POLITICS
07/03/2014 01:29 EDT | Updated 07/04/2014 09:59 EDT

Rob Ford Net Worth Mystery: Mayor Repays Salary He Received During Rehab

Lucas Oleniuk via Getty Images
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 26: Mayor Rob Ford had a laugh during the City TV mayoral debate in Toronto. March 26, 2014. (Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has reimbursed the city for the salary he received during his two-month stay in a Muskoka rehab facility.

The mayor's office released a statement Wednesday saying he repaid every penny he received while getting help for his substance abuse issues at GreeneStone facility.

"Upon returning to office on Monday, one of the mayor's first acts was reimbursing the City of Toronto for the full salary he received while on leave," the statement read.

Toronto Sun reporter Don Peat wrote Wednesday that the mayor cut a cheque for $15,468.36 — "his net salary from May 1 until June 29."

Ford makes $177,499 a year as the mayor of Toronto, enough to land him on Ontario's so-called "Sunshine List" of public sector employees in the province earning more than $100,000.

Yet, the apparent ease with which Ford parted with $15,000 sparked chatter and debate online about his "regular guy" persona and will likely raise more questions about his net worth — which, despite what you may have read on the Internet, remains a total mystery.

Ford has built a political career on the notion that he is an "average" person taking on elitists and the establishment. At the launch of his re-election campaign in April, the mayor lashed out at "caviar Calvins" who disputed whether he could save taxpayers money.

But the Fords are certainly a well-off clan, thanks largely to the successful family business, Deco Labels and Tags Inc., based in Etobicoke. There are additional operations in New Jersey and Chicago.

The website Celebrity Net Worth projects Ford is worth $50 million — but there's no explanation for that figure.

However, The Globe and Mail's Greg McArthur did an extensive analysis of the family's assets back in November and concluded the mayor isn't exactly average.

According to the report, the Ford family has real estate holdings "worth more than $10-million" (with the mayor's Etobicoke home valued at $888,000) but because Deco is a private company, it does not have to disclose its profits and revenues.

"In 2010, when The Globe and Mail profiled the newly elected mayor, an industry publication showed Deco's annual sales were about $29-million. Since then, a Toronto Life profile of Rob Ford put that figure at $100-million, a number that one industry insider said seems quite high," McArthur wrote.

Two years ago, the mayor began driving a Cadillac Escalade, valued at anywhere between $63,000 and $80,000.

Doug Ford told The Toronto Star that he and his brother Randy bought the vehicle for the mayor as a birthday gift, but the mayor resisted.

"We showed up with the car, and he couldn't say no," Doug Ford said at the time. "He said, 'Hey, this isn't me.' I said, 'Well you have no choice, you’re driving it now.'"

But, curiously, Rob Ford told The Toronto Sun just days earlier he bought the car himself.

"I saved a lot of money for this," Rob Ford told the paper.

Of course, there are many who say the money Rob Ford made in his private life or inherited from his family is irrelevant to both his duties as mayor and re-election campaign.

But convincing low-income or otherwise marginalized voters to stick by him appears to be a key part of Ford’s re-election campaign.

"Together we will continue to challenge the elitists, the special interests and those who want to spend our hard-earned money without any consequence," Ford said at his launch.

And when John Tory announced he was running for mayor, Doug Ford, who is also the mayor's campaign manager, wasted no time attacking him as "one of the elites of the 1%."

Late last year, Doug Ford landed in some hot water after he was spotted handing out $20 bills at a public housing building.

"This is how rich people buy votes," tweeted Coun. Joe Mihevc.

Toronto voters head to the polls on October 27.

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