Rob Ford’s financial woes march one step closer to serious trouble

Rob Ford’s financial woes march one step closer to serious trouble

For once it’s not the City of Toronto that’s in bookkeeping trouble. When news about Rob Ford’s campaign finance shenanigans first broke, we said that the audit process would push forward slowly as the allegations moved to a greater and greater level of public attention and political risk for the mayor. But that same process took another step toward “legally serious” on Friday, when a three-person panel voted unanimously to appoint an independent auditor to comb over Ford’s campaign books. In particular, the auditor will be charged with investigating what role Doug Ford Holdings (DFH) played in funding Ford’s run—and given that corporate donations are illegal in Toronto’s mayoral race, things could get rather serious, rather fast (or, at least, faster than expected).

According to the Globe and Mail:

DFH, whose four shareholders include the mayor, his two brothers Randy and Doug, and their mother, paid for several costly expenses early in the race, including Mr. Ford’s kick-off event at the Toronto Congress Centre.

According to documents prepared by Mr. Barlow, the campaign repaid the $77,722.31 owed to the firm on March 25, 2011, which was also the date when the campaign organization reimbursed Mr. Ford himself for the $200 nomination fee.

If he so desires, Ford has 15 days to appeal the audit. But that would look a bit odd considering what he told reporters only a week ago (“They can go through it with a fine-tooth comb, I followed the rules”). It would also look odd for the mayor to go to the courts to stop the legal machinery that’s designed to ensure a transparent election process, given that he’s been one of the loudest voices urging that same machinery to unseat Maria Augimeri in Ward 9.

Full audit of Ford’s campaign expenses ordered [Globe and Mail]
Audit ordered into Mayor Ford’s campaign financing [Toronto Star]
Ford’s election campaign to undergo audit [Toronto Sun]