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article imageToronto Mayor faces charges of using city resources for football

By Andrew Moran     Sep 13, 2012 in Politics
Toronto - Anyone who follows Toronto politics knows that Mayor Rob Ford is a big football fan. He is now facing criticism, again, for leaving a committee meeting early to coach his team and his staff has been linked to “volunteering” for the team.
On Monday, the mayor missed the final 5 ½ hours of an executive committee meeting. It wasn’t known where he was until he told reporters Tuesday that he went to coach his high school football team’s first game in Newmarket.
George Christopolous, the mayor’s spokesperson, said there were no remaining contentious issues left on the agenda, but he did miss a debate regarding funding for the annual Pride parade and the involvement of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.
Coaching Etobicoke’s Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School Eagles and football in general have been an important aspect of his personal life, but now it’s taking centre stage of his mayoral term, including the conflict-of-interest issue relating to his Rob Ford Football Foundation.
There are now reports surfacing that the mayor may have possibly used taxpayer-funded staffers from the Mayor’s Office to help him with his coaching duties at the Don Bosco Eagles and his summer football team, the Rexdale Raiders. Ford is now facing the allegations that he violated the city council’s code of conduct, which states, “no member of council should use, or permit the use, of city land, facilities, equipment, supplies, services, staff or other resources . . . for activities other than the business of the Corporation.”
Ford’s office issued a statement Wednesday afternoon on the reports and called those who criticize his staff as “cowards.”
“I'm okay if Councillors want to criticize me for helping kids. That's their right," said the mayor in an email to the media. "I'm a big guy and I can take it. However, Councillors should not be criticizing my staff. Each and every one of them works hard every day for the taxpayers of this great city. They put in at least 40 hours of work for taxpayers every week. Often more.
“Only a coward would criticize my staff. They can't defend themselves in the media against elected officials.”
The statement also explained that as mayor he is accompanied by at least one staff member at most times to help him with his mayoral duties. It did not, however, mention his staff’s role in his team or their use of taxpayer-funded resources, such as a car and cellphone.
Toronto City Councillor Joe Mihevc
Toronto City Councillor Joe Mihevc
Meanwhile, St. Paul’s Ward 21 Councillor Joe Mihevc told the Toronto Sun that Ford should transition into a football career and end his political endeavours.
“When [Ford] talks football his eyes light up, he’s happy and he’s engaged — you see a different side of him. When he talks politics at City Hall, his forehead shrivels and a totally different character emerges — one that is angry, uncooperative and clearly not happy,” stated Mihevc, an opponent of the mayor’s. “Go coach football somewhere, be happy, have a good life. Stay away from City Hall. [The mayor] clearly doesn’t like being here. Every time there is a choice between his job [as mayor] and football, football wins out all the time.”
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