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Rob, Doug Ford face conflict of interest complaint

10/03/2014 04:34 EDT | Updated 12/03/2014 05:59 EST
Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug have been served with a conflict of interest complaint over alleged crossovers between their city hall and private business dealings.

Activist Jude MacDonald filed the application with an Ontario Superior Court on Friday. It concerns debates and votes that allegedly relate to clients of the Ford family business, Deco Labels & Tags, a label company with offices in Etobicoke and Chicago. Named in the application are Nestlé Canada Inc., Cara Operations, Porter Airlines and others.

MacDonald said she reviewed the minutes of council meetings, became concerned there was a conflict of interest, and contacted lawyers.

Similar allegations were made by a former Deco employee in the Globe and Mail earlier this year. Those surrounded a printing company, RR Donnelley and Sons, and allegations of lobbying municipal staff to take over some city printing business, supposedly with the help of the Fords. There was some benefit to the Fords, it's claimed, with the referral of business.

Ford on Friday called the latest allegations a "political witch hunt" since MacDonald has made complaints about the Fords previously and sits in protest outside the office of the mayor.

He said the application was frivolous and it clogs up the courts.

"Doug says what Doug says," said MacDonald in response. "He's been attacking me since 2012."

The Fords have 20 days to respond to the application in court, though the application could take years to make it to court.

In 2011, Toronto resident Paul Magder filed an application in an Ontario court alleging that Rob Ford had violated conflict of interest legislation when he participated in a council vote that absolved his need to pay back funds donated to his private football foundation. It took till 2013 to go through the courts and appeal system.

The Fords appear to view this latest complaint as an extension of larger political battle.

"This person has been part of a campaign to discredit the mayor," said Jeff Silverstein, Ford's campaign manager.

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