Controversial politician Rob Ford will remain the mayor of Toronto, after a three-judge divisional court panel rejected a previous court ruling.
A decision made public on Friday found that Justice Charles Hackland erred when he found that Ford breached the conflict of interest act when he debated and voted on a motion to force him to pay back $3,150 in questionable he collected for his private charity.
The ruling, posted online, states:
[W]e conclude that the application judge erred in finding that Mr. Ford contravened the MCIA. Accordingly, we would allow the appeal.
Ford told reporters on Thursday that he had been looking forward to learning the court’s decision.
"I believe in the judicial system and let’s hope for the best," Ford told reporters, according to CBC News.
The complaint was originally brought forward by private citizen Paul Magder and championed by seasoned litigator Clayton Ruby last year in connection to a series of donations collected for Ford's personal charity beginning in 2009, while Ford was a city councillor.
The debate stemmed from $3,150 in donations to Ford's football foundation that he raised by using city letterhead and, allegedly, his clout as a city councillor. The city's integrity commissioner found the money to have been collected inappropriately and ordered Ford to repay it.
Hackland ruled that Ford's decision to participate in a debate, then as mayor, over whether he should be forced to pay back that money constituted a conflict of interest punishable by expulsion from city hall.
Ford’s phoenix-like resurrection put an interesting twist on politics at city hall.
There will be a certain about of boot-licking now that he is out of the fire, and perhaps some level of conciliation on the part of the mayor.
Ford still faces a case into improper spending during his 2010 mayoral campaign, which could yet see him thrown from office. The Toronto Star reports that the audit into his finances is expected next week.
Friday’s ruling certainly accomplished one thing: it set city hall on a course to stability, something that has been perceived to be lacking for some time.