mayor's legal woes aren't over. An appeal of a conflict of interest ruling that has Ford on his way out as mayor will be heard January 7th. A forensic audit his campaign expense is also expected next month.
Read the judge's full decision here.
(With files from the Canadian Press)