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Audit request alleges Rob Ford's RV rental amounted to corporate contribution

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been accused of breaking election-finance laws.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Retired teacher David DePoe has alleged that Mayor Rob Ford's campaign paid sharply discounted prices for a range of election-related goods and services – which could be considered corporate contributions, according to submissions prepared for council's compliance audit committee.

The three-person committee will consider Mr. DePoe's request for a compliance audit of Mr. Ford's campaign finances at its meeting on June 6.

Earlier this month the committee ordered a full audit of the mayor's campaign in response to several requests following a Globe and Mail investigation of Mr. Ford's election filings. The committee has yet to appoint an auditor.

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Mr. Ford's lawyer, Thomas Barlow, has indicated that the mayor could request a judicial review of the decision. As of Thursday, Mr. Ford had not decided whether to exercise that legal option, according to his spokesperson, Adrienne Batra.

Like the previous requests, Mr. DePoe's submission says the mayor's filings raise questions about whether Mr. Ford's campaign received corporate donations and relied on unorthodox financing arrangements provided by family-owned holding company Doug Ford Holdings.

None of the allegations has been proven, and Mr. Ford has repeatedly stated that his organization complied with the rules governing spending and contributions.

In his submission, Mr. DePoe says he spent hours examining the campaign filings and cites numerous invoices which, he alleges, raise questions about whether the then Etobicoke councillor's campaign team accepted corporate contributions, which are banned under Toronto election bylaws.

Among the claims: that Greenwood Avenue resident Michael Robertson invoiced the campaign $1,080 to cover a July-to-October rental of a recreational vehicle that Mr. Ford used to crisscross the city en route to his upset victory in late October. Mr. DePoe alleges that the rate is below fair market value.

According to the websites of several RV rental companies in Greater Toronto, daily rates run from about $110 to almost $300, depending on the time of year. For example, Motor Home Travel Canada Inc., a Bolton firm, charges $1,071 per week for its smallest RV during September and $1,400 per week in the summer months.

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