Here we go again: Rob Ford faces complaint over wasted city resources

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew
Mayor Rob Ford says there is no need to declare an emergency in Toronto at the moment.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is facing a formal complaint that he abused city resources by sending staff members off to run personal errands, as detailed in documents from a recent police investigation.

In short, nothing else has stuck to the Teflon Mayor, so it's time to drag him into another legal battle.

According to the Globe and Mail, Toronto resident Ray Fredette has filed a formal complaint with the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, claiming Ford broke the council code of conduct by misusing city resources.

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The complaint stems from a massive police investigation into Ford's apparent connection to drug dealers, which resulted in drug trafficking charges against his friend Alexander Lisi. Ford does not face any criminal charges from the investigation, and that is not the focus of this complaint.

The police documents include interviews with former staff members who claim Ford used them to run personal errands such as grocery shopping changing light bulbs and toy batteries and coaching his personal football team.

And there's the rub. Somewhat shrouded by the mushroom cloud of drug allegations, apparent underworld connections and police surveillance details that consumed city hall in 2013 were the tangible impact and daily squanderings that may have occurred during Ford's time hopping between "drunken stupors".

Frustration over the wasting of taxpayer dollars is what got Ford elected in the first place. This is an issue that Ford supporters should be frustrated about, although they probably won't be. It will be dismissed as another attack on the mayor by his enemies.

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There is a very clear routine – a well-oiled chain of events – that come from scandal and controversy at Rob Ford's city hall: Controversy, attention, denial, outrage, admission, ridicule, calm, legal action.

It has happened time and again since Ford was elected mayor in 2010. From the conflict of interest trial that, until it was overturned, had him removed from office, to complaints over Ford's election finances to an integrity investigation into comments made about Toronto's Medical Officer of Health.

Controversy leads to denial, denial leads to outrage. Outrage eventually subsides, often through a tacit admission of culpability, and when the dust settles and Ford is still standing, legal recourse is considered.

Hey, if a Ford opponent wants to launch a complaint over how Ford spends public money, that is fair game. But the result won't change the tenor; in fact it will likely harden the will of Ford supporters.

At this point, the narrative is set; voters have little doubt about who Ford is. The election has begun, and everything else is merely part of the campaign.