Ford accuser shouldn't pay Ford's legal fees – but neither should Ford
The actions by Rob Ford that led to the lawsuit against him are the fault of Rob Ford. The law is clear that a councillor is not permitted to vote on an issue when the income will have a direct impact on his or her personal interests. This means that Paul Magder was within his rights to take Ford to court. He should not be responsible for covering more than $100,000 of the Mayor's legal fees.
The truth is, this lawsuit had little to do with the integrity of our political system. It was a cynical ploy by a man who felt Rob Ford was either unqualified and/or unsuitable for the office of Mayor. So concerned that Ford would destroy the public service and progressive direction of this city, the Mayor’s enemies hinged their bets that a technicality could get him booted from office. Ironically, it was a technicality that saved the Mayor's hide: a ruling that the vote Ford took part in should never have occurred in the first place.
It seems unfair that a man who was ultimately acquitted should be forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars out of his own pocket for his defense costs. Council has already decided that the city should at least be partially on the hook for lawsuits involving its members. So, seeing as this suit involved Ford is his capacity as a councillor, taxpayers should be the ones paying up. Indeed, a city lawyer has already stated that the Mayor can apply for a reimbursement.
By asking his opponent to cover the costs instead, Ford scores a double victory. He gets to show taxpayers that he won't ding them for the costs – plus he gets to exact his revenge. Let’s see whether yet another court will keep Ford's streak running.