BUSINESS

Rob Ford Scandal: Financial World Not Concerned About 'Crack Video' Claims

05/24/2013 04:45 EDT | Updated 05/24/2013 07:26 EDT

While the Rob Ford crack video allegations have damaged the reputation of Toronto's mayor, it has had little impact on the city's finances so far.

The multinational credit rating firm Moody's reaffirmed the city's stable rating May 16, the same day Gawker first reported the allegations of a Rob Ford "crack video." The agency kept the city's rating at Aa1.

“I don’t really think the political circus matters, I think it’s really the fact that the funding of Toronto seems to be on a more stable basis,” John Braive, vice chairman at CIBC Global Asset Management, told Bloomberg News.

This is the 10th consecutive year Moody's has awarded the same rating to the city. The report noted the rating reflected Toronto's "low debt burden" and high liquidity levels while faced with "operating budget challenges" that other cities don't usually have to contend with, according to a city press release.

City budget chief Mike Del Grande said in the release Moody's report shows that Toronto "is on track to building a sustainable, affordable and well-managed city."

Toronto's net debt to total revenue ratio currently sits at 37 per cent, compared to Montreal's 97 per cent and an average of 65 to 70 per cent for other cities in Canada, Bloomberg reported.

According to Braive, the city's budget is on track.

“The budget looks like it’s under better control than it’s been for a number of years", he told Bloomberg News.

In a public statement Wednesday defending his brother against the crack cocaine allegations, Toronto city councillor Doug Ford cited the positive Moody's report as evidence of the mayor's "track record" of curbing "out of control spending" and turning "the fiscal ship of this city around."

Ford made his first public statement on the allegations Friday that there is a video of him smoking crack cocaine from a glass pipe, denying that he "used crack cocaine" or was a "crack cocaine addict." He also said he would not address a video "that I haven't seen or doesn't exist."

Twitter was quick to express its disapproval after Ford's statement. While local media has been largely critical of Ford's recent controversy, a recent study of global media coverage indicates that the scandal hasn't seriously affected the city's global reputation.

According to a report from Cormex Research, stories about the video ranked ninth in coverage of the city drawn from a sample of 29 international media outlets, and the mayor garnered only one per cent of coverage in the last year. The biggest draw was the Toronto International Film Festival, which generated nearly 30 per cent of global media attention.

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