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Mayor Ford still tied to family firm, documents show

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford answers questions from councillors about his plan to remove board members at the Toronto Community Housing Corp., in council chambers at city hall in Toronto.

Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Mayor Rob Ford has continued to be involved with his family's label-making business after landing the top job at city hall, newly released documents suggest.

The company, Deco Labels and Tags, has done more than $100,000 worth of business with the city, most of it since Mr. Ford was first elected to city council a decade ago.

The mayor's schedule, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, contains a Jan. 20 entry for "Family Business Meeting" from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Two other events are noted on the schedule as taking place at the same time as the meeting: the unveiling of a mural at Trillium Health Centre and the grand opening of another health centre.

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Another entry for the following Monday, Jan. 24, contains an entry that reads "Deco All Day," with a time slot of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., overlapping with a budget-committee meeting. The minutes of the committee meeting that day indicate that Mr. Ford, who is not a member, did not attend.

Mr. Ford did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday evening.

A spreadsheet of payments indicates the city of Toronto has paid $139,548.98 for Deco's services since February 2000, eight months before Mr. Ford was first elected as a councillor. The purchases include everything from $610 for hardhat decals in July 2002 to $23,000 for Toronto Water tags in the spring of last year.

In addition, the TTC has paid Deco roughly $18,000 over 10 years to provide various stickers and magnets for wheel-trans vehicles.

The city and TTC have a purchasing policy that require them to obtain at least three bids on every contract to prevent any company from unfairly obtaining the city's business.

"It's always a fair and objective process," said city spokeswoman Jackie DeSouza.

The TTC has on occasion awarded Deco contracts for which there were no competing bids, but only in cases where the company was the only one that could make the products to the transit agency's specifications, said spokesman Brad Ross. In one such case, Deco was the only supplier that could provide magnets for Wheel-Trans contract taxis as durable as the TTC wanted, he said.

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"Our buyers wouldn't even know who Deco Labels is. There is absolutely nothing inappropriate," Mr. Ross said. "There's been no pressure or influence of any kind exerted on the TTC."

Mr. Ford's schedule offers a glance at his routine since taking office. The now-famous meeting with TTC general manager Gary Webster to kill the Transit City light-rail project is listed as his first official order of business, at 7 a.m. on Dec. 1. Other Notable meetings include lunch with his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, and Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion on Friday, Dec. 10; and a half-hour with federal Transportation Minister Chuck Strahl at noon on Jan. 20; and an afternoon with former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Other events include a cocktail party with the Carpenter's Union on Dec. 2; a Christmas party with Downtown Towing from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18; another party that same night with the Ontario Progressive Conservative Youth from 8:30 p.m. to midnight and an afternoon meeting with someone identified only as "Harris" on Dec. 21.

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About the Author
Washington correspondent

Adrian Morrow covers U.S. politics from Washington, D.C. Previously he was The Globe's Ontario politics reporter. He's covered news, crime and sports for The Globe since 2010. He won the National Newspaper Award for politics reporting in 2016. More

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