NEWS

Ford's legal costs should not be paid by 'ordinary taxpayer'

02/25/2013 03:10 EST | Updated 04/27/2013 05:12 EDT
The man who brought a conflict-of-interest case against Rob Ford should not have to cover the mayor's legal costs because he was acting in the "public interest," his legal team says.

Lawyers for Toronto resident Paul Magder filed documents on Monday with the Divisional Court regarding legal costs in response to Ford's submission last week.

The mayor's lawyers had said that Magder should have to pay for the roughly $120,000 in legal fees, after Ford won his appeal in a Divisional Court. But Magder's lawyers argue he should be exempt, because he was "acting in the public interest."

"It would be an embarrassment to the administration of justice if a government official were awarded costs against an ordinary taxpayer in a public interest case that was brought in complete good faith, particularly when the statute demands that a taxpayer — and only a taxpayer — can bring this important public issue before the courts," the documents say.

In November, an Ontario Superior Court justice ordered Ford removed from office for voting on a council motion that would have allowed the mayor to avoid repaying $3,150 in donations to his football charity.

A Divisional Court overturned that ruling in January. A three-judge panel agreed with arguments made by Ford’s lawyers that council never had the power to compel the mayor to pay back the donations.

Magder's legal team says forcing their client to pay the six-figure award would be "devastating."

"The Respondent is an ordinary, hard-working individual," the documents read." He could not afford such an award."

They argue that Ford "will likely be no worse off financially if he doesn't recover his costs," as the city's insurance policies and indemnification policies will compensate him.

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