A combative Mayor Rob Ford is challenging city councillors to call an election rather than trying to strip him of his powers and budget.
“If they want me out they should just call a snap election,” he said during an impromptu phone-in appearance on 640 AM Monday morning.
“I’m willing to go to the polls right now.”
Because council is orchestrating a coup d’etat and “trampling on democracy,” Ford said he has no choice but to go to court.
“It’s completely illegal what they’re doing,” he told host John Oakley.
“What else am I supposed to do . . . sit here and let these guys pound me for saving money? That’s all it comes down to and trying to embarrass me and have the police chief come out there and just try to embarrass me,” he said.
“If I was doing all this illegal stuff that they’re alleging they would have charged me.” Ford added he was fully aware that he was under surveillance.
He said most of what was in the court documents is irrelevant, such as photos showing him urinating in a park.
And he blamed former “disgruntled employees” for “making outright lies about me doing coke and having escorts, which I clarified pretty quickly.”
He reiterated he is not addicted to booze or drugs.
Ford said the court battles he has fought in the past have already cost him close to $ 500,000 and he’s warning it’s going to cost taxpayers “a fortune” to defend council’s actions.
He said councillors are motivated to act not because of his behaviour but because he has cut their ability to spend money and take trips.
CNN interviewed Councillor Karen Stintz Monday morning about the council vote. The network spent the morning airing a taste of a longer Rob Ford piece it will broadcast Monday night.
“The mayor doesn’t understand the issues . . . his inability to adhere to the laws that govern the rest of us,” Stintz said in explaining why council was voting to remove his powers.
“He continues to lie, continues to deny.”
When CNN asked Stintz why council didn’t just ignore Ford instead of feeding his love of publicity, she replied:
“We tried to ignore him for three years. We are no longer able to turn a blind eye. We do have a city to run.”
Radio host Oakley asked Ford about a much-criticized appearance of his wife, Renata, at city hall on the day he apologized for making lewd remarks in a scrum.
Ford said she was livid about people “bashing her husband.”
“She was so mad, she was ‘I’m coming down here, I don’t care,’” Ford said. He invited Torontonians to tune into the Ford brothers’ show Monday night, when “my side of the story is going to come out. Straight from the heart.”
The Toronto Party for a Better City has promised to come to the defence of Mayor Rob Ford in his proposed fight against council.
In a letter to council on Monday, Ford’s lawyer George Rust-D’Eye advised that the fringe political party has told him it will intervene “in support of the mayor’s position in any litigation brought to challenge city council’s action against him.”
According to Rust-D’Eye, the party said that actions council is taking to strip away the mayor’s powers are beyond its jurisdiction and “discriminatory, motivated by malice and vindictiveness.”
The party said that the actions of council represent “a coup d’etat,” echoing the phrase uttered by Councillor Anthony Perruzza on the floor of council last week, according to Rust-D’Eye.
In his letter, Rust-D’Eye reiterated that council does not have the authority to amend the City of Toronto Act, provincial legislation that sets out the roles and responsibilities of the mayor.
“I respectfully submit that council should not exercise its administrative powers in such a way as to interfere or infringe the statutory powers and responsibilities of the mayor.”
Earlier Monday, Rust-D’Eye told CBC radio that if council votes overwhelmingly to curb Ford’s power, he could soon move for a stay of the decision pending the outcome of a court challenge.
“I have to get together with the mayor, I have to analyze, very carefully with him, the impact of whatever council decides today on his office, and whether or not it does hamstring him from doing what he’s required by statute to do.”
If it does, the next step would be to consider what court action could be taken to overturn.
The actual litigation could take months, and there is always the possibility of an appeal, he said.
“It could take some considerable amount of time — I would think two to three months to get the application actually dealt with by the court.”
Monday’s vote is the third in a series of motions to strip the mayor of his powers and budget and delegate much of that non-statutory authority to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.
Ordinarily, the successful party recovers substantial amount of legal costs from losing party, Rust-D’Eye said.
The special council meeting is scheduled to begin at 12:30.
Ford remained defiant on the weekend, reiterating in a U.S. television interview that he is not an addict or alcoholic and vowing to one day run for prime minister.
With files from Rachel Mendleson